What is the Best Hard-Sided Plastic Cat Carrier?

What are the Benefits of Plastic Cat Carriers?

The hard-sided plastic cat carrier is safe, lightweight, and easy to clean. Plus, most plastic carriers are sturdy and budget-friendly. Here are the main benefits of using a plastic cat carrier bag.

  • Security. A hard-sided plastic cat carrier is more secure than a collapsible because of its hard sides and latches. Cats can sometimes sneak out of soft-sided carriers with zippers that hold the door shut, and plastic carriers generally have plastic or metal latches that create a door lock that is difficult for cats to undo. They are also built to be sturdy and more heavy-duty than collapsible kennels, so if something were to fall on the carrier or the carrier were to fall over, the risk of harm to a cat is minimized.
  • Cleanliness. A hard-sided plastic cat carrier is leak-proof and waterproof, so it can be hosed down and quickly dried if needed. Plastic cat kennels are not absorbent and resist stains harder than nylon or polyester carriers and, therefore, will be more resistant to bacteria growth, making plastic carriers more hygienic as well as easier to clean and keep clean.
  • Rigidity. A hard-sided plastic cat carrier will off the cat support when walking with the carrier. Using the carry handle to transport an animal inside a carrier can create an uneven distribution of weight in a soft-sided carrier. In a plastic carrier, however, the weight will be less likely to shift when in transit. The sturdy plastic bottom allows the cat to put pressure on one foot without affecting the weight distribution too much and will make it easier to carry.

The main disadvantage of the plastic cat carrier is the lack of storage space that comes in handy for placing cat treats or food, cat toys, and other pet gear.

The Best Plastic Cat Carriers Reviewed

From carrier backpacks to airline-approved trolleys – cat carriers come in different designs. Here we will thoroughly review the best hard-sided plastic cat carriers on the market.

Petmate Two-Door Top Loading or Front Loading Pet Carrier

Petmate Two-Door Top Loading or Front Loading Pet Carrier

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Summary: This small pet carrier has multiple doors for easy access and loading and is easy to clean. It totes small pets in a well-ventilated design that is sturdy and easy to assemble. It is made from recycled material to be part of an eco-friendly line of pet products from Petmate, and it is suited for pets up to 15 pounds.

Dimensions: 24”x 14.5”x16.8”

Material: Plastic

Weight Limit: 15 pounds

Pros

  • Made with recycled materials
  • Easy to assemble and clean
  • Spring-loaded latches to keep the front door secure
  • Airline travel-approved cat carrier
  • Channels the cat’s denning instincts

Cons

  • Large ventilation holes (cats can stick their noses through)

Review: Well over 90% of the 16,000+ reviews on Amazon and Chewy give this hard-sided plastic cat carrier 4 and 5-star ratings. Pet owners were satisfied with the 360-degree view the ventilation holes offered, and owners of X-large cats were happy this crate could accommodate their pets. Critical reviews were quick to point out that the sharp edges of the vent holes may be dangerous to pets, and the crate can bend enough when walking with it to allow the front door to pop open on its own.

SPORT PET Designs Foldable Travel Cat Carrier with A Bed

SPORT PET Designs Foldable Travel Cat Carrier with A Bed

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Summary: This original design cat carrier is made with one entire side as the door. It is exceptionally ventilated to allow for a 360-degree view as well as adequate airflow that allows for quick drying and easy cleaning. It is available with an optional sherpa-lined or waterproof bed and is suitable for pets up to 25 pounds.

Dimensions: 15.2” x 18.5” x 14.2”

Material: Plastic

Weight Limit: 25 pounds

Pros

  • Unique and patented design
  • One wide and side-opening door
  • Comes with a waterproof or sherpa bed
  • Very well-ventilated and spacious
  • Can be used as a small dog kennel

Cons

  • The unique shape does not allow for stacking

Review: Averaging a 4.7-star rating on Amazon, this is a widely popular hard-sided plastic cat carrier. Many consumers were happy with how easy it is to load and unload the carrier and claim the design does a lot to help with sturdiness while transporting their pet. Critical reviews mostly hit on the note that the plastic door is not stiff enough to offer a secure closure. Their cats were able to push through the door, and they mentioned the handle did not feel like it was of good quality.

Amazon Basics Two-Door Top-Load Hard-Sided Cat Carrier

Amazon Basics Two-Door Top-Load Hard-Sided Cat Travel Carrier

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Summary: This cat and dog crate from Amazon features two doors for easy loading and unloading of pets. It offers good ventilation and strong plastic clips or screws that hold the top and bottom portions together. The carrier can be taken apart to allow easier and more thorough cleaning, while the metal latches are spring-loaded for added security.

Dimensions: 22.83” x 14.96” x 12.99”

Material: Plastic

Weight Limit: 15 pounds

Pros

  • Two doors for easy access and cleaning
  • Spring-loaded latch for security
  • Available in a variety of sizes
  • Carrier can be taken apart for easy cleaning
  • Carry handle attached to the top door

Cons

  • Limited ventilation compared to other products

Review: Averaging a 4.6-star rating with over 36,000 reviews, consumers seem to be happy with this hard-sided plastic cat carrier. While some state frustration with the absence of a weight limit in the item description, numerous buyers tell stories about how they tested the limits of the carrier, and it had proven to be a sturdy purchase. One user even mentioned he put 15 pounds of weight in it and swung it around without a problem. The most common complaint was that the top door is not secure. The carry handle is attached to this door, and when carrying a pet close to the weight limit, it may pop open.

MidWest Homes Hard-Sided Small Animal Carrier

MidWest Homes Hard-Sided Small Animal Carrier

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Summary: Providing pets with a well-ventilated and secure enclosure, this deluxe plastic cat and dog carrier is easy to assemble and requires no tools. It comes with a one-year warranty and is made to be an easy-to-clean piece of travel pet gear that is suitable for small pets up to 25 pounds. It is also shoulder strap compatible to make this a great travel crate option.

Dimensions: 18” x 11.5” x 12”

Material: Plastic

Weight Limit: 25 pounds

Pros

  • Small enough to fit in a front car seat
  • Comes with a 1-year manufacturer’s warranty
  • Features a unique secure door lock to prevent escapes
  • Includes hooks to attach a shoulder strap
  • Available in three different colors

Cons

  • The plastic clips for the door may break

Review: Reviews on this hard-sided plastic cat carrier are mixed, with only 67% giving it 5-stars. Even the 4-stars and 5-reviews questioned the sturdiness of this crate for longer trips but said for short trips around town, this was a good choice. Disappointed customers were upset mainly that the door was not as secure as they had thought it might be and that the plastic nuts that hold the door in place are easily broken or twisted.

ASPEN PET Fashion Pet Kennel

ASPEN PET Fashion Pet Kennel

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Summary: This pet crate features a single door for loading and unloading and a lid on the top for small storage space. It is made with plastic clips that hold the top to the bottom and can be easily disassembled for easy cleaning. It is suitable for pets up to 15 pounds and is made to fit most airlines’ specifications for air travel pet carriers.

Dimensions: 23″ x 15.2″ x 11.8″

Material: Plastic

Weight Limit: 15 pounds

Pros

  • Sturdy and heavy-duty design
  • Meets the air travel requirements
  • Easy to assemble, clean, and store
  • Comes in different colors
  • Made in the USA

Cons

  • The edges of ventilation holes can be sharp

Review: Over 80% of buyers rate this hard-sided plastic cat carrier 4 and 5 stars. They are happy with the quality of the product, but some of them note that the plastic clips that hold the carrier together are hard to close and open. They also say this makes them feel more confident in the strength of the carrier as it is difficult to open those clips. Critical reviews made up almost 10% of total reviews and noted the crate did not hold together well and that the door was too easy to open.

Living World Pet Carrier with Non-Slip Floors

Living World Pet Carrier with Non-Slip Floors

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Summary: This pet carrier features a see-through ventilated top to provide extra visibility and airflow while keeping the pet secure with handles that surround the top rather than attach to it. It is made with a non-slip surface for a bottom, and the bottom piece does not include ventilation holes, so it can be used for very small pets like rodents or birds. The dual handle design makes sure that when your pet moves, the weight distribution will remain even and not cause imbalances while carrying the crate.

Dimensions: 12” x 9” x 8.3”

Material: Plastic

Weight Limit: Not listed

Pros

  • Transparent, see-through top door
  • Well-ventilated design
  • Dual handle design for even weight distribution
  • Rigged, non-slip bottom
  • Fits a small blanket on the floor

Cons

  • The weight limit is not listed anywhere

Review: Most reviews of this hard-sided plastic cat carrier are raving from buyers who needed something to transport their tiny pets. They were happy the bottom half was not ventilated so it would be safe for their pet rodents, lizards, and birds to travel in and were happy there was plenty of room for straw bedding as well. Unhappy customers made up over 10% of total reviews, however, and the primary complaint was that their hamsters were all able to escape the crate once it was closed and thought to be secure.

Midwest Spree Travel Hard-Sided Pet Carrier

Midwest Spree Travel Hard-Sided Pet Carrier

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Summary: Made with a built-in carry handle and easy, no tool assembly, this hard-sided plastic cat carrier is made to be an affordable and secure pet carrier option. It is well ventilated and features a top and bottom half that can be taken apart for easy cleaning. It has one door for loading and unloading, and the one-door design offers a more rigid crate.

Dimensions: 18” x 11.5” x 12”

Material: Plastic

Weight Limit: 7 pounds

Pros

  • Fashionable, fun, and functional design
  • Made with durable and easy clean plastic
  • Comes with a built-in carry handle
  • Quick and easy assembly and storage
  • Available in three different colors

Cons

  • The plastic screws are prone to wear and tear

Review: Reviews on this hard-sided plastic cat carrier are mixed, with only 76% giving it a 4-star or 5-star rating. Positive comments say cats enjoyed being inside the carrier and that it was sturdy enough for their full-grown cat despite its low weight limit. Almost 15% of reviews are 1-star and 2-stars. However, with the most common complaint being the door does not stay closed. The hinge and closing mechanism for the door appears to be weak and cheaply made, according to the buyers.

What Should I Look for in a Plastic Cat Carrier?

When looking for a hard-sided plastic cat carrier for airplane or car travel, there are several factors to consider. Here is an in-depth explanation of the important considerations.

  • Size. If a hard-sided plastic cat carrier is too big, a cat may feel uncomfortable inside it when traveling. A carrier should be big enough to allow a cat to stand up and turn around naturally without the cat touching the top or the side of the carrier. Depending on the length of the travel, you may want it to also accommodate a food and water bowl and a towel or blanket for the cat to lay on. Keep in mind a towel or blanket will decrease the height of the inside of the crate, and you want the cat to be able to stand without touching the top.
  • Weight Limit. Although most crates will have a weight limit greater than what most cats weigh, it is still something to consider when searching for a new carrier. The added weight of a food and water bowl and towel or blanket along with toys or treats may be greater than the weight limit of an average plastic carrier, depending on how big the cat is. Be sure the weight limit is higher than the combined weight of the cat and whatever it may be traveling with inside the hard-sided plastic cat carrier.
  • Ventilation. When looking for a hard-sided plastic cat carrier, you will want to be sure it has adequate ventilation. This will keep the cat cool and allow fresh air to blow in, but it will also keep the cat dry if something should spill or if the cat has an accident when inside the crate.
  • Ease of Cleaning. Some plastic cat carriers have a removable top or a top door that can be easily accessed when cleaning. They may be able to be taken apart to allow easier wiping of the corners that would otherwise be hard to reach.
Petmate Two-Door Top Loading or Front Loading Pet Carrier
  • Multiple doors allow an easy way to access and flexibility.
  • Plastic and steel wire constructions protect your pet.
  • A heavy-duty ergonomic carry handle ensures pet safety.
  • Two sizes are available to can accommodate pets from 5 to 20 pounds.