Travelling… in terror?


Face it, for the kitty at home, when the pet carrier gets dusted off, it means trouble! It usually translate into getting carted off to that Very Evil Terror, who would do nasty things and cause life-long trauma. (It is worse for the homeless feline kitnapped in the name of tnrm for mojo-robbery, but that’s another story)

Unlike dogs, who can be leashed and walked, cats have to be secured before they’re moved. And because of the danger of them getting lost or injured, you’ll need a good solid carrier that you can trust to ferry your cat safely and securely.

I know there’s a good checklist somewhere online because I’ve read it, but well, I can’t find it now so you’ll have to make do with one typed out on the fly:

  • Sturdiness. Must be able to hold together. If it warps when you exert gentle pressue in a direction, and feels filmsy, lose it.
  • Assembly. Ease of assembly lessens your grief, and a carrier that can be dis-assembled means easier storage
  • Solid and secure door. We find the spring-operated solid metal doors best, and these are also virtually idiot-proof.
  • No skylight. Some carriers are top-loaders, others just have a see-through roof. Since your cat is already feeling vulnerable and traumatised, the skylight is going to intensify his paranoia, not soothe him. He’s not going to appreciate the view of the blue sky because he’s preoccupied with freaking out already and trying to make himself as inconspicuous in an attempt to stay safe and sound.
  • Room facilities. Size matters. Even if you’ve got a little kitty now, get at least a mid-sized carrier – about 40-50 cm long and 20-30 cm way, in anticipation of growth. For larger cats, of course, more room is needed.
  • Fasteners. Screws are the most secure of course, but are a pain to tighten or remove. When you’re pressed for time, you will appreciate the newfangled way carriers are held together: locking clasps. Clasps are used on most newer designs now, but take care to see that they are really well-built, secure and not likely to break, or go MIA at inopportune occasions. A good test would be how they clasp. I.E. the clasps you want are clasps that secure the carrier by clasping onto both the top and bottom half of the carrier in a one-two action. This type of clasp are usually designed to attach to the bottom half of the carrier. Forget about the ones that just fasten on, say the bottom half, in one action – they can come loose too easily (and have, in our experience). These usually attach to the top of the carrier.

Some, imo, good brands available here:

  • Clipper (clasps are with one-two action, doors are solid and lockable. Airline travel approved)
  • Ferplast (clasps are with one-two action, doors are solid and lockable. Airline travel approved)
  • Pet Taxi (the ones we’ve seen and got uses screws to secure, not clasps. Good solid doors. Not sure about airline travel approval.)
  • Sherpa (soft carriers, top of line, airline travel approved)

From what we know, the Clipper, ferplast, pet taxis range in price from $30 to $60. Price is dependent on size as well.

Sherpa costs more, the models we saw were middling large, but are able to fit under the seat of a business class seat. They cost $100/pc.

For the ultimate in both sturdiness and storability, this nylabone product, the collapsible fold-away pet carrier seems to be the parental-unit-of-all-carriers. We’ve only seen one here in Singapore and are enamoured with both its form and function. Unfortunately, the product doesn’t seem to be available for sale here. Also recently, it seems that nylabone has gotten into trouble with causing injury and illness through its long-established and trusted line of doggy chew-toys (ref here and here). It makes for quite a conundrum if you happen to aim to be a conscientious consumer (or a green one).

Whatever your decision this is the mantra to live by: a carrier is a long-term investment. So do your research, and don’t scrimp on it.

PS: I’m not all ramrod seriousness, and just to prove it, here’s something that mixes the serious with a lighthearted look – this cynic’s view on choosing one, a pet carrier that is.

(Created: 15 Oct 06. Updated: 23 Jul 07)

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