Published by: Ingrid King. Last Updated on: July 27, 2023 by Crystal Uys


I consider Sleepypod carriers the cadillac of cat carriers in terms of design, safety and ease of use. I also think the fact that they’re simply gorgeous is a big plus, as it will allow design-conscious cat guardians to make the Sleepypod a regular part of their living space, which will make life less stressful for cats when it’s time to get into the carrier.

Sleepypod has long been a sponsor of this website, contributing valuable information on how to travel safely with your cat, cat carrier saftey, and more. I thought it would be interesting to take a look behind the scenes of this company, and to learn how the Sleepypod came into being.

It started with a cat

In 2004, Melony Lee was looking for a way to travel with her first kitten, a Bengal named Rawl Rawl. She was disappointed by the existing products on the market. Inspired by a commitment to her cat and a passion for design, Melony and fellow Art Center College of Design graduate Michael Leung focused on researching and developing an ideal carrier prototype for Rawl Rawl.

Michael Leung and Melony Lee

The result was better than expected. Rawl Rawl adapted to the flexible travel environment with ease and enthusiasm. Yet, as enthusiastic as Rawl Rawl was about her new environment, wherever she traveled in it, other pet parents were even more enthusiastic about her stylish carrier.

Rawl Rawl, the inspiration for Sleepypod

This unexpected reaction prompted Michael and Melony to turn the prototype into a commercial product. The partners set out to perfect the design, going through more than a dozen revisions before finally achieving a product that met their high standards for design and functionality.


Have bed, will travel

The design team understood that pets often associated travel with negative experiences like trips to the vet. In their view, a familiar space would make travel less stressful. By 2006, the Sleepypod design incorporated a pet bed, carrier, and car seat functions. The design was ideal for reducing travel anxiety because a pet could travel in the comfort of its everyday bed.


Safety first for furry family members

Every Sleepypod product is created with safety and the pet’s well being in mind. In 2008, the mobile test bed was successfully crash-tested at US child safety seat standards since there were no safety standards for pet safety restraints at the time.


In 2012, Sleepypod crash-tested its carriers at U.S. child safety seat standards using a crash-test pet of the design team’s own design. MAX 1 has since been retired and is housed at the Smithsonian Institution. You can see him in the Smithsonian Institution’s online collection at


Without data, pet safety is just a guess

The Sleepypod team designs and builds its own crash test pets. They are correctly weighted, with sensors and monitors to determine the damaging forces on pets in car crashes. They then use the data collected from these crash test pets to create safer designs. After all, without data, pet safety is just a guess. Sleepypod’s third generation crash test pets are the most advanced crash test pets available.

Crash Test Cat Cleo

Sleepypod products have not only been tested in the lab, they have been tested in real life accidents.

Click on the image for more testimonials

Most awarded carrier

The Sleepypod mobile pet bed has gone on to become one of the world’s most awarded carriers, with awards ranging from TICA (The International Cat Association) to  Consumer Digest and Country Living magazine.

Collaboration with Assisi Animal Health on a veterinary product


In 2018 Sleepypod collaborated with Assisi Animal Health to make the Assisi Loop Lounge, a non-pharmaceutical veterinary product designed to help promote healing and pain management.

What makes an icon an icon?

The folks at Sleepypod are not exactly sure how they achieved iconic status for their carriers. What they do know is that Sleepypod and its crash test pets have been included in countless and diverse media pieces to include: O magazine, Prevention magazine, Consumer Reports, House Beautiful, Car and Driver, Wired, Wall Street Journal, Smithsonian Channel, the BBC program Crash Test Dummies – A Smashing History, and many more.

For more information about Sleepypod and all of their products, please visit

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