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Make a Cat Carrier out of a Cardboard Box – DIY Cardboard Pet Carrier 

  • 7 min read

A cardboard box as an improvised emergency cat box

The situations in which you are faced with having to transport a cat are diverse and numerous. Perhaps one of the most important and sensible reasons is of course going to the vet. Be it because of a routine examination or because of an illness. For this reason, a cat transport box is definitely part of every cat owner’s basic equipment.

However, there are also situations and moments when an adequate cat box is not available. Be it because your designated box is simply broken, as a new cat owner you haven’t gotten one yet, or you have found a sick animal that urgently needs to be taken to the vet. Now you have to know that very few cats can be carried easily and easily, especially when they are scared or even injured. Transporting a free-roaming cat in the car without a safety device is definitely not recommended for many reasons. The most important reason is the safety of the kitty and of course that of the driver. While driving in the car, unforeseeable situations can arise that cannot end well for both parties. But what do you do if the kitty still needs to be transported immediately and there is no time to buy or rent a cat box?

No cat transport box available? The magic word is improvising!

With a little improvisation, creativity and tips, you can quickly make a temporary cat box out of everyday things. In an emergency, you can’t be picky and can use a simple cardboard box, a laundry basket or a sports bag. Of course, these temporary cat boxes would first have to be made cat-proof. On the one hand, despite this exceptional situation, they should offer enough space and be reasonably comfortable for the animal. And on the other hand, despite all the improvisation, it should be relatively stable and escape-proof. Losing a scared or aggressive cat while out and about is not really recommended.

Scared cat in cardboard box

Tips on how to make a transport box for cats out of everyday objects

The cardboard box or cardboard box

The easiest way to make a replacement box is to use a cardboard box. The answer is simple and easy to implement. Most people probably have a large enough box at home. The most important thing is to find a sufficiently strong and large box. Moving boxes or cardboard boxes in which, for example, electrical devices were stored are usually stable enough with enough space for a normal-sized cat. At best, the cardboard box is made of strong, corrugated cardboard. When it comes to size, ideally there would be a compromise between not too small and not too big. In containers that are too small, the kitty will feel too cramped and can panic, and in containers that are too large, she may fly back and forth during transport. Basically, she should fit comfortably in the box and be able to lie down and stretch out easily. Please remember that this container is only a makeshift measure and should generally only be used once.

A matching lid

In addition to the right size and stability, a box including a lid would of course be perfect. Do you only have a box without a lid? Not a bad thing either, then you’ll have to make yourself another one. A towel or blanket, for example, can be used as a temporary cover. It is best to fix the fabric later with some adhesive tape, a ribbon or rubber rope. Leave a way for easy opening. After all, the kitty still has to go in and out again.

Don’t forget the air holes

Once a suitable lid has been found or made, various air holes must be cut or drilled into the box. To do this, use all sides of the container. But be careful: do not drill the holes too close apart. Cats with sharp claws could potentially tear larger openings in the cardboard if the holes are too close together. Once that’s done, check the soil. It must not give way under the cat’s weight when you lift the box. To test the stability, press the inside of the box lightly to medium-strength with one palm against the bottom of the box. Look to see if any areas are giving way or if a fold is opening. If necessary, stabilize the floor with robust adhesive tape. The usual packaging tape is best suited here. It’s better to stick more once than too little. If the floor gives way when you lift it, it won’t help you at all.

Padding of the box

Next, make sure the makeshift box is comfortable. Pad the box with a soft, comfortable pillow, blanket, or several towels. If it is your cat and not a lost or lost cat, it can also be helpful to use a piece of clothing you are wearing as padding. The familiar smell calms the animal somewhat in this unfamiliar situation. However, keep in mind that the kitty may vomit or urinate due to excitement. Your best clothes would therefore be somewhat inappropriate.

Once this is done, check again whether there are enough air holes . Cut a slightly larger hole at the front. It should be slightly smaller than the cat’s head, but large enough to see well. On the one hand for the animal and on the other hand mainly for you to see what is happening inside. Finally, carefully place the kitty in the cardboard box and close the lid. Don’t forget to secure the lid tightly.

Now you are ready to transport the cat

Last but not least, a tip for carrying the makeshift cat box correctly. Carry the cat box correctly. When lifting and carrying, always support the bottom of the box with your hands from below. It’s best to reach under the box with your arms when carrying it, as you want to avoid the cat flying out of the cardboard box through the soft bottom and then going to the cat. Always hold the cardboard box at its weakest point. But be careful never to completely cover the air holes.

Moving boxes as temporary cat boxes

As a tip, we recommend using sturdy moving boxes. These must be stable and able to carry a certain weight. Ideal for making a makeshift cat transport box out of it. Apart from that, it never hurts to have a few sturdy boxes like this in the house, even if there is no move or emergency transport for the cat.

However, keep in mind that this is only a one-time makeshift box for animals. Under no circumstances can it replace a proper, stable cat transport box made of hard plastic. Of course, the cardboard box is by no means suitable for longer transport or even a trip by plane. If you don’t want to buy a new box, just ask your vet. Maybe he can help you out with a cheap box, perhaps even on loan? The classified ads can also help. It is not uncommon for the used box to be offered cheaply in an advertisement after the death of a beloved companion.

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Hamna Nasir is a dedicated cat lover, avid traveler, and accomplished author. Born and raised in the bustling city of San Francisco, Hamna's education journey led her to Boston where her interests expanded and intersected in unexpected ways. Hamna's ontent explores a multitude of topics, from preparing your cat for its first trip and choosing pet-friendly accommodations to understanding feline behavior in different environments. Her first-hand experiences, love for storytelling, and unwavering commitment to enhancing the bond between cats and their owners have earned her a devoted following. Her insights have been celebrated by pet lovers, adventure enthusiasts, and travel bloggers alike.