“ Brand: Molly / Type: Carrier „
When I adopted my two cats I initially planned to get by borrowing cat carriers "if/when" I needed them. Thinking about it though I realised that was a bit short-sighted as I could need one or two any time, and I really needed to own.
Then I started thinking about the space they'd take up ... *Then!* I spotted these online ...
What's so special?
The main thing I liked about this product was that it folded flat yet was perfectly sturdy. Storage space is at a premium at my house and I didn't want the boxes to be shoved in the garage to get damp and cobwebby and needing cleaning as and when I needed them. Secondly I really liked the fact that the door was zipped closed. My family have kept cats as pets all my life, so I have witnessed cats managing to break out of all manner of supposedly secure carrier fastenings, often with surprising success and surprising injuries inflicted on owners! Surely (in the absence of thumbs) zips would be beyond them! The other nice things were that the cats could see out when inside, yet were still nice and secure, and the inside base was already padded, so no need for that scraggy old jumper sliding about the bottom of the box any more!
How does it work?
The main design of these is that they are held together by zips ... I'll try to explain. The carriers are delivered all folded inside themselves - the lid is zipped securely to the base. They look like giant flying saucers! When you unzip it (completely), inside you find the four sides part (in one piece) folded up snugly inside. You take out the sides part, open it up, and there are two further zips on along the top, one along the bottom which then zip into the lid and base respectively. Still with me?! It really is a simple design which has proved much more difficult to describe than to assemble!! The door is also zipped firmly to open and close. The weight and thickness of the zips I would describe as heavy duty so as a result can be a little bit stiff, but this is no bad thing, it all adds to the reassurance of the sturdiness and security of the carrier.
What's the look?
The sides of the carriers are a strange material I'm finding hard to describe. If I use the word foam it sounds flimsy - and there's no way they're flimsy at all, but it's thick (1cm), sturdy, spongy material. Mine are both the same colour (grey) and the sides have oval shaped holes all over them, which are about 3x2cm. The door on the front is a hard fabric fine mesh and the edges, corners and edges of the door are all reinforced with a sewn seam for extra strength. The top and base are patterned - mine are an uninspiring grey, black and orange flowery pattern - with a fabric carrying handle on top. Inside is a soft padded base which is secured with very strong velcro to the bottom of the carrier.
What do the experts think?
I was (sadly!) so excited with these purchases that I put them both together immediately and offered them to the cats to explore! I had read somewhere that this can be a good thing, so that the cat carrier doesn't become associated with "the trip of doom" to the vets/cattery and result in disappearing cats just when you need to catch them. In the event, me and my two experts have actually installed these carriers as fixtures!
They make excellent hiding places in games of hide and seek/chase... for any cats reading, the best thing is to sneak on top when your playmate is inside and wait to pounce on their head when they emerge!! Ouch!! But also they must feel nice and secure because on a couple of less happy occasions Daisy has retreated there when she has been scared, or wants some quiet time. The material on the base inside they like to "pad" around on, or claw from time to time, but they haven't damaged or torn it, or managed to detach it from the base, so it's clearly well made. The carriers live one either side of my bed now, and although they aren't used nightly by the cats to sleep in, they do go there to sleep sometimes too.
Thankfully I've only had one 'proper' usage of the carriers, for their annual injections last month. I can't say they would give the same ringing endorsement for the trip to the vets as they did for day to day usage but as the one doing the carrying, I certainly would. As soon as they were in and zipped up there was zero stress around "are they escaping" which I'm used to - especially welcome when I'm driving. Those girls were going nowhere other than to the vets! Both my cats travel ok and are quite timid, so they just sat still the whole time and were untroubled by being able to see out, in fact maybe that reduced their stress levels. I was worried that they might be wary of going back into their 'dens' when we got back home but there was no issue there either and they didn't hold their trip to the vets against the carriers personally.
The perfect product?
The issue of being able to see other animals at the vets might well be a problem for some cats, but it would be a straightforward operation to make some sort of cover for it if that were the case. The dimensions are 46x30x32cm, and the website also says they are suitable for puppies / small dogs up to 6kg too. For larger cats or puppies you can open the lid rather than the door to pop them in. I haven't needed to clean mine yet, but the material is described as "nylon" and easy to wipe down - that would definitely be the case - although if there was any accidents, it would be difficult to clean the base, so that maybe where this product could fall down. The main padded base can be removed and washed, but there remains a flock finish to the actual rigid base, so that would prove tricky to clean - but bear in mind, the whole thing does come apart, so you can easily get full access for cleaning.
For me and my girls, this is pretty close to being the perfect product. They are currently £22.90 on Zooplus which compares pretty much like-for-like with other cat carriers, and much more fun, doubling as play houses as they do in our home.