Best Cat Crate for Car Travel – My Top 3 Picks!

If you own a Tonkinese or at least met one, you know that they love cuddles. So much that it can be hard to keep them on the car without trying to crawl on your lap or squish their body into yours to seek attention. Tonks are very affectionate, cats but if you’re traveling with them on a car, it’s best to put them on the best cat crate for car travel. Crating your kitty on the car is for their safety and your peace of mind.

In a rush? Here are my top 3 picks for your Tonk’s crate:

 My Top Pick! 
PetMate Sky
Kennel Carrier
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P&B Collapsible
Pet Carrier
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Soft-Krate Pet Crate
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Why you should crate your Tonkinese

Like humans, cats can suffer from motion sickness during a car ride. I’ve seen the ugly side of road trips with a cat when I took my cat, Lucky, for an inter-state ride for the first time. I was a first-time Tonk cat owner at that time, and I must admit, I wasn’t prepared for such scenarios. Back then I thought, as long as Lucky is comfy in his crate, we’ll have a great time. I was wrong.

Lucky drooled, cried, and vomited inside his crate. I have to pull over to check on him and call the vet (I was worried as hell). It turned out that my cat had a bad case of motion sickness.

Motion sickness among cats happens mostly due to anxiety. This anxiety can be triggered if you rarely take your cat for a ride or if there’s something stressful about the environment. And since Tonk cats are mostly indoor felines, they are very prone to motion sickness on car rides

The first step in preventing motion sickness among cats is getting the right crate. It has to be sized up to your cat’s weight, among other considerations. Below, I’ve listed and reviewed three of the crates I’ve personally tried and tested for Tonkinese cats.

Crating your Tonk cat during a car ride is also a matter of safety. Your cat can’t wear seatbelts so the crate will serve as a layer of protection in the off chance that you figure in an accident.

Buying Guide or Tonkinese Cat Crates

When it comes to the best cat crate for car travel, there are five important points you have to consider:

😺Soft vs. hard crate

Cat carriers come in either hard or soft types. The following are the differences:

Hard crate. These are more expensive than soft carriers, but it’s impact-rated. Hard crates are the ones accepted on pet courier services, and when it comes to car rides, it offers the best protection for your cat. It’s perfect for an adult and heavy Tonk since it’s made of plastic and other tough materials.

Soft crates. If you’re looking for a cheaper option, you can get a soft carrier for your Tonkinese cat. It’s usually made of mesh doors and zipped fabric frame. To keep it in shape, the soft carrier has frame inserts.

Which one is ideal for Tonkinese? If your cat is calm and already used to car rides, soft carriers are a good choice. It’s soft, comfy, and easier to store when not in use. However, if your Tonk is yet to overcome motion sickness, you should stick to hard carriers.


Once you have decided on the type of carrier you’re going to get, the next step is to check the material. If you are purchasing hard carriers, make sure that the plastic components, as well as the paint, don’t have off-gassing. If the pet crate has a chemical smell to it, you must wash it thoroughly before putting your cat inside.

High-quality hard crates are made of PU with stainless steel doors. This is suitable for most cats, regardless of behavior.

Meanwhile, soft carriers are made of fabric blends with a steel frame. Your aim should be to get a carrier that will not reap easily or get shredded by your cat’s claws.


The size of your cat’s crate should always be based on its body weight and size. You should never place your kitty in a crate that’s too small for its size. It’s not comfortable, and it will surely make the motion sickness worse.

The rule of thumb is that your cat should be able to lie down, turn, and stretch inside.  However, avoid very large crates because it will feel more like a cage than a safe space. In the wild, cats seek smaller spaces so predators will not target them. This is the same logic with cat crates nowadays. It should be spacious enough for moving, but cozy enough to calm a Tonk down.


Although not all crates come with a floor padding, it’s still a great addition on your purchase. The crate bedding will keep your Tonks comfy inside. Most soft carriers have this inside, so you no longer have to purchase it separately. For hard carriers, you can improvise with a soft towel or a piece of your clothing to keep your kitty calm.

😺Door style

Pet carriers can have either single or multiple doors. A single-door carrier allows one point of entry and exit. For most Tonkinese cats, a single door is enough.

So why consider a carrier with multiple doors? Well, if your cat is a bit nervous and not used to crates yet, a multiple-door style will let them get inside the crate on their own terms.

Aside from the number of doors, you should also consider its placement. You can choose from a side door or a top loading one. It depends on how you want to place your cat inside. With my cat Lucky, I prefer a side door, so he can get in and out on his own volition.

Best Cat Crate for Cat Travel – My Top 3 Picks!


MY TOP PICK: PetMate Sky Kennel Carrier
best cat crate for car travel

Product Name: PetMate Sky Kennel Carrier

Product Description: If you’re looking for a safe and cozy crate for your Tonk, I personally recommend the PetMate Sky Kennel Carrier. This has a 4-way vault door design that doesn’t slip or slide. This is the current crate of my cat Lucky, where I place him each time we have to go to the vet or when I visit my brother during weekends. It’s made of a heavy-duty plastic shell with a steel wire door. What I also like about this crate is its 360-degree ventilation. There are windows on two sides and a perforated back. My cat can still see the outside world even if he’s inside the crate. It also lets cats breathe properly and get fresh air.

Offer price: $$$

Availability: InStock

  • Build
  • Quality
  • Material
  • Value for Money


If you’re taking your cat on a flight, this PetMate carrier is airline adaptable. It’s made for safe travels, thanks to its rugged design. It also has a ‘Live Animals’ sticker, clip-on bowl, and ID sticker, so your Tonk is ready for long travels.

This crate is available in 21 to 48-inch sizes. For most Tonkinese cats, the 28 to 32-inch sizes will be sufficient. However, if you have two inseparable Tonkinese cats, get the larger one.


360-degree ventilation

Heavy-duty material

Airline adaptable


A few tweaks are needed to pass airline regulations


P&B Collapsible Pet Carrier

best cat crate for car travel

If you’re looking for a casual crate to bring you cat around, the P&B Collapsible Carrier might be the best option. This two-door pen opens at the top or the front, which gives you easy access to your cat. Overall, it suits cats of up to 30 pound, which is equivalent to two adult Tonks.

Moreover, this crate is made of durable PC material that’s non-toxic and resistant to compressive forces. It’s also breathable because the sides are open with stainless wires. This allows airflow and your kitty can still see you from the inside.

When not in use, you can fold the crate. I actually keep one of these at the trunk of my car, so I have a spare crate should I need to take Lucky somewhere. I also found it handy for my friends’ pets.

Depending on airline restrictions, this can be used for in-cabin pet transports. It’s also very easy to put together even if you’re not much of a handyman.

My only gripe is that it doesn’t come with a handle. It’s either you hold everything and waddle your way into your destination. The trick here is to assemble it in the car and bring your cat in the vehicle. That saves you from the heavy lifting.

  • Very breathable
  • Collapsible design
  • Durable PC material
  • Doesn’t come with handles

Noz2Noz Soft-Krate Pet Crate

If you’re looking for a semi-soft crate, I swear by the Noz2Noz Soft-Krate. It’s made of heavy-duty mesh fabric that keeps your cat comfy. It also has round corners for added safety.

Another thing I like about this crate is its accordion design that folds flat when not in use. To set up the crate, you can use the couplers and push-button tabs. This will put the steel frame tubes in the proper place so your cat can enter the crate easily. There are side entry doors with the opening rolling up to be secured on the built-in fasteners.

Moreover, this crate has a water-resistant base for easy cleanup should your Tonk had accidents during the ride. It’s also stain-resistant, which is a big plus. There’s also a fully-supported handle at the top so you can bring your cat anywhere.

To keep your cat tuck inside, this soft crate comes with industrial-grade zippers. You can also remove the cover from the frame for machine washing.

Overall, this is suitable for cats that are below 15 pounds. That’s more than enough to house a healthy adult Tonkinese.

  • Machine-washable cover
  • Accordion design
  • Steel frame tubing
  • It’s challenging to remove the cover from the frame

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What does Tonkinese prefer, soft or hard crates?

A: If your Tonk is a calm kitty, soft carriers would be ideal. It’s soft and more comfortable. However, if your kitty gets pretty excited about car rides, you must consider a hard-shelled crate instead. It also depends on the purpose. Most airlines require hard crates in transporting your cat.

Q: Where in the car should I put the cat crate?

A: The backseat is the ideal spot for the crate with your cat inside. This way, you can check the kitty along the way. Some crates allow you to integrate the seatbelt on it. Regardless if your crate has this feature or not, never place a crate with a cat inside on the trunk, especially on very hot days.

Q: How do I help relax my Tonk on his first car ride?

A: Covering the crate with a towel will help. You can also diffuse a relaxing and pet-friendly scent to help your little furry baby simmer down. Aside from that, you must take it easy with the accelerator to prevent motion sickness.

Q: How long should I put my cat inside a crate?

A: I always encourage cat owners to let their kitties out of the crate/kennel after six hours of being kept inside. This will prevent accidents and struggling on the part of your cat. After a car ride, take your Tonk out and check if it’s okay.

Q: How can I prepare my Tonkinese for a long car ride?

A: For long car rides, it will help to consult with a vet. You should also get the best cat crate for car travel for the kitty’s safety.

Q: Is it safe to sedate my Tonk for a long car ride?

A: Your cat’s vet can confirm to you if your kitty is healthy enough to be sedated for long car travels. Many cats are being sedated for long car rides to keep them calm. However, the sedative should come from a veterinarian and administered with proper vet instructions.

Final words

For your cat’s safety, you should always put them inside the best cat crate for car travel whenever you’re taking them for a ride. It will be their safe space to reduce the risk of anxiety, motion sickness, and other untoward incidents. It will also let you focus on the road.