Can I Carry My Cat in a Purse? Important Safety Tips

Last Updated on: November 13, 2023 by Crystal Uys

Getting your cat to and from the vet can be a difficult task if you don’t have a cat carrier. Some people opt to wrap their cat in a blanket or towel to stop them from breaking free and running off, but this can intensify the cat’s anxiety and escalate the situation.

Of course, a cat carrier is the best mode of transportation for a cat because it is well-ventilated and designed for comfort, but when you’re faced with an emergency situation and don’t have a carrier, you may consider using your purse. In an emergency, you can carry your cat in a purse as long as it is big enough to hold your cat comfortably and has a flat bottom.

Soft purses aren’t suitable for carrying a cat because they cannot support them. If you do opt for a purse, make sure that you create holes in it for ventilation. A purse shouldn’t be used to carry a cat for daily outings because it is not designed for this purpose and can be uncomfortable, poorly ventilated, and easy to escape from.

What Can I Use Instead of a Cat Carrier?

We’ve all been there—you’ve just lent your cat carrier to a friend, it just broke, or you simply cannot find it after a big move. This is often the moment emergency strikes and when you need the carrier most. Thankfully, there are a few cat carrier alternatives you can use in times like these that are suitable to rush your cat off to the vet.

A Cat Harness

Black tabby Maine Coon with harness
Image Credit: DenisNata, Shutterstock

If you’ve got a cat harness, you may need to pull it out for your trip to the vet. Although it’s not ideal because you have less control over your cat than with a cat carrier, it will keep your cat safely next to you. It will also reduce the risk of your cat clawing out of your arms to get away if they get a fright or have to sit next to a yappy dog.

The good thing about a cat harness is that it is secure and familiar. If you walk your cat in it often, they will feel comfortable wearing it on their way to their appointment. However, you may need to pick your cat up and hold them once you’re at the vet to keep them away from the other pets.

If you need to take your cat to the vet in a vehicle, make sure to secure the harness by tightening it with the seatbelt. It shouldn’t be too tight or too loose. Although it isn’t as safe as using a carrier, this is a better option than allowing your cat to roam freely around your car because that is incredibly dangerous.

A Sports Bag

Cat in a carrier bag ready to board an airplane
Image Credit: MarinaTr, Shutterstock

If you have a sports bag with a flat base that is big enough to fit your cat in, you can use it to carry your cat to their appointment. You need to make sure that the bag is well-ventilated so that your cat won’t overheat or struggle to breathe. Many sports bags have holes on the sides due to the design, so check to see if yours does, too.

Make your cat’s experience more comfortable by adding a blanket or towel to the floor of the bag. Never place the bag down unattended with the zip open because your cat will likely try to get out and may wander off.

A Cardboard Box

grey cat with yellow eyes peeking out of cardboard box
Image credit: Glr0115, Unsplash

In emergencies, even a cardboard box will do. It may sound too simple, but a cardboard box is one of the best alternatives to a cat carrier because it is sturdy, large, and has a flat base. You will need to cut holes into the box for good ventilation and keep the flaps down to make it secure, but it will get your cat to the vet safely.

Once again, you can place a blanket or old towel in the box to make it more comfortable for your cat and to add some warmth. If you need to travel to the vet in your car, place the box on the floor of your car to prevent the box from sliding around on the seat.

A Laundry Basket

Image credit: MarkGusev, Shutterstock

Most people have at least one laundry basket in their home, which can end up being a lifesaver in an emergency. If you only have one large-sized laundry basket, you can place your cat inside and cover the opening with a blanket.

However, if you have two laundry baskets that are smaller in size, you can secure the two open sides together with cable ties or strings to create a bigger “crate” for your cat. You’ll need to place a blanket inside for them to sit on, but the holes in the basket offer excellent ventilation.

Why You Should Invest in a Cat Carrier

The cat carrier alternatives listed above can be used in emergencies, but they are makeshift carriers and shouldn’t be used every time you need to take your cat somewhere. The reason for this is that they are not safe or correctly designed to transport your cat. After a few uses, they may tear, come undone, or fall apart, which may result in the injury or escape of your cat.

A cat carrier will cost more than a DIY cat carrier, but it is specifically designed to carry your cat. Therefore, it will be more comfortable, protective, secure, durable, ventilated, and easier to carry. A more positive experience for your cat will result in less stress and an easier vet appointment for both you and your cat.

If you don’t like the hard plastic cat carriers, you can choose between a cat backpack, a rolling carrier, or a soft-sided carrier.

A cat in a travel carrier
Image Credit: Nils Jacobi, Shutterstock

How to Choose the Right Cat Carrier for Your Cat

When purchasing a cat carrier, have your cat in mind and buy a carrier with features that will best work for them and keep them stress-free.


The cat carrier you choose must be big enough for your cat to turn around and stand up. It should also be long enough for them to lie down in and stretch out. However, it shouldn’t be so big that they slip and slide from one end to the other when driving in the car or being carried by you.

Image Credit: Africa Studio, Shutterstock


If your cat has no problem getting in and out of a cat carrier, you can get one with one opening. However, if your cat puts up a fight when getting in and out, you may want to consider one with an opening on the top, too. This will allow you to place them into the carrier and lift them out without a struggle.


Your cat needs to feel comfortable in their carrier, but if it isn’t well-ventilated, they will overheat and struggle to breathe. Make sure the carrier you pick has vents on all of the sides.


You can carry your cat in a purse if you do not have a cat carrier. However, you must make sure the purse is big enough to fit your cat comfortably, has holes for airflow, and has a flat bottom. A purse should only be used temporarily as it is not designed to carry a cat.

A cat carrier is recommended for transporting a cat from one place to another because it is secure, durable, comfortable, and well-ventilated. If you do not have a cat carrier or a purse with a flat base, you could use a cat harness, a cardboard box, a laundry basket, or a sports bag.

Featured Image Credit: Jelena990, Shutterstock

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