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Some cats bolt immediately if you even look at the closet where their carrier is stored. For many cats, the appearance of the carrier means something scary or unpleasant is about to happen – they’re about to be taken away from the safety and security of their home.
Having a cat carrier is essential for planned trips in the car but they are less practical if you simply want to keep your cat by your side for a while. This is where a cat sling carrier comes in handy.
Much like a baby sling for humans, a cat sling carrier is a fabric pouch you can wear over your shoulder and put your cat inside. It’s less bulky than a cat backpack or a traditional carrier, and it gives your cat the comfort of being held close to your body.
At a Glance: Best Cat Sling Carriers To Buy
Want a quick look at the products reviewed in this article? In the comparison table below, we’ve highlighted some of the most important features of each product. You’ll find more detailed information about each product later in the article.
Why Should You Trust Us?
At Cats.com, we’re obsessed with finding the best cat products on the market. Over the last few years, we’ve independently purchased, tested, and reviewed dozens of carriers, backpacks, and cat slings.
To create this guide, we spent time researching the uses of cat sling carriers and identifying the top slings on the market, then purchased a selection of popular products to test hands (and paws)-on. During our tests, we paid attention to key factors like how easy they were to put on, how supportive they were, and how well they kept our test cat secure.
Based on this extensive research and hands-on testing, we’ve selected the following cat slings as the best you can buy.
When Should You Use a Cat Sling Carrier?
Here are three situations in which you might find it helpful to have a cat sling carrier:
1. You Want To Take Your Cat Outside But He Isn’t Comfortable On A Leash.
Whether you’re training your cat as an adventure companion or just trying to give him a little exercise, harness and leash training take time. The first step is getting your cat used to the harness and, from there, building your cat’s confidence on a leash and spending time outdoors.
If you’re looking for a safe and hassle-free way to desensitize your cat to the outdoors, a cat sling carrier might work. Putting your cat in the sling enables you to expose him to different outdoor travel experiences while he enjoys the safety and security he gets from being in the sling. The right sling carrier will enable your cat to peek his head out so he can view his surroundings with a low risk of escape.
A sling carrier is also a great alternative to more structured carriers for transporting your cat from the car to another location. Traditional cat carriers are generally safer for car travel, but once you arrive at your destination (like the vet) it may be more convenient to carry your cat inside using the sling. Plus, the sling acts as a layer of protection between you or the vet and your anxious cat’s claws.
2. You Have A Clingy Cat Who Likes To Stay By Your Side Around The House.
While cats have a reputation for being more aloof as a species than dogs, some cats are cuddle bugs – all they want is to spend every waking moment by your side. As much as you may want to indulge your cat’s desire for affection, some activities just can’t be completed with a cat in your arms. That’s where a cat sling carrier comes in.
A cat sling carrier enables you to keep your cat by your side without impairing your ability to live your life. Cat slings are ideal for clingy breeds like Siamese and Sphynx, but they’re also a great option for cats with mobility challenges. If your cat has trouble getting around on his own, a cat sling enables him to move around the house with you without pain or discomfort.
Cat slings also come in handy any time your cat is outside his comfort zone. Not only will keeping your cat in a sling prevent him from accidentally injuring himself or others, but it will prevent him from bolting and hiding under something or escaping outside.
3. You Find Yourself In An Emergency Situation Where A Traditional Carrier Isn’t Practical.
No cat owner wants to think about what might happen to their cat in an emergency situation. As your cat’s carer and guardian, however, it’s important to be prepared and to have a plan in place should the worst come to pass.
In the event of a natural disaster or any situation that requires immediate evacuation, you may be forced to leave the house quickly with only as much as you can carry. The last thing you want to do is leave your cat behind but finding the space (or spare hands) to tote along a cat carrier simply may not be practical.
In emergency situations like these, a cat sling carrier enables you to carry your cat close while keeping your hands free. As long as you use the sling correctly, your cat should stay perfectly safe and secure by your side as you navigate the challenges you face.
NOTE: You should never leave your cat in a sling carrier on his own. Sling carriers are designed to help you keep your cat close and your proximity is largely what keeps your cat safe in this type of carrier. Sling carriers are not appropriate for car travel.
5 Things To Look For In A Cat Sling Carrier
Your cat’s safety is always your top priority, so there are certain things you shouldn’t compromise on when shopping for a cat carrier. Cat slings are a different product entirely but there are still important features to look for that will help you choose the best option for your cat.
1. Appropriate Sizing
For the most part, you can use the same sling carrier for small dogs and cats. Just be sure to check the weight limit of the bag. Some manufacturers will provide measurements for the length and depth of the bag, but pet weight is generally the best metric to use when choosing a sling carrier.
The average housecat weighs about 10 pounds, so most cat sling carriers are sized accordingly. The weight capacity of a carrier is determined not only by its size but its construction. A cat carrier bag made with thicker, less flexible materials will support heavier pets than a soft cotton sling.
2. Adjustable Straps
Unlike a hardsided carrier that has a handle, a pet sling carrier generally has a single strap you wear over your shoulder. The strap should be well constructed with double stitching so it doesn’t stretch. To ensure support for your cat and comfort for you, the shoulder portion of the strap should be fairly wide so the weight is distributed over a larger area. Most importantly, however, the strap should be adjustable.
An adjustable strap means you can lengthen or shorten the strap according to what feels most comfortable for you – it also allows you to decide whether your cat’s weight rests against your hip or tucked more closely in to your side. Most pet carrier slings have a crossbody design.
3. Security Measures
Cat slings are, by nature, fairly secure. The material that makes up the body of the sling collapses in around your cat, his body weight pulling the open sides toward the middle. This is typically enough to keep a calm cat in place, but if your cat is anxious or a little high-strung, you’ll appreciate having extra security measures to keep him safely contained.
Many cat sling carriers come with a safety strap or buckle on the inside. It might be a buckle that loops around your cat’s collar or a hook you can attach to the collar’s D-ring. Make sure the safety strap is short enough that your cat won’t be able to escape from the bag with the strap still attached.
4. Quality Construction
A good cat sling is made from high-quality materials and designed specifically with cats in mind. Look for durable materials like nylon or leather for heavier cats and cats who might get a little fussy in the sling. Slings made from softer materials like cotton work well for kittens, small cats, and cats who stay calm.
In addition to evaluating the quality of the materials, take a look at how the sling is put together. Double-stitched seams help prevent seams from tearing and hems from fraying. The shoulder stap should be attached securely to the body of the sling and the security strap should be able to withstand some pull.
5. Comfort And Style
Most pet sling bags are similar in style – they have a pouch-like body and a crossbody strap. When shopping different designs, keep your cat’s comfort in mind as well as your own. A padded shoulder strap keeps you comfortable, but consider a sling that has a padded bottom to give the sling a little structure and better support your cat’s bodyweight.
Other design factors to consider include breathability and external storage. Because cat sling is designed to be worn directly against your body, it can get a little warm for your cat. Breathable materials help dissipate body heat to keep your cat cooler. Storage pockets are always a benefit, giving you a place to store treats, a collapsible water dish, and your cat’s leash.
Our Top Picks for the Best Cat Sling Carriers
Now that you know what we looked for in a cat sling carrier, you can better understand why the following products are our top picks.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are cat sling carriers safe?
Yes. Cat slings are a safe and effective way to transport your cat when used properly. Choose a cat sling made from soft but durable material with sturdy seams, an adjustable shoulder strap, and security leash or harness attachment inside.
Do cats like being in slings?
Not all cats will enjoy being in a sling but, for the most part, your cat should feel safe and secure being close to your body. It’s important to find a sling that is appropriately sized for your cat and to take steps to get your cat acclimated to the sling before using it for any extended period of time.
Can you use a baby sling for cat?
No. Baby slings are designed for the anatomy of a human child and will not fit your cat properly. They’re largely meant to support the weight of the child while keeping the cat from escaping is a bigger concern with cat slings. A cat sling needs to support your cat’s weight but should also be designed to prevent escape with features like internal leashes.