The 5 best airline-friendly cat carriers in 2021

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  • An airline-friendly cat carrier is a must if you’re traveling with your pet in cabin.
  • The Sleepypod Air In-Cabin Pet Carrier offers an unbeatable combination of quality, durability, pet comfort, and safety features.

If you are traveling by plane, then you’ll need to purchase a pet carrier that meets a particular airline’s regulations, both in terms of size and design. We evaluated cat carriers that are suitable for in-cabin travel based on a number of factors, including durability, size, ventilation, security, and comfort, as well as feedback from experts and our testing results.

While these cat carriers are generally acceptable for use in airplane cabins, check your airline’s requirements before purchasing. Different airlines have different rules and regulations. For instance, United Airlines requires that a soft-sided carrier be no larger than 18-inches long by 11-inches wide by 11-inches high. However, Southwest Airlines allows a slightly larger maximum size of 18.5-inches long, 8.5-inches high, and 13.5-inches wide, while Delta Airlines has varying requirements according to the specific flight that you’re on.

You should also research an airline’s general rules for pets before you book, and be sure to have documentation that the airline might require. Your pet may need a veterinary examination and particular vaccines to fly, and if necessary, schedule an appointment with your vet to ensure your travel plans go smoothly.

Here are the 5 best airline-friendly cat carriers in 2021

The best airline-friendly carrier overall

sleepypod air in cabin pet carrier

The Sleepypod Air offers the durability and comfort your cat needs for frequent travel.

Pros: Compresses to fit under plane seats, durable construction, straps can anchor to a car seat belt, crash-tested

Cons: Heavier than other soft-sided carriers

The Sleepypod Air in-cabin pet carrier offers an ideal blend of a highly durable exterior and a soft, comfortable interior to keep your cat both comfortable and safe during travel. The exterior is made of luggage-grade ballistic nylon for strength, and tear-resistant mesh makes this carrier a long-lasting choice.

The Sleepypod Air’s unique design allows you to expand or compress the carrier’s size. When you’re in the car or the airport, your pet can enjoy increased space. Then, compress the carrier when you board so it meets your airline’s requirements and fits underneath a seat.  

A large opening provides easy entry, and there are zipper pockets on both sides for ample storage. Straps on both sides of the carrier can secure to a car seat belt for increased travel safety. This carrier also passed crash-testing conducted by the Center for Pet Safety

The best expandable airline-friendly carrier

mr peanuts gold expandable cat carrier

The Mr. Peanut’s Gold Series Expandable Carrier is compact enough to meet most airlines’ size regulations, but also expands to offer your pet extra space.

Pros: Expandable panel for extra room, two entry doors, folds flat for storage, washable interior bed, lightweight

Cons: Hand-wash only, no warranty

To comply with airline regulations, most pet carriers are small and offer limited space. The Mr. Peanut’s Gold Series Expandable Carrier solves the issue with a side flap that folds out — just unzip and, voila, your pet has extra space to stretch out while staying securely inside the carrier.

Top and front entrances make it easy to load and unload your cat and a privacy flap can help keep cats calm. The luggage sleeve and comfortable shoulder strap are particularly beneficial when you have to carry your pet long distances through the airport.

The carrier is made from durable nylon and includes a sturdy but lightweight plywood base. An interior fleece bed is removable and hand-washable. When not in use, the carrier folds completely flat for easy storage. 

The best hard-shell airline-friendly carrier

frisco hard shell kennel

Affordable and easy to assemble, the Frisco Two-Door Top-Load Kennel offers extra protection.

Pros: Sturdy hard shell, ventilation on all sides, easy assembly

Cons: Only two color options, low weight limit, may be too large for some airlines

The Frisco Two-Door Top-Load Kennel offers your cat the extra protection and spaciousness of a hard-shell carrier in a size that meets most airlines’ regulations. Thanks to the plastic kennel’s durable construction, you don’t have to worry about the occasional bump or nudge to your cat.

There are secure wire mesh doors on both the front and top of the carrier and ventilation openings on all sides. The doors latch securely and the top-mounted handle is strong.

It arrives in two pieces and requires assembly with the included bolts. The carrier is available in a larger 24-inch size, but it’s likely it won’t meet airlines’ regulations.

The best wheeled airline-friendly carrier

katziela rolling carrier

The Katziela Luxury Rider Pet Carrier is easy to pull through the airport and removable wheels ensure it meets size regulations.

Pros: Removable wheels, mesh top can be compressed to fit under a seat, carrying handle and shoulder strap for convenience

Cons: Can tip over if wheels aren’t properly centered, may be too large for some airlines

With the Katziela Luxury Rider Pet Carrier, you can pull the carrier with a telescopic handle, or opt for the handle or shoulder strap. Whichever way you choose to transport your cat, this carrier makes traveling with pets easier.

Six wheels give the carrier extra support, but they’re also easily removable to keep the carrier within the size limit of most airlines.  You can also squish down the top of the carrier to make it fit under a plane seat.

A mesh top and windows give your cat plenty of ventilation. Pockets can hold small supplies, a name tag attached to the handle allows for easy identification, and zippers can be locked to prevent your cat from opening the side flap and escaping. Just make sure you can unlock it, in case of an emergency.

The best budget airline-friendly carrier

frisco travel pet carrier

Affordable and appropriately sized, the Frisco Travel Carrier is a practical option for the occasional trip.

Pros: Front- and top-loading, secure luggage strap, washable interior bed, folds flat for storage, one-year warranty

Cons: Less ventilation, shoulder strap is uncomfortable for shorter individuals

For an affordable option, the Frisco Travel Carrier offers a combination of comfort, durability, and features to make traveling with a pet easier for cats up to 16 pounds.

The durable nylon bag includes doors at top and front and includes privacy flaps. Along with a shoulder strap, there is a luggage sleeve and convenient carrying handles. The removable interior mat provides your cat a soft place to rest.

The downsides: This bag’s ventilation is more limited than that of our top picks. We also found that the shoulder stap lacks padding and can be uncomfortable to carry.

What we’re looking forward to

We’re testing additional airline-friendly carriers for an update to this guide, including the following:

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The 6 best dog tents in 2021 for indoors, camping, and the beach

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  • Dog tents give pets a safe and comfortable space to relax indoors and outdoors.
  • We found the best dog tents for small and large dogs for use at home, the beach, or when camping.

Dog tents serve many purposes. Tent-shaped beds for indoor use give your pet a comfortable place to relax without distractions, something shy or anxious dogs may benefit from. Outdoor dog tents made from durable materials and with mesh windows for airflow give pooches a chance to rest under shade after a day of outdoor adventures. These convenient tents can be transported for outings, be it to the beach, a camping trip, or an RV adventure.

Here are the best dog tents in 2021

The best dog tent overall

Good for pups who appreciate a cozy place to rest

The Pickle and Polly Dog Teepee Tent will keep your small to medium-size dog cozy, while standing up to rough playtime.

What we like: Sturdy materials, comfortable fabrics, easily washable

If you have a small to medium-size playful companion who loves covered safe spaces, this tent bed will provide them comfort. A thick cushion also ensures that the tent will be a welcoming refuge come bedtime. Made of medium-weight materials and pine wood supports, the tent can withstand the antics of puppies and roughhousing dogs and washable fabrics and a removable cushion make for easy upkeep. It comes in gray or white. 

The best tent bed for small dogs

Privacy for small dogs with plenty of room to stretch

The Best Pet Supplies Tent Bed provides an enclosed yet surprisingly spacious area for your small furry companion.

What we like: Contemporary design, spacious for its dimensions, durable and washable materials

For your small dog who enjoys privacy, this tent offers a surprisingly roomy space for dogs. With a cushion bed and thick soft walls to keep warmth in, this tent will be inviting to your dog. The bed’s polyfoam lining molds to your pet’s body to provide comfort. The tent is wrapped in a classic linen fabric and comes in nine different colors and patterns to match any home decor. Washable materials ensure that it can be your pet’s clean and comfortable resting spot for a long time to come.

The best tent bed for large dogs

An easy-to-assemble and portable safe space for large dogs

The roomy K&H Pet Products Original Pet Cot House provides even the largest dogs with a space to relax and keep cool.

What we like: Safe for dogs up to 200 pounds, multiple windows for good airflow, waterproof mesh bed, easy to assemble

The K&H Pet Products Original Pet Cot House is a sturdy covered cot that is ideal for large dogs. The nylon mesh bed and elevated legs will help keep your dog dry and cool on a porch or lawn. It’s roomy, measuring 30 inches by 42 inches, and has two windows plus an open entrance that provide good air circulation. The cot is easy to assemble and both the cover and canopy are machine washable.

The best dog tent for camping

A lightweight and airy dog tent for camping adventures

The Alcott Pup Tent is a lightweight, durable tent that ensures you never have to leave your dog behind when going camping.

What we like: Portable and lightweight at only 1.5 pounds, 5 windows for air circulation, ground stakes to keep in place, roomy enough for a large dog

The Alcott Pup Tent is easy to transport but still roomy for your dog at 28 inches by 45 inches in size. The green nylon tent comes with durable tent poles and four ground stakes. Five mesh windows in addition to a zippered entrance keep your dog cool while providing them with ample opportunity to take in their surroundings. It’s a good idea to apply waterproofing spray before your outing.   

The best outdoor dog tent

Great for keeping your pup by your side in the heat of summer

The Midlee Dog Cot with Canopy has an elevated mesh platform and a sun shade to keep your dog cool all summer long.

What we like: Comes in sizes ranging from small to extra large, wide canopy coverage, mesh bed for air circulation, easy to assemble.

This airy and shady cot with a removable canopy is a great way to spend time with your dog outdoors in the summer. The raised mesh bed will ensure your dog gets a lot of ventilation, and the generous canopy coverage will keep the sun off your dog at almost any time of day. This green cot can be easily disassembled and brought along for outings to the beach and park or on RV road trips.

The best dog play tent

A convenient tent for both dogs and their owners

The Purrfect Fence Play Tent is a secure way to let small dogs enjoy the outdoors safely.

What we like: Spacious, easy to set up, lightweight and portable, comes with weather cover

The Purrfect Fence Play Tent is a roomy 76 inches by 62 inches in size and perfect for keeping small dogs safe and secure outdoors. Pups can easily see through the mesh panels to observe all the happenings. If the sun is harsh or there is light rain, you can place the included weather guard over the top of the tent. We also recommend covering the mesh floor with a comfortable blanket.

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