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Soft-sided carrier experiences?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
I have three cats and only two carriers…so I’ve been on the hunt for a third carrier just in case I need to use all three at once. I would really love to get a soft-sided carrier so that I can fold it and store it easier (my other two are hard sided and a pain to store). I’d also like to go ahead and get one that is “airline approved†so that if I need to go somewhere via airline I would already have a carrier that is suitable. My primary requirements are that the carrier be very sturdy when assembled, have good ventilation, and at least have an interior that is hand-washable (I’d put a crate pad and/or liner in there anyway).

My largest cat is 15.5lbs (and needs to loose some weight) so I’ve been looking at the carriers rated 16 – 15lbs (a 15lb carrier could at least be used for the other two smaller cats). My only concern with carriers in this size range are that I am not sure if a 15lb rated carrier can really handle 15lbs… and will the interior dimensions be too small for my cats to move at all.

I’ll list the models I am looking at and what I think the pros / cons of each are below as well as the links to their information.

I’d greatly appreciate it if you could give me some feedback if you have any of the models that I’m looking at or if you have a model to recommend that I haven’t included. I’d love to stay in the $50 and under price range, but I’m willing to spend more if I can’t get an appropriate carrier for less (and I could get a very durable carrier for that price).

Thanks, as always for your input and advice!

1.) Delta airlines Sherpa deluxe carrier (medium) 18†long x 11†wide x 10.5†high rated 16lbs. Lowest price I’ve found: $34.99

Pros: I like the way it looks, it is airline approved, it has a weight rating more than 15lbs. top entry
Cons: The width and height…would this be ok for an average sized cat?

2.) Sherpa original “deluxe†carrier (medium) 18†long x 11†wide x 10.5†high rated 16lbs. Lowest price: $59.99

pros: Good ventilation, well-made, airline approved, good weight range. Top entry.
Cons: width and height, looks…kinda ugly looking to me, Perhaps too much “visibility†to make the kitties feel uncomfortable. COST unless I can find it cheaper.

3.) GoGo xxsmall soft crate 19.5â€L x 13.5â€W x 13.75â€H ???weight, ??? airline rated price: ~ $50.99

Pros: The dimensions are larger, good ventilation, looks great, top entry
Cons: no airline rating info, no weight info (assume 15lbs), and no reviews of the product

4.) Bergan soft-sided carrier large 19†x 9†x 10†weight- up to 22lbs, airline rated??
Price: $37.99

pros: dimensions, weight range, ventilation, shoulder strap, looks, price
Cons: airline approved? No top-entry

5.) Sturdibag large 18â€L x 12†x 12â€, up to 30lbs
Price $89.99 – $79.99

pros: would fit almost all airlines, good ventilation, shoulder strap, looks great, top entry
cons: $$$$$
post #2 of 13
i will say i saw soft-sided carriers @ Dollar General just the other day for about $15... wouldn't be airline approved, most likely, but definitely a good price!
post #3 of 13
I have a Sherpa carrier. It fits my large cats but they can't really stand up in it. They don't mind however. Sneakers used to be 15 lbs. and I had no problem with her in the Sherpa except that it was a heavy weight to carry!
I also have a pet stroller with a removable carrier from Pet Gear. It's supposed to hold up to 15 lbs but I've had more than 15 lbs in it (two large kittens) and didn't have a problem.
post #4 of 13
I have hard side and soft side. I would be leary of using a soft sided carrier with cats over 10 lbs when grown. Charlie used it as a kitten but now that he's 11-12 lbs, he has a hard sided carrier for traveling.

I may or may not use the soft one for Jack. Breeder says he's a nice solid boy now and probably would only use it a few times before going to a hard sided one.

The only cats that travelled by plane were my rexes and they always rode in the soft ones. I've never taken Charlie on a plane to a show.
post #5 of 13
I have a Sherpa bag. It's the original deluxe carrier, but in black. I use it a few times per week and find it to be high quality and sturdy. My cat doesn't seem to mind that there is a lot of "visibility" for him. And actually, 59.99 is much cheaper than what I paid for it here in Canada. I think I paid around 75.00. But I'm very happy with the bag because it's airline-approved as well.
post #6 of 13
#5 they are awesome ... I am going to replace my with those as needed ... Petsmart had one on display and awesome... I have a few sherpa s which are great for my dog( large yorkie 15lbs but 7-8 inches high) and the small cat ( she is 8-9 lbs) though they are "large"...

Bergans have lots of wasted space IMHO
post #7 of 13
This is the one I have and love - CFA cat carrier
Good luck!
post #8 of 13
I'm a Sturdi user - love them and would LOVE to get more!!!!
post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your replies!

Another question for you.... If you have one of the bags above, how hard is it to setup? i.e. are there rods that have to be inserted and/or removed? I'd love one that is a simple zip and go type of bag, but that also can fold down or collapse for storage.

The sturdibags are great looking and I'm glad to hear that they are a good product...Now of only they weren't quite so pricey! I have champaigne taste on a beer budget lol.

post #10 of 13
I have a Sherpa bag. I got it for $10 or less from a holiday pet fair (held by an animal shelter). It is the larger size bag. It works really well for my 10 to 15 pound cats. It does not require any fuss to set it up. It folds up and to use it all you have to do is unfold it and then put in the fleece mat which has a hard backing for the "floor". When you put the mat inside it makes the carrier unable to fold, so it stays up.

Oh yeah I also have a Sleepypod which is the coolest thing ever! It's really expensive though. I would not have been able to afford one if I hadn't won it in a contest! Unfortunately I think only the "mini" size fits under airline seats, and it says for pets up to 7 lbs. I have the regular size which is quite large, I think my Maine Coon would fit in the "mini" just fine but I am not sure if it would hold up to her weight since it has a weight limit of 7 lbs...

post #11 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone for your advice!

I went ahead and ordered a tan sturdibag (large). I found it online from another retailer who offered cheaper shipping than from the manufacturer's site (they wanted $18.95 to ship it! ). I'm just waiting for the confirmation email (they're probably not in today as its a holiday).

Hopefully this bag will be everything I'm looking for...if not I just waisted some serious $$.

Nekochan- I've seen the sleepypods before online, but my cats don't care for hard-sided round beds, esp. those with tall sides, so I never thought about getting one...well that and the price. Yours looks very nice though!

post #12 of 13
Thread Starter 
Well, the bag arrived about 1.5 weeks ago and it is awesome! Not even my very determined frazier could get out of it or tear the mesh on the front door. It did take me a while to put it together though...I went backwards and put the board in first which made it hard to insert the rods Just goes to show you that you should definately read directions first.

It is a lot bigger than I thought it would be and easily fits each of my cats... My fat cat Toby can even turn around in it. The shoulder strap is nice as well, I'll just have to adjust it so that it's more suited to a short person. lol.

Thanks for your advice everyone!
post #13 of 13
Originally Posted by artgecko View Post
1.) Delta airlines Sherpa deluxe carrier (medium) 18†long x 11†wide x 10.5†high rated 16lbs. Lowest price I’ve found: $34.99
I know you've already made a purchase, but I thought I'd give my two cents on this one.

I've got this one for Pumpkin, and she seems to like it. Goes pretty well with one of the petco donut beds, even though she's pretty small for it at around 7lbs.

However, I don't use it for Zero, since sometimes he'll panic in it and start trying to claw his way out with so much force that I worry he'll actually get through the mesh.
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