May 132019

Hi everyone. Island Cat mom here. My cats don’t travel much. Most of their traveling is to the veterinarian which I’m sure they would like to avoid if they could. But when they do go anywhere, it’s always in the safe confines of a pet carrier…or how the cats refer to it…the PTU…the prisoner transport unit. But no cat should feel like a prisoner in their carrier. That’s why it’s important to find one that they feel comfortable and safe in.

Recently, we had the opportunity to try out a new pet carrier from Smiling Paws Pets.

Smiling Paws Pets expandable pet carrier

The Smiling Paws Pets carrier is a soft-sided pet carrier that can be expanded out on all 4 sides to give your pet more space and comfort. It’s recommended that a pet carrier be big enough for a pet to be able to stand up in and turn around. For a small cat like Zoey who weighs around 8 lbs, the Smiling Paws Pets carrier, unexpanded, is a good size. However, for Ernie, who weighs almost 14 lbs, it is a little too small. But when I expand the back end of it, there’s plenty of room for him.

Smiling Paws Pets expandable carrier

That’s what makes the Smiling Paws Pets carrier so unique. It can be adjusted to fit almost every cat or small dog.

Smiling Paws Pets expandable carrier
Smiling Paws Pets carrier expands on all four sides

Not expanded, the carrier measures 17”x11”x9”. When totally expanded on all four sides, it measures 34”x25”x9”, giving your pet a lot more room and helping to reduce their anxiety and discomfort.

In addition to expanding, here are some other great features of this pet carrier:

It’s extremely well made. I found every inch of this carrier to be reinforced so that even the most rambunctious pet can’t escape. It uses high grade rotating metal clips and safety self-locking zippers to prevent the doors from accidentally becoming unzipped. There’s a leash on the inside that can be attached to your pet’s collar for added security.

It’s a soft-sided carrier, but unlike some other soft-sided carriers, it has a metal frame so it keeps its shape. I previously had a soft-sided carrier that wasn’t framed, and my biggest complaint about it was that the top of it would cave in. It didn’t keep its shape even with a cat inside. But that won’t happen with the Smiling Paws Pets carrier.

Smiling Paws Pets expandable pet carrier
Some of the features of the Smiling Paws Pets Carrier

It opens on top. I know all you cat parents at some point have struggled to get your cat into the carrier through its front door, right? With an opening on top, this carrier makes it so much easier to get your cat into it. In fact, I won’t use a carrier unless it has an opening on top.

The inside fabric is laminated and leak-proof in case of “accidents.” The soft pad that is included can be removed for washing. This should come in handy if you have a cat like Ernie who has been known to pee in the carrier (don’t tell him I told you that).

It has a sleeve on the side so you can easily attach a luggage handle or a car seat belt. It also comes with a removable shoulder strap.

There are side pockets for storing personal items or treats. Of course, the cats prefer the pockets to be filled with treats.

It’s airline approved. This pet carrier meets all TSA and IATA requirements and is sized to be able to fit under in-cabin seats. I’ve never flown with my cats but if I ever did, I would never allow them to travel in cargo…always in cabin…so a carrier like this is necessary.

When not in use, it can be folded up and stored in the storage case that comes with it.

Smiling Paws Pets expandable pet carrier

But here’s a little tip. Do your cats run the other way when they see the carrier come out? If you want your cats to become less afraid of the carrier, leave it permanently out with the door open. By leaving the carrier out, they become more comfortable with being around it, realizing that it’s not a scary thing. I leave our carriers out all the time, and it’s not unusual for me to find either Ernie or Zoey sitting…or even sleeping…in one.

The Smiling Paws Pets carrier comes with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If for any reason you’re not happy with it, Smiling Paws Pets will do whatever it takes to make you happy.

I found this pet carrier to be exceptional both in design and function…and I’m confident that my cats will be safe, secure and…most of all…comfortable when using it.

Smiling Paws Pets logo

The Smiling Paws Pets expandable pet carrier is only available on Amazon. Right now, you can get 25% off of your purchase by using this discount code: 4L8BYUDV. This discount is good through June 15, 2019. Click HERE for more information.

Disclosure:  We received the Smiling Paws Pets expandable pet carrier for free when we agreed to do this review, but that did not influence our opinion at all. We will always give a fair and honest review, and will only share information that we feel is relevant to our readers.

  37 Responses to “Smiling Paws Pets Expandable Soft-Sided Pet Carrier”

  1. That sure looks nice, I really do like the soft carriers better!

  2. That sure looks like a great carrier. It sure looks comfy for the kitties. Great review. And Ernie, you look very comfy in there.

  3. That’s a nice carrier!

    The Florida Furkids

  4. Looks great! I’ve shied away from soft carriers because the ‘screen’ portions look like a panicked cat could rip right through them. Do you have any info on the strength of those screens?

    • This carrier is very well made and the screens are very strong. We can’t imagine a cat could rip through them.

    • Hi Catmom!

      That is actually a very genuine question and truth to be told; it depends on. Most ‘mesh’ windows are either made from a plastic/rubber material formed in a mould tray OR from thin cotton threads. These kinds can indeed be scratched opened fairly easily and will also deteriorate over time.

      The mesh on our carrier is specifically made for this purpose. The polyester fibers are reinforced into three layers making it practically impossible to scratch through. Here is a close-up photo which I hope will explain it better .

      Hope that helps 🙂


  5. looks like a great carrier, although similarly the only times the boyz take trips are the trips to the vet so i could buy them the taj mahal of carriers and they’d still hate it.

  6. Ernie, Angel loves to nap in her Smiling Paws expandable pet carrier, but we haven’t yet had to use it as a carrier! It looks like a cat palace!

  7. WOW! That’s like the Cadillac of carriers if you ask me, Ernie! And it matches your furs so well. Checked it out on Amazon and it is priced very affordably.

  8. Love this and if they will get in it because it’s a comfy place to nap and hide even better.

    I linked this post to Awww Mondays.

    Have a fabulous day and week. ♥

  9. Very useful review of the soft sided cat carrier!

  10. That is a cool carrier, I like how it expands.

  11. What a pawsome product ! That PTU looks great ! Purrs

  12. Wow, this sounds like a great carrier! The last one we got for Sam had the top opening too, and you’re right….I would never go back to one without that.
    What a great idea to leave it out all the time!!

  13. That is a pretty cool idea. The top loading is also a good feature.

  14. Have one and works well ~ Love the photo of the black kitty with the awesome eyes ~

    Happy Day to you,
    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor)

  15. Great review. We are reviewing the PTU tomorrow. We are really impressed by the design. You’re looking great, Ernie. XOCK, angel Lily Olivia, Mauricio, Misty May, Giulietta, angel Fiona, Astrid, Lisbeth, Calista Jo, Cooper Murphy and Sawyer

  16. That is a really great carrier. We have 6 carriers and Dad does put them out the week before our trips to the vet in fact one is out now. Hmmm I wonder who is going next?

  17. Sure looks like Ernie is enjoying it!

  18. Pawsum review. Looks like a great carrier. Big hugs

    Luv ya’

    Dezi and Raena

  19. Mama just bought me one and I LOVE it.

  20. We’ve seen a couple of reviews of this carrier and it seems it’s a BIG HIT all around.

    Hugs, Teddy

  21. Looks awesome. Getting the right carrier for your pet is essential.

  22. This looks wonderful- my only worry would be that Amarula- who pees almost every time I take her to the vet- would pee and I would not be able to get the smell out of a fabric carrier. Otherwise it looks great and I love that there is a metal frame!

    • The fabric is laminated so urine won’t soak into it and it’s much easier to clean. Ernie pees in the carrier, too. One trick that I’ve learned, even with hard-sided carriers, is to put a puppy pee pad in the bottom to soak up any “accidents.”

  23. Whoa! I can’t wait for mine to arrive—not that I’m a world-class traveler! Such a nice product.

  24. That is really cool. And some of us around here need more room to expand than others 😉

  25. Jenna will sleep in her carrier at home, but lock her in it and she’ll sing the song of her people all the way to the vet!

  26. Great review! We just got ours yesterday and will be reviewing it shortly, too! The kitties can’t wait.

  27. Ellie was intrigued by our Smiling Paws carrier until the very moment she got shoved inside for her yearly vet visit! To make sure Ellie’d be safe, I asked the vet about the expired Revolution and he said go ahead. Thank you for that! I haven’t heard back on the results from her stool sample – but I feel better treating her with this just in case.

  28. That looks like an awesome carrier, Ernie. We haven’t ever had to travel on a plane, but if we did, we’d want Mom and Dad to transport us in those. – Gracie and Ava

  29. That really looks like and awesome carrier, now go and give Ernie a special treat for revealing his knack for peeing in the carrier.

  30. I didn’t know I could pee in a carrier, thanks for letting me know, Ernie….MOL 😀 This carrier looks pawsome. Pawkisses for a Happy Wednesday 🙂 <3

  31. That carrier looks great, but our trip to the vet is only 5 minutes, so TBT says he will keep the ones we have. But he DID add carpet to them, so the sitting is nicer…

  32. Traveling is fun and relaxing especially when you are with your favorite pet. And such products are best made for such hobbies.

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