As a note, I really did look online at all the carriers available. However, all the ones I found were still technically too tall for the airline requirements and were much smaller in side dimensions than they needed to be. Some included fold open sides that would help, but none included storage as well. So with a wealth of nice material on hand and some zippers snatched out of broken suitcases, I figured I should at least have a go at making something.
Of course, about 90% of the way through the project, I figured out how I should have done it. It would have been a million times easier and turned out looking a bit more professional as well... but no going back now, and it looks acceptably nice, if I do say so myself.
Besides fitting in airline regs and containing storage, one of the big deals is that the whole carrier unzips and folds down to a very small package.
So... let's start with it all folded up....... small.....
It can also keep the storage full and fold down mostly, which I think will be nice during the upcoming car trip on the way home from flying out to drive back with hubby from Virginia. This way I can keep his things in the storage, but fold down the rest while he is in the passenger's lap.
In the storage currently is Mowzer's travel food and water dish and an extra puppy-pad, his fold-up travel litter box and a litter scoop, toys and extras like paw-balm, etc.
The dividers of the storage area are done with velcro tabs so they can be moved around when needed. Which is good since I moved them at least a dozen times when deciding what to pack in and how to pack it.
Then comes the actual cat carrier part. After folding out the sidewalls, a zipper goes around the back and the front... or is that top and bottom?
Mowzer already approves of it as a hammock bed.
But he is more interested in trying to fit into the storage area...
The carrier will lay this way under the seat of a plane... or in the car seat... (straps from the top or bottom can wrap around the car seat to secure the carrier)
The back/bottom of the carrier has corner straps and clamps on the inside that can hold a puppy-pad firmly in place.
The gray zipper at the edge of the mesh zips open so I can put my hand into Mowzer's area without opening the front of the carrier. The area behind the closure is backed with a length of material so the smart little guy can't work it open with his nose like he did with an over-sized soft carrier I have been using previously.
When on the move the carrier stands up on the storage area and can be attached to a rolling suitcase...
The roller brace/band also has a zip compartment perfect for paperwork and shot records, etc.
Mowzer is a little dubious about this position, but it is fairly stable and still relatively comfortable.
In addition to the top handle and suitcase strap, it also can be worn as a backpack. And the carrier has a handle at the top to move it around this way, too.
I added a little ring on the front/top to be able to tie Mowzer's favorite chew stick or other toys to. When in the car, he has a little strap to the passenger door and gets to sit on top of the carrier, so having a toy or chewy gives him something to do when he gets bored looking out the windows.
So.... is it serious over-kill for something as simple as a cat carrier? Of course! But everyone knows by now that I don't do things in half measures. Right?