What can I use instead of a cat carrier?

Alternatives to a cat carrier:

  • Cardboard box
  • Laundry basket
  • Tota bag

It’s always a good idea to use a cat carrier whenever you need to take your cat somewhere. However, if you don’t have a cat carrier but certain situation calls and for instance, you need to take your cat to the vet, then you should find an alternative on how to safely ride your cat in a car. If you’re currently in this situation and looking for a solution immediately, then you came to the right place.

Alternatives to try if you don’t have a cat carrier

We understand if you feel annoyed every time you take your cat to the vet. Felines are territorial by nature, and their home is their comfort zone. Having said that, each time they go out and see unfamiliar places, they usually freak out and become less controllable. Fortunately, cat carriers and crates exist, but the thing is, if you don’t usually take your cat to road trips there’s a tendency that you don’t have one at home.

This is why we have created a list of cat carrier alternatives that can help you transport your cat safely and comfortably if there’s a need for him to be taken to the vet immediately.

Cardboard box

You probably have some cardboard boxes lying around the basement. Fortunately, this hack can save the day if you have to take your cat to the vet. Pick the sturdiest box you have in your home or you can buy one from your nearest local hardware store. A cardboard box is durable yet soft, which is ideal for the claws of your cat.

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However, when choosing the size of the cardboard, make sure that it’s not too big or too small that can make him uncomfortable. Choose a cardboard box that’s double the size of your cat, enough for him to turn around, lie down, stand, and stretch. 

For better ventilation, simply create some holes on the sides of the cardboard box so your cat can breathe well. You also have to close the cardboard box with a tape to make sure he’s secured and properly restrained inside. Cats can get easily afraid and could possibly jump out of the box anytime. So, to avoid accidents, make sure the box is properly sealed.

How old is your cat in human years? Try our cat age in human years calculator.

Laundry basket

Laundry baskets have sturdy bottom and there are already holes on the side so it can be a good cat carrier alternative if you don’t have a cat carrier or don’t have access to cardboard boxes. If you opt to choose a laundry basket to transport your cat, make sure it’s sturdy enough to carry the weight of your cat as there are also low-quality laundry baskets.

To make sure your cat won’t escape the laundry basket, use two baskets, and bind both of them to secure a reliable top. 

Tote bag

You can simply use a canvas or plastic tote bag to carry your cat. These can be seen anywhere in your house and all you have to do is to poke some holes on it for proper ventilation. 

Common questions about cat carrier alternatives

Find the answer to your question.

How do you take a cat to the vet without a carrier?

Aside from the cat carrier alternatives we have mentioned above, you can also use a harness to properly restrain your cat while riding in your car. This is especially helpful if your cat is used to walking with a leash and a harness as it will keep him well-behaved during the travel. That’s the association cats usually have with leash and harnesses.

However, you should bear in mind that you should purchase a harness that’s designed specifically for cats, not for other pets.

Do you need a cat carrier to go to the vet?

Experts highly recommend that you use a cat carrier when you have to take your cat somewhere and there’s a need for him to ride in your car. For instance, if you don’t own a cat carrier and emergent situations take place like you have to take your cat to a vet immediately, then consider using the cat carrier alternatives we have listed above to keep you and your pet safe during your travel to the vet.

Can you carry a cat in a backpack?

Backpacks especially designed for cats are also a good way to carry your cat if you don’t have a cat carrier or crate. A backpack can make your cat more comfortable and safer during your travel. However, you have to make sure that the backpack you choose is well-ventilated as there are other backpacks that have caused suffocation to cats.


As a cat owner, you can probably agree to the fact that it’s a struggle to put your cat in a carrier especially if your cat is not used to leaving the house. If this is the case, you can always try the alternative methods we have mentioned above, especially when you need to immediately visit the vet and there’s no carrier or crate on hand.

cat in alternative cat carrier.


Maria love cats! She has two cats of her own and enjoys reading and writing about cats & kittens.

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