Backpacks for cats were cool long before T-Swift was seen carrying Olivia Benson in a bubble window space capsule. How do we know this, you ask? Because we’ve been using them when we travel with Oscar and Joey for a year or two already. And with people planning their summer getaways, we thought it would be the perfect opportunity to review five of the best cat backpacks currently available.
To help you decide on the right for you and your cat, we have also included a buying guide. And there is even a little bonus section with tips on how to get your cat used to being in a backpack.
Our Top 5 Cat Backpack Picks
Overall Winner – The Best Pet Carrier Backpack
If you are looking for a cat backpack that successfully combines form, function, and innovation, then you will definitely appreciate the Gen7Pets Geometric Roller with Smart-Level Dog & Cat Carrier Backpack. What makes this brand truly special is its products – people who genuinely love their pets, creating products that pets genuinely love. And with a strong focus on safety, convenience, and comfort, you can rest assured your pet will be as safe as he will be comfortable.
The roller-cum-carrier has padded shoulder straps that are neatly tucked away, and it features a Smart-Level Platform that stops it from toppling over. Mesh windows provide your kitty with plenty of ventilation, and the Smart-Comfort pads make for a smooth and comfortable ride. We especially like the convenient side pockets where you can store essentials like treats, toys, and clippers for easy access. And it has both front and top entry points.
The cat backpack is available in sizes medium and large and can hold cats that weigh between 10 and 20 pounds. Just something to be aware of, the medium-sized bag meets most airline regulations. However, to avoid any problems at check-in, it’s worth confirming with the airline first.
What we like:
What we don't like:
Best 4-In-One Pet Carrier Backpack
The Roll Around 4-in-1 Travel Dog & Cat Carrier Backpack from Snoozer Pet Products can be used as a backpack, a car seat, a carrier with wheels, and a bed. It is available in red, khaki, and grey, and there are two sizes to choose from. With a weight capacity of 30 pounds and the option to pull it, wear it as a backpack, use it as a car seat or a bed makes it one of the most versatile carriers for cats,
A safety hook on the inside of the bag attaches to your cat’s harness, which stops him from making a run for it as soon as you open it, and it is quick and easy to buckle into the car seat. The Snoozer Roll Around is also perfect for traveling on a plane. All you need to do is remove the base from inside the carrier, and lie it down in a horizontal position.
There is a lot to like about this backpack, but there are a few niggles. If you are DIY-challenged, you might not enjoy the assembly required to put it together. You also need to pay attention to the removable base – some reviews mention that this can come off if it hasn’t been appropriately secured.
What we like:
What we don't like:
Best Cat Backpack on a Budget
The five-in-one Pet Gear I-GO2 Escort Dog & Cat Backpack & Rolling Carrier offers cat parents a versatile, comfortable, and safe option when traveling with their pet. And best of all, it is really affordable. The cat backpack-cum-carrier-cum-tote-car seat-cum-roller bag makes a quick outing, hike, or flight an absolute pleasure, and it includes some really nifty little extras.
The bag has a weight capacity of 15 pounds, so it is suitable for smaller cats. And if you’ve got a fat cat, you’ll appreciate the extendable sides that provide an additional 3 inches of space. For your pet’s safety, there is a tether that can be attached to your kitty’s harness. And for convenience and comfort, it includes storage pockets on the sides, an easy to clean removable pad, and mesh insets with plenty of ventilation holes for your seasoned traveler.
The only negative is that the wheels tend to dig into your back when you are using it as a rucksack, but with everything else the bag offers, it’s definitely not a dealbreaker. This is a great cat backpack that is affordable, versatile, and made with your cat’s safety in mind.
What we like:
What we don't like:
Best Backpack Option for Small Cats
Another option for smaller cats is the KOPEKS Deluxe Travel Airline-Approved Dog & Cat Carrier Backpack. It is made with oxford cloth and is designed with your paw-senger’s comfort in mind. Three mesh panels provide plenty of fresh air, and your cat can watch the world go by from the sides and front of the bag. The two-wheeled platform allows for easy maneuvering, so whether you are rolling it, using it as a backpack or carrying it in one hand, it makes traveling with your pet a cinch.
The airline-approved bag has a weight capacity of 9 pounds and fits perfectly under airplane seats. However, we always suggest that you check with the airline carrier for any baggage restrictions they might have. Also, while this backpack-carrier combo is well-made and durable, it is not recommended for cats (or dogs) that like to chew their way out of situations.
What we like:
What we don't like:
Best Choice for Style Conscious Cat Owners
The Kurgo K9 Dog & Cat Carrier Backpack doesn’t come cheap, but it is one of the best carriers for cats currently available. It has a weight capacity of 25 pounds, with plenty of room for your pet to move around. The interior is super comfy with removable padding for easy cleaning, and there is a pocket inside where you can safely store your tablet or laptop.
Features we really like include the waterproof base that keeps your cat comfortable and dry regardless of the weather and the zip-down top mesh and roll-top buckles. This is especially handy if your cat is nervous and prefers being covered while traveling. And don’t worry about fresh air. Air holes at the back of the carrier provide plenty of ventilation.
The swivel tether inside the backpack is an added safety feature that lets your cat enjoy the sights and sounds securely, whether he’s traveling with his head in, or outside the bag. If your pet’s well-being is top of mind, and budget isn’t too much of a concern, this is an excellent choice.
What we like:
What we don't like:
Cat Backpack Buying Guide: What You Need to Know When Choosing a Carrier for Your Cat
Finding a cat backpack isn’t difficult; after all, there are hundreds to choose from. What does become problematic and a bit of a head-scratcher is knowing which one is best for you and your cat’s needs.
The type of bag you choose will very much depend on how confident your pet is traveling, whether he is fine with confined spaces, and how he likes to be carried. For you, things like maneuverability, safety, and ease of use and cleaning are essential things to consider. And of course, how much you are willing and able to spend.
Let’s take a look at the key features you need to keep in mind when deciding on the best backpack for your cat.
Bearing in mind that you are going to be traveling or walking long distances with the carrier on your back, you need to make sure it is comfortable for you. Padded shoulder straps are a must, and a chest strap ensures the weight of the bag and cat are distributed evenly. This, while a small detail, will protect your back.
Keep in mind that some bags are only comfortable for quick trips around town, and not suitable for long walks or hikes. Feedback on some backpack-roller combos is that the wheels start digging into your back, or they are just too heavy to carry around. Let’s face it, if the carrier isn’t comfortable, you aren’t going to be all that keen on using it.
Comfort is also crucial for your kitty, so we recommend backpacks and carriers with sufficient ventilation holes. Even on cool days, your cat can quickly overheat in a confined space, so it is worth getting a backpack with mesh panels, and that is made with a breathable fabric. A mesh window will also allow your cat to enjoy the views from the comfort of his carrier. Talking about mesh, if your cat is a clawer or chewer, check that the mesh is strong enough to keep him contained.
The whole point of getting out and about with your cat is for you both to enjoy the surroundings. Bubble window backpacks, semi-sphere window backpacks, and those with mesh panels provide good visibility for your kitty when he is on the move. We personally prefer cat backpacks with mesh, as this allows for more airflow.
When you are spending your hard-earned money on a backpack, you want to be sure it will last. Depending on how often you use it, you want a backpack that can withstand general wear and tear and feisty felines who scratch, claw and chew. All of the products we have reviewed are durable, so you can rest assured your purchase will be a long-term investment.
Extra storage is always handy. Whether for your phone, your kitty’s toys, treats, or harness, it is convenient to have space to keep your items safe and in one place when you are traveling or hiking.
From a safety point of view, look for backpacks with hooks inside where you can attach your cat’s harness or leash. Also, bags that can be used as car seats, carriers, backpacks, and beds are especially handy, and definitely worth the cost if you and your cat travel together often.
Getting Your Cat Used To a Backpack Carrier
You checked out our reviews, used the buying guide, and decided on the perfect cat backpack. But now you are wondering how the heck you are going to get your furry pal used to it. Cats don’t like change, and being carried around on your back will definitely be something your kitty hasn’t experienced before.
Take a look at our handy tips that won’t only get your cat used to cat backpack, but will actually make him love it and think of it as his new happy place.
1. Let your cat open the bag with you
First things first, when the parcel arrives, let your cat open it with you. Give him ample opportunity to sniff, prod, and paw at it. Leave it open and in a room that your cat regularly uses so that he can interact with the bag.
2. Use tasty treats and toys to tempt your cat into the backpack
It is a good idea to let your cat play with the backpack. Let him run in and out of it and jump over it. Entice him into the bag with his favorite toys and treats. You could even place his food bowl in it while he eats. This will help him build positive associations with the backpack.
3. Don’t force your cat inside the bag
Patience is what it is all about, so the last thing you want to do is force your cat into the backpack. And don’t make the first outing an unpleasant one, like a trip to the vet. Trust us, he will never go anywhere near it again.
4. Carry your cat around the house in the backpack
As soon as your kitty’s comfortable inside the bag, you can start closing it a little bit at a time. While doing this, play with him and give him loads of praise and treats if necessary. You will know when it is time to actually try to carry him in the backpack. Start slowly, with the bag on your front and and walk around the house. When he is ready, you can move the carrier to your back.
5. Keep the outings short at first
When you venture outside the first few times, keep the trips short and stay in controlled areas. This way, your cat won’t be overwhelmed with too much stimulation. Keep treats close by and remember to use plenty of praise. You might want to take a friend or family member along with you to walk at the back with your kitty. A familiar face will make him feel a lot more comfortable.
6. Follow your cat’s lead
Some cats, no matter how hard you try, won’t like being closed up in a backpack. It is worth trying a backpack with a top entry zip and safety hook.This will ensure your cat is secure inside the bag, even if he prefers traveling with his head sticking out.
7. Let your cat use the backpack as his safe space
It is worth creating a safe space inside the backpack when you are out and about with your kitty. Use one of his favorite blankets or towels inside the bag, and allow him to use it as a retreat when he is tired, skittish, or grumpy. And while we are on the subject of safety, always make sure your cat’s harness is attached to the tether inside the bag.
Our reviews and buying guide will help you make an informed decision when choosing a cat backpack, but you will still need to put in some time to make sure you get the best one for your furry travel companion. And then there is the process of getting him used to it. But a little patience along with plenty of treats and praise will pay off the end. As soon as your kitty realizes the backpack equals outdoor adventures with his favorite human, you’ll be hard-pressed to keep him out of it.
Have you got any photos of you and your cat enjoying walks in his backpack? Maybe you’ve got a carrier that you think is worth mentioning? Let us know in the comments below.