When transporting one cat I put the carrier on the passenger seat (with the front grill facing me). When transporting both, somebody gets the back seat (with the carrier similarly facing the center of the car). I never gave this much thought until reading a news article about an auto accident that mentioned, in passing, that two cats had died (no further details). That got me wondering about safe transport.

Carriers, being not people-shaped, don't interact well with the seatbelts in my car. Should I be doing something to "belt in" the carriers, and if so what? Or should I be thinking of doing something to the carriers themselves (what?) to reduce damage to the cat if a carrier were to go flying? Would the passenger airbag deploying be a good thing or a bad thing? Would everybody be better off if I put the carriers in the hatchback of my Honda Fit instead of on seats?


2 Answers 2


When transporting cats in carriers, I always put the crates in the back seat of the car and run the seat belt through the handle on the top and around the side of the crate. Like with children, the back seat is safest for cats and other pets, not only physically in event of a crash, but also limiting distraction to the driver (as when I have the crate in the front seat I often look over and talk to my cat).

I would think that the airbag deploying on a crate wouldn't be a good thing since it deploys with enough force to break bones in a human, and could potentially crush the crate. Putting the crates on in the hatchback wouldn't be optimal, since the crates could slide around and tumble in event of a crash since they aren't secured by anything. Belting the crates with the seat-belt as explained above would be the best bet to reduce the risk to your furry friends.

cat carrier with seatbelt slot

Many dog and cat carriers have a slot for seatbelt on both sides of carrier topside.

  • 1
    +1, back seat with seatbelt around the carrier is what I do with my cats (And I actually have a fit as well). Commented Oct 11, 2013 at 16:37
  • Thanks. How do you get the seatbelt through the handle of the carrier? In all cars I've been in in the last decade+, the harness and lap belt are integrated. Commented Oct 13, 2013 at 17:18
  • You should be able to take the buckle and run that, with the belt following, through the handle on the top of the crate. It works best if the crate is facing forward. Commented Oct 13, 2013 at 17:34
  • I hope you don't mind me adding a photo into your answer. Commented Dec 12, 2013 at 8:09
  • Not at all! So that small gap on the top front (as we're viewing it) is where the belt goes? I haven't seen that in a carrier before; will look for that. (I've had no luck getting the seatbelt to work usefully with my current plastic carrier.) Commented Dec 12, 2013 at 14:23

Even when the cage is secured to the car, the cat is not secured inside the cage.

This means that even though the crate will not move (in relation to the car) the cat will still hit the inside of the crate in the event of an accident. For a similar reason, this is how whiplash is caused in people, where the body is secure but the head is not.

I don't think that there is a great solution to this problem, cars are designed (as you mention) for the safety of people in mind.

Keeping the size of the crate as close a fit as possible to the cat's size will help.

  • True, but having the crate move and then hit something is bound to be worse than securing it in place, I believe. Commented Dec 12, 2013 at 18:01
  • Yes, you're right. This was just to point out that cars are not safe places for a cat in the event of an accident.
    – Chris
    Commented Dec 12, 2013 at 19:19

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