You might have seen a cat backpack on social media and wondered, do they actually work, and do cats even like them?
Well, believe it or not, some cat’s do like getting out amongst nature with their owners and will tolerate or even enjoy being in a cat backpack.
In this article, I’ll cover what exactly is a cat backpack and what goes into making them. You’ll get the chance to find out which breeds prefer going on adventures and you’ll get a grasp on what cat backpack would best suit you and your cat’s needs.
Before I get into the article, here are my top picks for the best cat backpacks in 2019.
A cat backpack is as it sounds, a backpack for cats. Okay, I know that’s not the most definitive answer so I’ll go into a little more detail. A cat backpack has been specifically designed to carry your beloved kitty around with you in as much comfort and safety as possible.
They will typically have plenty of ventilation holes to make sure enough oxygen flows through the bag, a viewing window or two so kitty can keep a keen eye on all the birds and a stiffer bottom for support.
While it’s true some cat owners have noted that their cat is more than happy to sit in their traditional hiking day bags, it must be noted that they might not have the best air ventilation and your cat would not be able to see the outside world causing potential stress.
Before you rush out to buy the cutest backpack you can find there are a few things to consider to make sure you’re picking purr-fect one for you and your cat.
Decide If It Suits You And Your Cat
What I mean is, do you really need one, and if you do get one will your cat be comfortable confined inside a backpack and venturing outdoors.
A good way to determine if your cat will enjoy being in the backpack is of course to do a trial run inside your home using a traditional backpack. You can leave the bag in the room and allow them to explore it on their own, you might find kitty hops right in.
Certain breeds of cats are more suited to the outdoors than others, to give an example Maine Coons and Norwegian Forest Cats have been known to love exploring the outdoors. It’s also a good idea to use a cat harness whenever you’re both exploring, for obvious reasons.
The common Striped Tabby however, may be comfortable exploring your backyard but when it comes to the big outdoors might get a little intimidated, therefore please consider if your cat will truly enjoy your adventures with you.
Like other fashion items, the quality of materials used should play a big part when deciding which backpack to go for. I’ve found a high grade polyester style is best, they are super durable and lightweight.
Check the areas where the backpack will get the most wear, typically the bottom and sides. If they have some sort of extra protection in the form of plastic coverings consider that an added bonus.
Finally, check the material used over the shoulder straps and the internal lining, remember cats can make a mess and the ability to clean the bag is essential.
Can It Fit More Than One Cat?
I’ve got bad news for those of you with two adventure cats. At present there isn’t a good backpack designed for two cats.
You might have to resort to a cat carrier style of bag, now I already know that’s not ideal but honestly two cats in one backpack is also less than ideal. They’d be totally uncomfortable and your back would be under a lot of stress.
Will Your Cat Even Like It?
The best way to determine if Felix will enjoy the backpack is of course to test run with one. If your cat already enjoys sitting in boxes, that’s a good sign.
Another great way is to observe their behavior. If your cat is a little feisty, consider the one way in one way out style of backpacks might present a problem. The same Houdini cat that can escape the cat carrier, may also figure out the zipper on a backpack.
Check to see the bag has the ability to secure a harness within the backpack. If your cats inner wild child shows it could spell disaster.
Comfort And Airflow
Often overlooked, it’s an integral part of any great backpack. A bag should have a well ventilated design allowing for maximum airflow. I prefer bags that have zip up mesh covered windows over small cut out circles.
Look for a bag that has a two way entry design for easy access. Plenty of head space should be a priority, making sure your cat has a view of what’s going on in the outside world. The base support on the bag should be firm, if the bag includes some internal padding that’s a bonus.
For us, the wearer, all straps and handles should be thick and padded. Look for bags that include waist and chest straps for added comfort on long trips. Speaking of long trips, you’ll need some storage compartments for cat supplies.
Airline Friendly Cat Backpack
While most cat backpacks will be a suitable size for airline travel, it’s worth double checking that the bag you choose is airline friendly.
The PetAmi Premium is a great example of an airline friendly backpack, your cat will love it too.
I’m not bringing a new meaning to cat burglary, I’m actually talking about the security of your cat while in the bag.
For safety you’ll want the ability to secure your cat within the bag using a harness clip or leash clip. Look for locking zippers and where possible a strap that goes over the opening compartments. You don’t want to be the one to let the cat out of the bag.
You’ve purchased the perfect bag, packed your things ready for the big adventure but there’s a problem. Hercules won’t go into the cat backpack, and when you put him in there he won’t stay. It’s can be difficult to train cats, so how can you help coax your cat into using the cat backpack?
Try leaving the bag wide open near your cat’s play area. Over time curiosity will usually get the better of them and they’ll explore the bag. Once they are familiar with it slowly but surely continue to sit them inside until they are comfortable.
You can also try some catnip to entice them to hop on in and have a great time. A favorite toy is also a good idea.
Use food! Every time kitty jumps into the bag reward them with food, cats respond better to positive reinforcement and what better than getting a treat just for sitting in a backpack.
Before you head out into the wilderness, do a few practice runs in your local park or backyard. If their first time out in the backpack they have a bad experience, they’ll then be less likely to hop back in.
Here are my top picks for the best cat backpacks, I’ve included a few different styles to consider.
The PetAmi cat backpack is made with durable 600D high grade polyester, meaning rips should be a thing of the past. It also is available in 7 different colors, yes that’s one for every day of the week.
The bag measures in at 11.5 inches in width, 9 inches in depth and 16 inches in height, making this more suitable to small to medium sized cats up to 8 pounds. If you have a large cat such as a Maine coon this isn’t the bag for you. But don’t worry PetAmi make a bigger backpack, more on that later.
The airflow of this backpack is really good, it has large mesh covered windows that can be zipped open and closed. Internally it features a sherpa lined bed to keep Felix happy when sitting or laying on those long trips.
Storage with this bag is adequate, but could be better. That said it does offer a free collapsible water/food bowl. The mesh side pockets are open on the top so security could be an issue.
You won’t have trouble wearing this bag as the shoulder straps are padded. It includes waist straps as well as chest straps, but features no padding for these.
- Great airflow
- Comfortable for both you and kitty
- Suitable only for small to medium cats.
- 8 pound carrying capacity
- One entry and exit point
The Lemonda is made of selected canvas, high density acrylic material. The space capsule design took social media by storm, people rushed to buy it because of its cuteness. But, does that mean it’s any good.
The bag is 12.6 inches in length, 11.5 inches in width and 16.5 inches in height. The Carrier Weighs in at 2.7 pounds and can hold a cat up to 14 pounds.
A velvet pad, bubble window and mesh window all come with the bag on purchase. The manufacturer mentions the bag has a protective film that needs to be removed before use, so don’t forget to do so.
That’s the hard facts covered on the bag, so finally to the point, do I think it’s any good? Short answer is not really. I find the minimal ventilation holes, and the bubble window to be uncomfortable for my cat. I’m worried this bag is more of a gimmick than an actual travel backpack.
While it does look kind of cool, its functionality is nowhere near its rivals, storage is nonexistent outside the bag, and users report it’s not very comfortable to wear. Be wary when considering this bag for you and your cat.
- Looks cute
- Fit’s large cats
- Rigid case
- Basic functionality
- More of a cat carrier than a travel backpack
Don’t let the name fool you, this is not another one of those “bubble” backpacks. The 3 sided PCV mesh bag allows for maximum airflow and viewing capabilities.
It measures in at 13.1 inches in length, 12.6 inches in width and16.7inches in height. This makes it suitable for small to medium sized cats. If you want to measure your cat to make sure they fit, measure them from the neck to the base of the tail to get an idea if they will fit.
The bag offers side pockets that have the ability to zip open and close for pet supply storage. They include a firmer base pad to allow stability throughout the bag, while maintaining comfortability.
Shoulder and chest straps are adequate, but not the best in class. What I like about the bag is the ability for two entry points, up top and on the side. So if you have a cat that typically struggles to climb in from up to, simply open up the side and have them walk in.
While not a fully fledged hiking style of cat backpack, it’s still a good segway into the great outdoors. I would say for the money you pay there could be a more suitable option.
- Great Ventilation
- Two points of entry
- Not the best for hiking
The larger of the two PetAmi bags on this list. It’s Made from durable 600D high grade polyester for a long-lasting experience; Available in 9 Colors – Black, Dark Gray, Heather Gray, Heather Taupe, Light Blue, Light Gray, Pink, Royal Blue, Red. If you didn’t know what color Heather Taupe, me neither!
At 12.5 inches in length, 10.2 inches in width and 16.3 inches in height, it’s slightly larger than it’s litter brother the PetAmi Premium. It will carry medium sized cats with ease and can even be considered for larger cats. As always it’s best to measure before making the purchase.
Wearing the backpack should be comfortable enough for those lengthy hikes, shoulder straps are nicely padded, and the bag comes with necessary waist and chest straps for added stability. Plenty of airflow is made possible via the mesh windows on all sides, and when kitty needs a break they have two choices of entry and exits.
A firm bast structure with the sherpa lined bed base, free water/food bowl and good storage pockets with a front zipper pocket, make this a top choice for most hikers and travelers.
- Great Design
- Suitable to hikers and travelers
- Fits medium to larger breeds. Make sure to measure your cat first.
- Multiple entry and exit points
- Only one zipped storage pocket
The Texen Traveler backpack is sure to turn heads. I’m not the biggest fan of bubble backpacks for travel, but this one could be the exception.
The airline friendly Texens Medium backpack measures in at 12.9″L x 9.1″W x 15.7″H, while its larger backpack, the Texens Large measures in at a whopping 13.4″L x 9.8″W x 17.3″H.
Ventilation is plenty, there are 6 holes in total on the front of the bag, and another 3 holes per side totaling 12 holes. Along with that, there are mesh openings on either side. The front bubble is removable, and a mesh covering can be put in place to further improve airflow on those extra hot days.
You get adjustable padded shoulder straps, and a padded carry handle on top of the bag for comfort. It’s worth noting that the bag doesn’t have any waist straps, I find this a bit of a let down as it’s able to carry larger cats and the support could really be useful, shame really.
To round out the bag you get metal zippers, multiple entry and exit points for your cat and a base support sturdy enough to hold up to 13 pounds of cat, with the bag itself weighing 4 pounds.
For a bubble backpack it does a good job, however, I can’t see many people using it for hikes as there is next to no storage. Finally the lack of waist straps means lugging it up those mountains will likely be a challenge.
- Looks good
- Suitable for large cats up to 13 pounds
- Strong build quality
- Airline friendly
- Lack of storage
- Not hiker friendly
I thought I’d include this bag for one reason, it’s Huge with a capital H! It measures in at 11.5″ (L) 10″(W) 16.5″ (H).
This bag is not very well known but perhaps should be. It’s a soft sided bag made from eco-friendly polyester. If you have a large cat breed and struggling to find a backpack big enough, this could be the one.
Capable of holding up to 18 pounds of cat, it should be comfortable accommodating the larger breeds such as a Bengal or Russian Blue. The bag itself weighs around 3 pounds, lightweight for its size.
Entry is made through the top of the front of the bag, while the mesh front top and sides provide plenty of airflow. Forward visibility for kitty is only possible when laying down as the mesh stops right at eye level if sitting up. Luckily the bag is big enough for them to lay down in easily.
There is good storage via the zipped side pockets, padded shoulder straps and a top carry handle. The biggest let down with this bag is the lack of waist straps, with this much weight on your back you’ll notice the lack of support without them.
Finally the bag has metal zippers which can be locked, comes with a soft mat for the sturdy base and standard features like an internal safety strap is the norm. It’s worth mentioning that the whole bag can fold up into a flat pack design making storage easy.
Overall a decent bag, one you’d choose only if you really needed to accommodate for the larger cat breeds.
- Huge 11.5″ (L) 10″(W) 16.5″ (H)
- Holds up to 18 pounds
- Good storage and Airflow
- No waist straps
Cats are pretty well toilet trained, but from time to time during a long hike you might find kitty has made a smelly mess.
Accidents happen, luckily most cat backpacks feature removable, washable liners should the unfortunate happen. We all know how hard it can be to get that smell of cat urine out of anything, let alone a confined space of a backpack.
To prevent any mishaps I’d recommend some liners, similar to the ones used in kitty trays. Of course the best prevention is to stop regularly and let your cat stretch his legs and go to the bathroom.
Of course, so long that there is enough airflow flowing through the bag they should be fine. Be sure not to jam anything against the ventilation holes or mesh windows. If it’s an extremely hot day, you should make frequent stops to let them out, give them water and allow the inside of the bag to cool in the shade if possible.
Keeping your cat in a harness while in the backpack is also a good idea. Backpacks actually will come with a security strap that you can attach the harness to, this also will stop them from jumping out if you have the top open.
The PetAmi Deluxe is a clear winner for me. It’s design is well thought out, offers ample storage and is easily the most comfortable to wear. It is well suited for hikers and travelers looking to take their ball of fluff on the journey with them.
Once you have picked up your new cat backpack, you may want to check out this foldable playpen. It could make a great addition once you have set up camp, instead of putting kitty away in the tent, they could be outside enjoying the campfire with you safely.