Published by: Ingrid King. Last Updated on: November 1, 2022 by Crystal Uys
It’s hard enough to get most cats into the carrier to take them to the vet, but have you 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?
The Center for Pet Safety addresses all these questions and more. They are a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit research and advocacy organization dedicated to companion animal and consumer safety. Currently, their focus is on Pet Travel Safety. Using scientific testing and Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard specifications, they study pet products and establish criteria and test protocols to measure whether pet safety products provide the protection claimed by advocates and intended by the manufacturer.
How Crash Test Kitty helps test cat carrier safety
Before you read any further, let me state that 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. Crash Test Kitty is their newest team member and has been testing carriers since 2015.
Crash Test Kitty helps CPS conduct rigorous crash testing on commonly available cat carriers. You can find the results of their 2015 study here.
Top performing 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. In July of 2016, CPS published the first Crash Test Protocol and Ratings Guidelines for Pet Carriers. Additionally, later that month Sleepypod voluntarily certified their entire carrier lineup with Center for Pet Safety: You can now look for the CPS logo on products that meet their rigorous testing and performance requirements.
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.
Ingrid King is an award-winning author, former veterinary hospital manager, and veterinary journalist who is passionate about cats.