Can I carry my cat in a handbag? Important Safety Tips

Last updated on: November 13, 2023 by Crystal Uys

green eyed cat sitting next to purse sunglasses and shoes

Getting your cat to and from the vet can be a difficult task if you don’t have a carrier. Some people choose to wrap their cat in a blanket or towel to prevent it from breaking free and running away, but this can intensify the cat’s anxiety and make the situation worse.

Of course, a carrier is the best means of transport for a cat because it is well ventilated and designed for comfort, but when you are faced with an emergency situation and you don’t have a carrier, you can consider using your handbag. . In an emergency, you can carry your cat in a handbag as long as it is large enough to hold your cat comfortably and has a flat bottom.

Soft handbags are not suitable for carrying a cat because they cannot support it. If you opt for a handbag, be sure to create holes for ventilation. A handbag should not be used to carry a cat on daily outings, as they are not designed for this purpose and can be uncomfortable, poorly ventilated and easy to escape.

What can I use instead of a cat carrier?

We’ve all been there: you’ve just lent your carrier to a friend, it’s just broken down, or you simply can’t find it after a big move. This is often the time when an emergency arises and you need the carrier the most. Fortunately, there are a few cat transport alternatives that you can use in times like these that are suitable for taking your cat to the vet.

A cat harness

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

If you have a cat harness, you may need to remove it for your vet visit. Although this is not ideal because you have less control over your cat than with a carrier, it will keep your cat safe next to you. This will also reduce the risk of your cat tearing itself out of your arms and running away if it gets scared or has to sit next to a barking dog.

The advantage of a cat harness is that it is safe and familiar. If you often walk your cat in it, she will feel comfortable wearing it on the way to her appointment. However, you may need to pick up and hold your cat once you go to the vet to keep it away from other animals.

If you must take your cat to the veterinarian in a vehicle, be sure to secure the harness by tightening it with the seat belt. It should be neither too tight nor too loose. Although it’s not as safe as using a carrier, it’s a better option than letting your cat roam freely around your car, as this is incredibly dangerous.

A sports bag

Cat in a carrier bag ready to board a plane
Image credit: MarinaTr, Shutterstock

If you have a flat-based duffel bag large enough to accommodate your cat, you can use it to transport your cat to her appointment. You need to make sure the bag is well ventilated so that your cat doesn’t overheat or have difficulty breathing. Many gym bags have holes in the sides due to their design, so check to see if yours has them too.

Make your cat’s experience more comfortable by adding a blanket or towel to the bottom of the bag. Never leave the bag unattended with the zipper open, as your cat will likely try to get out and may wander away.

A cardboard box

gray cat with yellow eyes looking out of a cardboard box
Image credit: Glr0115, Unsplash

In an emergency, even a cardboard box will do. This 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’ll need to punch holes in the box for ventilation and keep the flaps down to secure it, but this will allow your cat to go to the vet safely.

Again, you can place a blanket or old towel in the box to make it more comfortable for your cat and provide some warmth. If you have to go to the vet in your car, place the box on the floor of your car to prevent it 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 be a lifesaver in an emergency. If you only have one large laundry basket, you can place your cat inside and cover the opening with a blanket.

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

Why you should invest in a cat carrier

The cat transport alternatives listed above can be used in an emergency, but they are makeshift carriers and should not be used every time you need to take your cat somewhere. The reason is that they are not safe or properly designed to transport your cat. After a few uses, they may tear, fall apart, or fall apart, which could lead to your cat getting hurt or running away.

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

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

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

How to choose the right carrier for your cat

When shopping for a carrier, think about your cat and purchase a crate with features that best suit them and keep them stress-free.


The cat carrier you choose should be large enough for your cat to turn around and stand up. It should also be long enough for them to lie down and stretch out on. However, it should not be so big that they slide from one end to the other when you are driving in the car or carrying it.

Cat in purple
Image credit: Africa Studio, Shutterstock


If your cat has no problem getting in and out of a carrier, you can purchase one with only one opening. However, if your cat struggles getting in and out, you may also want to consider one with an opening on the top. This will allow you to place them in the holder and remove them without difficulty.


Your cat needs to feel comfortable in its cage, but if it is not well ventilated, they will overheat and I’m having trouble breathing. Make sure the carrier you choose has vents on all sides.


You can carry your cat in a handbag if you don’t have a carrier. However, you should make sure that the purse is large enough to comfortably accommodate your cat, has holes for air circulation, and has a flat bottom. A handbag should only be used temporarily as it is not designed to carry a cat.

A carrier is recommended for transporting a cat from one place to another because it is secure, durable, comfortable and well ventilated. If you don’t have a cat carrier or flat-bottomed purse, you might use a cat harnessa cardboard box, laundry basket or sports bag.

Featured image credit: Jelena990, Shutterstock

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