Published by: Ingrid King. Last Updated on: June 22, 2023 by Crystal Uys


For most cat parents, putting a cat into the carrier is stressful. We may try to train our cats to accept the carrier, we may try to manage our own energy so that our cats don’t pick up on our stress, we may use calming remedies such as Stress Stopper and Feliway, but the reality is that, while all of these help, it’s still going to be a challenging experience for most of us. But have you ever given any thought to whether your cat’s carrier is safe, should you get into an accident? Do you know which carriers are safe and which aren’t? Do you know what the safest place in the car for your carrier is?

According to the Center for Pet Safety, a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit research and advocacy organization dedicated to companion animal and consumer safety, pet travel carriers can offer distraction prevention, which is important to prevent accidents. However, proper pet passenger restraint is critical for successful crash protection. Carriers that are not structurally sound or have insufficient connection strength can directly affect the safety of the pet, and they place human vehicle occupants at risk of injury, should an accident occur.

In 2015, the Center for Pet Safety performed an independent study of carriers that claim “testing,” “crash testing,” or “crash protection” in their marketing materials. The purpose of the study was to

  • Independently evaluate the current-state travel carrier products and carrier connection products that claim “testing”, “crash testing” or “crash protection.”
  • Examine the safety, structural integrity and crashworthiness of carriers where the manufacturer makes no claims of “testing”, “crash testing” or “crash protection.”
  • Determine top performing carrier brand(s).

CPS does NOT use live animals in their testing. They use crash test dummies that simulate the dimensions, weight proportions and articulations of a feline or canine body.


The study results may surprise you. Most of us would probably think that hard-sided carriers are safest in a crash, right? But that’s not necessarily true.

Top performing carriers

In July of 2016, CPS published the first Crash Test Protocol and Ratings Guidelines for Pet Carriers. The Top Performing Carriers from the study were the Sleepypod Mobile Pet Bed with PPRS Handilock and the PetEgo Jet Set Forma Frame Carrier with ISOFIX Latch Connection. Additionally, later that month Sleepypod voluntarily certified their entire carrier lineup with Center for Pet Safety.

If you’re not in a position to purchase a new carrier right now, Center for Pet Safety Founder Lindsey Wolko has this advice for you: “Don’t use the seatbelt to strap in the carrier. Place plastic carriers and soft-sided carriers on the floor of the vehicle behind the front driver or passenger seats.” Wolko admits that it’s counterintuitive, but the two crash test videos she shared with me, one for a soft-sided carrier (featuring Crash Test Kitty), one for a hard carrier, offer convincing evidence. Warning: even though the videos use crash test dummies, they may be disturbing to watch for some readers.

For more information about the Center for Pet Safety, and to support their important work, please visit their website.


Sleepypod: Safety Matters

Sleepypod understands how important your pets are to you, which is why safety is their top priority. Their Pet Passenger Restraint System (PPRS) is a safety system designed by Sleepypod to secure a pet in a vehicle and restrict harmful movement resulting from a sudden vehicle stop or frontal collision. Every Sleepypod carrier and harness includes PPRS components and features to improve pet passenger safety.

In addition to participating in CPS’s survey, Sleepypod has their own Safety Test Program, which requires that every single one of their products meets the highest standards. All of their tests are performed at accredited testing and research locations.

Sleepypod has recorded multiple auto accidents without injuries to pets using one of its carriers or safety harnesses. All accident information was voluntarily shared with Sleepypod by its customers.

Sleepypod will even replace or offer a replacement discount on any carrier damaged in an accident, regardless of the brand.

For more information about Sleepypod’s carriers, and to purchase, please visit their website.

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