Carriers: Hard or Soft?

Tina MillicanTina Millican Pell CityMember Posts: 12,008
edited 23 October, 2006 in Cats & Travel
Mom's looking into getting a new carrier for us (our other one is getting worn out, plus we often travel with more than one of us, so we need two anyway) and have always used the traditional hard sided carriers. Mom's been looking at the soft ones, and is thinking about getting one of those. Which is better? Which do you use? What are the pros and cons of the soft carriers? Would we try to scratch out of it?


  • Diana GabaldonDiana Gabaldon PortlandMember Posts: 5,607
    edited 23 June, 2006
    Hi Little Ma Ma. We have only ever had hard carriers. If you look down in this topic Katie started a thread called \"A really cool carrier.\" This thing is the best. Its very roomy and really easy to get us kitties in and out of. There are links in the page on where to get it. I posted a link of a place where they are on sale. Good luck beautiful.
  • Melissa FordMelissa Ford Santa CruzMember Posts: 3,914
    edited 23 June, 2006
    Since the bottom of the soft carrier isn't rigid, it makes it difficult for carrying. I am a fan of the hard ones.
  • Deb O'NeillDeb O'Neill PerkasieMember Posts: 8,659
    edited 23 June, 2006
    I would also be concerned that the stitching on the soft carriers would wear out. Mom puts a small towel in my carrier so I have something soft to lie on. I liked the carrier Diego talked about. A bit too pricey for us, though!
  • Sarah KlearSarah Klear VictoriaMember Posts: 239
    edited 23 June, 2006
    I prefer hard carriers, because if they get banged around and stuff, the cats don't get squished and they can still breath (air holes on all sides).
  • jennifer viscontijennifer visconti queensMember Posts: 2,157
    edited 25 June, 2006
    My mom got a fancy soft carrier for us because it vents on three sides and we use it to sit on the porch. My sister loves it and hangs out in there, but I feel like the ceiling is coming down on my head - i don't like it! It's hard to know how we will react or what we will like unless you try it....I didn't help much did i...sorry :-)
  • Michelle BrunnerMichelle Brunner BlairsvilleMember Posts: 11,194
    edited 25 June, 2006
    Mom has two carriers for me -- one for winter and one for summer. She likes the hard one for winter because it keeps me warmer. She doesn't like the cold weather and tends to fling me around a bit getting me in and out of the car. (I'm a bit on the heavy side). But for the summer, she has a soft carrier because it allows more air to circulate. There are so many different styles as well as prices. Good Luck on your search!
  • Denise GraysonDenise Grayson BothellMember Posts: 2,468
    edited 25 June, 2006
    My mom has a sherpa bag carrier for us. My brother tried to claw the mesh netting but was unsucessful. She leaves it out near our toys and sometime my brother will sometimes go into and sleep. I on the other hand am too smart to fall for that and will not go into any carrier willingly. Ok I might if it was a paper sack, I love being carried around in paper bags...:)
  • Lindsay RoweLindsay Rowe ArcticMember Posts: 1,776
    edited 25 June, 2006
    We have both, they each have pros/cons. Hard Carrier: -Sturdy, durable -must be used if you are flying -good if you may get banged around a bit Soft Carrier -Easy to carry, it has regular straps and a shoulder strap. Mom has seen some with wheels and some that can be carried like a backpack -Very comfy, ours is fleece lined and mesh on 3 sides so we can see. Zory sleeps in it, and Lucy doesn't put up a fight when going to the vet(the same can not be said for the hard carrier, that's a 20 minute scratching ordeal). -Looks nice, ours is sitting right in the living room. It has denim on the top and cat paw prints on it. -Has storage, we keep our vet information, collars, and comb in the outer pocket at all times. -Can be a toy, ours unzips on both sides and Zory runs through it like a tunnel. -Can be a "convertible". The top unzips and there is a little latch to hook your fur baby's coller. This way you can pet her while you drive but don't have to worry about her running around the car. This is more a perk for small dogs, but a good bonus. Zory's carrier is from PetSmart, it's a Companion Road brand. We've had it a year with no rips or anything. We did once get a cheap soft carrier which both cats figured out how to unzip! Expect to pay more for a good soft carrier, but unless you're going somewhere by plane, we suggest it.
  • SterlingAndTheSTeamSterlingAndTheSTeam Mount OliveMember Posts: 41,262 ✭✭✭
    edited 26 June, 2006
    Mom bought a soft carrier for me because of the open-ness mesh. It has zipper openings at each end and one on the top. It has a carry handle and a shoulder strap. It's a very pretty black with rose flowers and it is easier for her to carry over her shoulder as opposed to carrying the hard carrier. But as soon as she puts it down, it collapses. And if I'm inside, it collapses on me! So it's back to the hard carrier for me.
  • Yipee LadybugYipee Ladybug Member Posts: 3,805
    edited 27 June, 2006
    mommy would prefer hard carriers even tho they are more bulky, so that when we get transported (usually to the vet) we don't get too scared or hurt by accidental bumping etc.
  • Helen LHelen L Los AngelesMember Posts: 132
    edited 30 June, 2006
    In my experience with a soft carrier, it isn't good because when Kitty got anxious knowing that she was going on a trip, she was able to unzip it.. I figured out a way to secure it so she can't unzip, however she claws at it and has ripped parts of the carrier. I think soft ones are more for small dogs. I prefer the hard ones now because it's more roomie and the kitties cannot open it. You can put a little blanket inside to make it more comfortable. Hope that helps!
  • tay someonetay someone SydneyMember Posts: 42
    edited 6 July, 2006
    I personally love the soft ones, they're so easy to get out of. My humans don't see the funny side though. They got me a solid one, and I can't escape darn it. Since I'm usually being taken to the vets in it, escape is exactly what I want!
  • Tina MillicanTina Millican Pell CityMember Posts: 12,008
    edited 7 July, 2006
    Thanks for all of the great info, all of you! I'm really thinking about getting this one that Diego suggested, the Avior. It might be best for us, and hopefully I'll feel a bit more comfortable since it's dome-shaped. Mom's real wary of getting us a soft carrier because she doesn't want us to tear it up or hurt ourselves, so she's just going to play it safe and get what she knows- a hard carrier.
  • Diana GabaldonDiana Gabaldon PortlandMember Posts: 5,607
    edited 7 July, 2006
    You will love it Little Ma Ma. Mom says the best part is that there is no fighting to get us through an opening. It has two different ways to open that allows our people to simply place us kitties inside without a fight. The extra room is nice to for a hefty kitty like myself. I hope you enjoy it. Purrrrrrrrrrs - Diego
  • Lindsay RoweLindsay Rowe ArcticMember Posts: 1,776
    edited 10 July, 2006
    There's a photo of my carrier on this cat's page: Check it out, it's really nice. It's about $30 at PetsMart. We do agree that some soft carriers don't work well, but this one has wire type stuff in it so it's really durable.
  • Lara StokelyLara Stokely AngletonMember Posts: 26
    edited 14 July, 2006
    My Mommy has a hard carrier for me but she put a pillow in the bottom to make it more comfy. She even had Grandma make a fur pillow case so it'll be more comfy. My little sister has one too, but hers is fleece with fur edges. But after Zori-lla's post.. she's thinking about a soft one for when we travel.
  • Marissa SarvMarissa Sarv BronxMember Posts: 6
    edited 28 August, 2006
    I prefer the soft carrier......but my sister ALWAYS goes in the hard carrier because she's like Houdini in the soft one. Somehow she always squeezes out no matter how zipped the thing is. I think it all depends on kitties needs / preferences.
  • Mrs TMrs T TomahMember Posts: 16
    edited 29 August, 2006
    Well our Mom wasn't sure if we would like a soft one or not so she got us one. The good thing is she can put us on her shoulder to carry us if her arms are full. Bad thing is we have learned how to move the zipper from the inside by pushing our head the right angle and our head will pop out of the carrier. If we continued we could get out and lost and upset our Mom. So now we are back to the hard carriers but Mom puts a nice fleece blanket in there for us so we are comfy.
  • Heather BellamyHeather Bellamy Perry / StatesboroMember Posts: 5,506
    edited 30 August, 2006
    We have three hard carriers and one soft one. The soft one is actually part of Lucky Boo's stroller. I get claustrophobic in carriers, and I try to get out by rubbing my face into the gate. I used to ride in a hard carrier, but since most of them have metal gates, I was always cutting up my nose trying so desperately to get out. Now when I ride in the car, Mommy lets me ride in Lucky Boo's soft carrier that detaches from his stroller. I still don't like it, but it does have a lot of mesh that I can see out of. I still rub my face into the mesh, but I don't hurt my nose so badly! We prefer hard carriers, except for me because of my nose. So I am the only one who goes in a soft carrier. The hard ones are much more durable and don't have zippers, so there's no possibility of a kitty unzipping his carrier and escaping! Purrs, Sindri
  • Penny PerkinsPenny Perkins Member Posts: 1,263 ✭✭✭
    edited 31 August, 2006
    I have always used a hard carrier. When I go anywhere in my car I always seatbelt the carrier in, and it is a good thing I do. A few months ago I hit a deer on the expressway, if my cat was not belted in I\'m sure she would have been hurt. I don\'t know if you could belt in a soft carrier. Just a thought.
  • Patricia PattersonPatricia Patterson BloomingtonMember Posts: 2
    edited 2 September, 2006
    Jack HATES the hard carrier. When I shut the metal door he freaks out and starts to claw at it causing nose/paw irritations and bleeding. I switched to the soft carrier to protect his little butt when he freaks out. Selene gets the hard carrier cause she couldn't give a fig. It just depends on the cat.
  • Heather BellamyHeather Bellamy Perry / StatesboroMember Posts: 5,506
    edited 2 September, 2006
    Couldn't agree more Captain Jack! Lucky Boo stays in a hard carrier; Sindri in a soft. Sindri has cut his nose on the gate of the hard carrier because he freaks out too, so that's why I got the soft one for him. And I can and do keep him belted in. I think most carriers these days have some way of being seat-belted in.
  • Melinda BMelinda B Member Posts: 1,628
    edited 3 September, 2006
    We have two Petmate 2 Door Deluxe carriers and two Petmate Petporter Jr. carriers. The 2 Door Deluxe carriers are great for cats that have a hard time being loaded because it has a top door, we can just be lowered in with no problems. My mommy covered to top door with felt and cut a hole for the handle, though, so we feel more secure when we go out in it and don't feel so exposed to the elements. Also, mom keeps our carriers out in the open even when we are not going anywhere, so we won't freak out when we see them come out. Sometimes she takes the doors off so we cant slam them and we just use them like beds. My sister Phoebe stayed in hers all summer becuase it was dark and cool in there! We got our Petmates at Petsmart!
  • Beth LamarreBeth Lamarre BristolMember Posts: 68
    edited 12 September, 2006
    we have a hard carrier, and i have no preference for whether the carrier is hard or soft. i just don't like to be in one of any kind. i like to be free, but my mom won't let us go free in the car in case something happens. we get in the carrier and the carrier is buckled in. do you guys get buckled in, too? does this really protect us or is mom just being overprotective?
  • Maria VMaria V Member Posts: 179
    edited 17 September, 2006
    Hello.. I think soft carriers are better since they're comfy. Mom got me a hard carrier and it felt like a prison cell :( I have one pink tote bag that's soft and another blue one that mom used when we travelled from China to the USA and it was squishable under her seat the whole flight. My brother has a nice blue bag as well. All our carriers are soft :0)
  • Jennifer BrillJennifer Brill BrooklynMember Posts: 22
    edited 18 September, 2006
    I have a soft carrier from Petco called "Fashion Pet Travel Gear." My furmommy and I like it a lot, it even has a rigid bottom. The only issue is that I can get out of it easily by jamming my head up against the zipper, even if my collar or harness is clipped to the leash inside, so mommy has to clip the top zipper shut very intricately with twist-ties. It's the small size though. I think I would be happier in the bigger size since I grew after we got the carrier. :)
  • Elizabeth KElizabeth K ChicagoMember Posts: 11,036
    edited 20 September, 2006
    We prefer hard carries for several reasons... One, soft carriers are more unbalanced and kitties who try to move back and forth in the while they are being carried feel very unsupported/unstable. Two, soft carriers tend to collapse on kitties heads. Three, they seem more difficult to carry heavy kitties like me. Four, they do not come in as large sizes as the hard-sided carries do (or at least we can't find any...) Five, the soft-sided carriers are very hard to clean thoroughly. The best thing about my hard-sided plastic carrier is that it has wheels. I am a big heavy kitty and the wheels are great because it means that they don't always have to lift the carrier to move it, sometimes they can just roll it. Unfortunately the handle to pull it broke so they can't roll it all the time... (been trying to think of a way to make a replacement handle, but no luck so far!)
  • Heidi BoldiHeidi Boldi IndianaMember Posts: 1
    edited 21 September, 2006
    We had to fly from Midway in Chicago to Savannah GA last month. Terrible, by the way. But they only let us use a SOFT carrier to be considered carry-on luggage. I fit right under the seat at mom's feet!
  • Jill McWhiteJill McWhite Duke City, Land of EnchantmentMember Posts: 1,098
    edited 24 September, 2006
    Hi, The soft carrier I had was a nightmare for my human(sorry, I don't know the brand, since it is long gone now). I got if for a plane ride, so that I could ride in the cabin, too. HAHA, I figured out how to slide my foot in and open the zipper. I am quite clever, obviously the designers of that bag did not realize that we are such intelligent creatures. So, first the foot, until the zipper opened enough to fit my head through. My human had to hold her foot down on the opening for the whole plane ride, so that I wouldn't escape. I cried the whole plane ride too, just to make it more fun! It was even funnier when we were in the airport, and she had to try to keep the carrier closed, while manhandling all her luggage. If you love to give your humans a hard time, go with the soft carrier. My next plane ride was spent in the cargo section, I didn't really like that either- I missed my opportunity to disrupt a whole planeful of people, and worry mommy sick- but at least there were no worries about my getting out and lost or hurt in the airport or on the plane.
  • Natalie WoodNatalie Wood TruroMember Posts: 37
    edited 24 September, 2006
    STAY AWAY FROM FROM SOFT CARRIERS! I have a soft carrier that my kitten nearly died in. It zippers shut and they can claw it open and get out. So the manufacturer has a clip that attaches the two zippers together so the opening they claw open isn't big enough to get out of. My kitten had stuck his head throught it and got stuck and srangeled herself. Good thing I noticed before it was too late. Stick to hard carriers!
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