If you have a Maine Coon, a Norwegian Forest Cat or another large cat at home, you’ll be familiar with this problem – how do you find a carrier that’s large enough to handle this big breed?
For example, although the average Maine Coon gets to be around 15-22 pounds for males and 12-17 pounds for females, the biggest Maine Coons can grow to a size of over four feet long (over 120cm) and weigh up to 35 pounds.
Did we say big? We mean huuuuuge!
So you’ll know that finding the right cat carrier is an important part of the keeping your large and lovely pussin in good shape. You need to be able to safely transport your animal to the vet or anywhere else it needs to go, and often, the standard-sized cat carriers won’t be large enough to comfortably fit your gentle giant.
You might feel your large cat or Maine Coon doesn’t necessarily need a cat carrier. Maybe they are very calm and remain unstressed in unfamiliar situations, as this breed tend to be very laid back. Perhaps they’re very happy to be carried in your arms or to ride in your car unrestrained.
Even if your cat is one of these animals, it’s important that you get your cat used to being inside a cat carrier, and that you always use a cat carrier at the right times.
There are two key times when you should ALWAYS use a cat carrier for your large cat, Norwegian Forest Cat or your Maine Coon:
Even if your cat is very well behaved, you must use a carrier when you take them to the vet – in fact, most vet clinics will insist on it. Most veterinarian clinics have a separate waiting area for dogs and cats, but even a separate waiting area does not provide the protection your cat needs.
The problems actually begin before you even get in the door. Your cat can easily get startled when you’re carrying them in your arms from the car to the clinic. Before you know it, your lovely pussin could have dashed into the traffic or disappeared in fright to who knows where.
No matter how well behaved you think your animal is, the vet is a strange place, filled with unfamiliar things.
There will be other animals at the vet and your cat could get spooked by a dog sniffing unexpectedly at it, even if it’s on a leash. Or it might feel threatened by other cats or animals in the waiting room, and become aggressive or defensive. It could end up hurting you or one of the other animals!
The clinic will also have other people and animals coming and going. A cat on the loose could easily get scared and disappear out through the front doors. Here they could be exposed to traffic or might run up a tree or under a house before you see where they go. You might never find your pet again.
The moral of the story is clear: always use a cat carrier when you’re taking your cat to the vet.
Sure, there are plenty of cute videos on the interweb showing cats “driving” cars, or on the shoulders of the driver, or hanging out inside the car on a seat or a window hammock.
As adorable as this might look, it’s incredibly unsafe. It puts the lives of both the kitty and the people in the car at risk.
You never know what a cat is going to do, especially if it gets suddenly frightened or surprised.
It might try to hide at your feet and end up under the brake pedal, meaning you can’t slow down without hurting your animal. It might end up blocking your view on the dashboard. It might get scared and try to climb up you for comfort, digging in its claws as it goes.
Even if you feel confident about the way your cat will behave in your car, there’s one thing you can never plan for – and that’s an accident.
If you need to brake suddenly for any reason, or if you’re in an accident or another car hits you, this can have serious repercussions for your cat. An unrestrained cat will become a projectile and your kitty could be thrown against the seats, windows or windscreen, with devastating or even fatal results.
If the accident breaks a window or the windshield, your kitty can escape the car in fright. You might not be able to follow them if you’re trapped or hurt yourself, and you could lose your cat forever. If they’re injured as well, they could suffer a great deal as they try to run away from the accident.
In the car, a hard carrier is a much better idea than some of the soft carriers on the market. It provides more protection than a soft carrier (which might not fit your large cat or your Maine Coon anyway), and it can be belted in safely using a seatbelt. They are also slightly heavier and won’t shift around as easily.
Always transport your cat in the back seat, strapped in with the seatbelt, or in the rear part of the car if you have a safety “cage”. This strong mesh can be vital in an accident as it will stop your cat carrier from going flying.
It’s a good idea to choose a carrier that is a size larger than you think you’ll need. Your Maine Coon or large cat could grow to be bigger than you expect, and planning properly at the beginning means you won’t need to invest in another carrier down the line.
But make sure it’s not too big, as you also need to be able to handle it well and you don’t want your cat to slide around it inside as you’re turning corners or while you’re driving. Consider having a small carrier for when your cat is a juvenile, and another one for when it reaches its full size.
A cat should be able to stretch out in the carrier, as well as turn around. It shouldn’t hit its head on the top when it is sitting up. For big Maine Coons, you might need to look in the dog carrier section to find one that is the right size.
At 16” x 16” x 24”, this a good option for a large cat or for two smaller ones. This high-style pet carrier can carry up to 45 pounds. While it has a sturdy steel frame, it’s also fully collapsible. It has four opening panels including one at the top. You can carry it using the heavy-duty padded straps, and it has attachments to use with a seatbelt in your car.
This large bag suits big cats and measures in at 21”L x 12.25”W x 10.5” H. It can carry up to 22 pounds. One great feature is that is has wheels, so you don’t need to carry your heavy cat! It has a detachable shoulder strap, padded handles, mesh roll-up flaps and locking zippers. It’s airline approved for carry-on.
This hard carrier comes in a range of sizes that can suit your Maine Coon or large cat. It has a shell made from heavy-duty plastic with extra-strong steel wire that provides lots of ventilation for your pet. Approved for airline use, it comes with a full pack of airline accessories including identification stickers, feeding cups etc. You can also use it for regular home use.