Have you always dreamed of taking your cats with you on fun adventures and travels? I did! And it became a reality when I purchased a clear cat backpack, one of the types of cat backpack carriers available nowadays. To choose the right backpack to carry my cats I did a lot of research online and offline, including reading reviews from experts and customers and talking to other cat owners and my veterinarian.
Here, I share with you all that I learned, answer some of the most common questions about cat backpack carriers, and briefly review some of the best and most popular cat backpacks of 2023 for:
- size (including the best cat backpacks for large cats)
- features (including cat backpacks with windows and wheels)
- type of activity (including the best cat backpacks for hiking)
- experts and cat owners’ reviews
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Table of Contents
Are Cat Backpacks Cruel? Or Are Cat Backpacks Good for Cats?
If used as intended, cat backpacks are great for curious cats to explore the outdoors and travel with their owners. When celebs like Nicole Kidman and Taylor Swift admitted to owning one, more people begin questioning: Are cat backpacks bad and a trend to stay away from, or am I missing out on not owning one?
Veterinarians and animal rights activists agree that cat backpacks are good for cats, but not ideal for all cats and all situations in which you might need to carry your cat with you somewhere.
Much like people, each cat has its personality. Not all cats like to stay in a confined space or leave their home sweet home. But those who don’t mind and are more adventurous can use cat backpacks for short trips with their owners.
Are Cat Backpacks Safe?
Cat backpacks are safe when used correctly as intended. Even Elisa Allen, a director at PETA, confirms that using a cat backpack is a totally appropriate option for short trips. Of course, that is, if yours are okay with doing so, as most cats prefer the indoors and their hiding places to a cat backpack with a window.
If you want to purchase a safe cat backpack make sure it respects this checklist:
- Sturdy: you don’t want a cat backpack that falls apart as soon as your cats get their claws out.
- Leash clip: so that your cat can’t run off
- Ventilated: always make sure that your pet is breathing fine and has enough flow of fresh air.
- Size-appropriate: your pet must be comfortable and have enough room.
How to Use a Cat Backpack?
The first time you use your cat travel backpack, only do so for a short time and gather feedback on how your cat reacts. Start wearing it while inside the house. Then, once you feel confident, go outside and take a walk.
Before heading out of the house with your cat carrier backpack, you must think about safety and attach your cat’s harness or leash to the clip found inside your backpack. Adding catnip inside your cat carrier backpack can help reduce your pet’s fear and anxiety. Remember, however, to never be too pushy. Your cats might need more time adjusting to traveling in a cat backpack or might just not like it at all and forcing them could cause them distress and illness.
Use your cat backpack for short trips of less than 6 hours. For longer trips, choose an option that allows your cat more comfort and relief, such as a carrier with space for water and a litter box.
Can You Put a Cat in a Regular Backpack?
Regular backpacks are not cat-friendly and you shouldn’t use one to carry your cat. They lack safety and comfort features and using one might result in hurting your cat. The health of your cats is a number one priority. Only use appropriate travel options to avoid your cats suffering stress, anxiety, discomfort, suffocation, and heat exhaustion.
Do Cat Backpacks Get Hot?
If you wonder if your cats can suffer heat exhaustion even when using a good quality and well-ventilated cat backpack, the answer is yes. Don’t use cat backpacks on very hot days and for a prolonged time, as the heat can be trapped and cause serious distress to your cat. Remember, cat backpacks are safe when used as intended, but bending their use can make them dangerous for your pet.
Are Cat Backpacks Allowed on Planes?
Yes, you can use a cat travel backpack on a plane, as long as it’s TSA-approved. This means that cat backpacks allowed on planes are only those complying with the airline company policies on carry-on size dimensions and pet carriers in general. For example, most airline companies only allow pet carriers that are leak-proof and well-ventilated on at least two sides.
What’s Better: Cat Backpack or Carrier? Cat Backpack or Stroller?
Overall, a cat backpack isn’t better or worse than a cat carrier or a cat stroller. Each of them has a similar but different use, so it’s really a personal choice that depends on your needs. For example, if you want to bring your cat with you on a hike, a cat backpack is definitely the better choice over a cat carrier or cat stroller. But if you plan to travel for over 8 hours, a cat carrier is best. And for a walk in the park with multiple or very large cats, a cat stroller is more adequate.
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What Is the Best Cat Carrier Backpack?
Below are the best backpacks to carry cats that I found in my research. For each, I included a brief review and a link so you can check out pictures and more customer reviews. If you want to make a smart purchase, buy the best backpack for your cat, or cats, and the activities you want to do together.
These are some of the questions you should ask yourself before buying a cat backpack:
- Do you plan to bring your cat backpack hiking, or ONLY use it for lighter activities like walking around your neighborhood?
- Do you have a very large cat or a small or medium size cat? (plan accordingly, cats grow!)
- Would it be useful to have a waterproof backpack or is it better a backpack with wheels or both or none? (no need to overpay for a cat backpack with too many features you don’t need, but it is worth paying a little more if those features are exactly what you are looking for)
- Do you have more than one cat you want to bring along? (you can buy multiple cat backpacks or a backpack for two cats, but all cats are different and I suggest you try with one backpack and see how many of your cats actually like to use it before buying more)
Cat Bubble Backpack
The cat bubble backpack is ideal if you are looking for a cat backpack with a window. I purchased the one from Lollimeow (in the pic above) because it has all the features I was looking for in a cat backpack, such as:
- expandable sides for extra room
- clear window design
- 9 ventilation holes on the front and left and right sides
- leash attachment
- lightweight and can be carried on the front
With thousands of positive customer reviews, another thing to love about this cat bubble backpack is that it comes with a soft mat and blanket so extra comfort for your cat is guaranteed. As for colors available, you can pick between mint green, black, and pink.
If you are looking for a cat bubble backpack with different features or colors than those above, here are other great cat bubble backpacks I suggest:
- Lollimeow cat bubble backpack with an expandable back for even more room
- Henkelion cat bubble backpack carrier available in 7 colors (not expandable)
- Halinfer cat backpack carrier available with expandable sides or expandable back
Cat Dome Backpack
If you want a cat backpack with a window smaller than the one of the cat bubble backpack, then you might like cat dome backpacks. These still allow your cats to take a peak and see what’s going on the outside, but at the same time also give them the choice of privacy and let the feel less exposed.
My friend Maurizio choose a cat dome backpack for his cats because he liked the style but also because his cats have more reserved and private characters. With cats that suffer from anxiety or get scared and nervous pretty easily, the cat dome backpack might be a better choice over other cat backpacks with windows.
Here are the best cat dome backpacks I found:
- Halifer cat dome backpack (the cat backpack with a pokemon pokeball design in the pic above, also available in other colors)
- Halinfer brown cat capsule backpack (also one of the best backpacks for large cats)
- Ginyici waterproof cat travel backpack with removable dome and extra mesh to apply instead
Cat Hiking Backpack
Plan to go hiking with your cats? Remember to put safety first and, besides choosing a well-built and ventilated cat hiking backpack, only go on days when the weather is not too hot. The most important and nice-to-have features to look for in a cat backpack for hiking are:
- stain resistant
- hip belt and sternum strap
- attachment for your cat’s harness
These are the best cat hiking backpacks available on Amazon:
- Kurgo cat carrier backpack for hiking, available in 4 colors
- Petsfit easy-fit cat backpack for hiking, available in 5 colors (in the picture above)
- PetAmi hiking backpack carrier for cats, available in 7 colors
Soft Cat Backpack Carriers
This type of cat travel backpack has soft sides and many models allow you to fold it, so it takes up very little space when not in use. Soft cat backpacks have good ventilation and many of them also have safety and nice-to-have features such as:
- expandable back or sides
- clip to secure your cat’s leash
- anti-scratch mesh
- padded adjustable shoulder straps
- chest buckle
- foldable (not all, but most are)
Here are the best soft cat backpack carriers I found:
- Top tasta cat backpack in canvas and polyester with breathable mesh
- Lekereise expandable cat backpack, foldable, available in 3 sizes and 5 colors (is the one in the pic above)
- Pecute soft foldable cat backpack, expandable and available in 3 colors
- Texsens soft bubble cat backpack with mesh window, foldable and available in 5 colors
Luxury Cat Backpack Carrier (with extra comforts)
Are you looking for a cat backpack with a few extra comforts for your cat? Then check out the PETKIT ventilated cat backpack carrier with an inbuilt fan and light. The fan in this cat backpack needs a power bank to work, hence get one or more if you plan long trips, and don’t forget to charge them.
Other features include:
- a tinted window that keeps out harsh light
- mesh panels and multiple ventilation holes
- side pocket
- a base to prevent tipping
- 6 colors to choose from
Cat Backpacks for Large Cats
Purchasing a cat backpack carrier for a large cat might be a bit frustrating, as most of those sold only fit small and medium size cats. The best tip I can give you if you want to buy a cat backpack for large cats is to know your cat’s measurements and weight. Don’t just buy a large or extra large cat backpack just because it says so in the product name.
Instead, carefully examine the product description and trust the measurements. Also, customers’ reviews often have pictures of cat backpacks with their large cats inside, so you can get an even better idea of how yours will fit. Another option to consider if you want a cat backpack for a large cat is to get a cat backpack carrier for two cats with a removable divider (more about this later).
Here are the best cat backpacks for large cats on Amazon:
- Apollo Walker Carrier Backpack for large cats (pretty great reviews)
- Fat Cat backpack to carry cats hiking and more, available in 4 colors
- Natuvalle 6-in-1 sturdy cat carrier backpack (available in multiple sizes, including one for large cats)
Cat Backpack Carriers for Two Cats
Do you have multiple cats? Fear not, as there are also cat backpack carriers for two cats. Some of them have extra features, such as:
- the ability to transform into a cat carrier with wheels (incredibly useful for frequent travelers)
- removable divider to turn the 2 smaller compartments into 1 bigger one, making it also a perfect cat backpack for large cats
- pockets for extra storage
If you need a backpack to carry two cats at the same time, here are the best ones I found:
- Hovono double-compartment cat carrier backpack (in the pic above, includes a detachable wheel cart)
- Hovono cat backpack for two cats (like the one above but with no wheels)
- Voistino 2-in-1 double cat carrier backpack, available in 3 colors
- Halinfer cat carrier backpack for 2 cats, includes a cat dome and two feeding bowls
Which Of All Cat Backpack Carriers Is Your Favorite?
I told you a lot of useful information and showed you the best backpacks to carry cats that I could find, including my favorite the cat bubble backpack. Now it’s time for you to think about which one you like best and would like to try to bring your cat with you on walks, hikes, and other fun adventures. If there are other backpacks to carry cats that you believe I should include in this article, suggest them in the comments or using the contact form.
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