Cat backpacks are one of my favorite cat products introduced in the market in recent years.
I also used my regular backpack to carry my cat sometimes, but the cat backpack carrier models which have been introduced in the last 2-3 years are just amazing.
Now, I use this backpack not only to take my cat out for a walk but also to take her to the vet.
So, if you are saying “I don’t have much time, tell me about ‘the best cat backpack”, here you go:
My Top Pick
This is my favorite backpack as it features a unique design, optimal air circulation, mesh and multiple porous bubble windows in addition to the transparent bubble window, and a large, convenient zip-up pocket.
Best Cat Backpacks
Cat backpack models are becoming more and more popular.
Bubble backpacks, also known as astronaut backpacks, stylish backpacks made of synthetic fabrics or faux leather are now replacing cat carrier kennels.
Well, this is what happens around me and I also replaced my carrier kennel with a cat backpack.
I will try to explain the pros and cons of the cat backpacks in the market, what to consider when choosing a backpack for your cat.
The best backpack, of course, is a backpack that meets your needs, is easy to carry, and helps reduce the anxiety of your cat when in a confined space.
This list describes the materials backpacks are made from, designs, weight limits, dimensions in order to help you save time when looking for “the best backpack”.
1. Blitzwolf Pet Portable Carrier Space Capsule Backpack (My First Choice)
Blitzwolf Space Capsule Cat Backpack is the top pick of my best backpacks list because I really love its stunning design.
Unfortunately, this design was not available in the market while I was looking for a bubble backpack for my cat. Even though I bought a backpack last year, now I can’t help thinking if I should buy this one as well.
Blitzwolf bubble backpack had a plain design just like other PU backpacks (old designs still available), but with its new design, it truly deserves to be called “a space capsule”.
Designed with clear-cut features, the backpack comes in two colors – black and white.
Blitzwolf Space Capsule Cat Backpack features 15 ventilation holes, 3 on the front and 12 on the sides. Compared to other backpacks made of PU plastic, this backpack offers more ventilation holes and great air circulation.
Additionally, unlike other bubble backpacks made of PU plastic, there is a zippered pocket measuring 7.4″ x 9″ (19 cm x 23 cm) for personal use. There is also a side pouch for small beverages.
In addition to the transparent bubble window that offers your cat a larger view of the outer scenery, this backpack comes with a plastic semi-sphere multiple porous window as well as a mesh window to promote optimal air circulation on hot days.
Measuring 13.8″ L x 10.6″ W x 18.1″ H (35 cm L x 27 cm W x 46 cm H), Blitzwolf Backpack is well-suited for cats weighing up to 13-14 Ibs (max. 6,4 kg).
Just like other backpacks, there is a built-in security lock that prevents your cat from escaping.
The backpack features two machine-washable velvet pads on the bottom.
I don’t recommend using this backpack in warm and humid climates. However, if you live in a normal or rainy climate, this is one of the top 3 picks I would recommend for both its design and large pocket.
- Perfect for cats up to 14 lbs (6.4 kg)
- New 3D design
- 15 ventilation holes
- Side pouch + big pocket (7.4″ x 9″)
- Available in black and white
- Made of scratch-resistant PU and synthetic fiber
- Machine-washable velvet pad
- Waterproof outer shell (except for ventilation holes)
- Switchable window options including mesh, porous plastic, and transparent bubble windows
- Not good for hot and humid climates
Operating in the pet products business since 1926, Pet Gear offers I-GO2 Roller Backpack in 4 different sizes – Regular, Medium, Large and Extra Large.
All these sizes have very similar designs, but different dimensions and weight limits.
Their dimensions are as follows:
- Regular: 12″L x 8″W x 17.5″H (30.5 cm L x 20.3 cm W x 44.4 cm H).
- Medium: 14″ L x 9″ W x 19″ H (35.5cm L x 22.8 cm W x 48.2 cm H). For small cats.
- Large: 16″ L x 12″ W x 15″ H (40.6 cm L x 30.5 cm W x 38.1 cm H).
- Extra Large: 16″ L x 13.5″ W x 22″ H (40.6 cm L x 34.2 cm W x 55.9 cm W).
This backpack features a telescoping handle and wheels to prevent any back or neck pain during your long trips with your cat.
I am not quite sure about the Extra-Large version, but Medium and Large are airline approved.
The smallest Pet Gear I-GO2 Roller Backpack supports cats up to 10 Ibs (4.5 kg) while the largest version supports up to 25 Ibs (11,3kg). You can transform this bag into a backpack with adjustable shoulder straps, use it as a roller bag or carry as a tote.
You can also use it as a car seat for your cat.
Mesh panels on the front and both sides of the backpack ensure proper air ventilation.
There are flap pockets on both sides of the backpack to store your cat’s treats and toys, or your keys and phone. There is only one flap pocket in the regular size while there are two each in other sizes.
Medium and large I-GO2 Roller Backpacks come in 5 different colors – black, orange, blue, pink and green. The regular size is available in black and dark blue while extra-large comes in black, blue and green.
With large mesh panels, this backpack is perfect for high temperatures. However, I don’t recommend using it on a rainy day because these mesh panels are not waterproof.
Each model features removable and machine-washable plush pads on the bottom.
If you often go shopping or travel by plane with your cat, then Pet Gear I-GO2 Roller Backpack may be a perfect fit for you.
- Different size options ranging from small cats to big cats weighing up to 25 Ibs
- Good for high temperatures
- Wheels and telescopic handle allow for long trips without the hassle
- Available in 5 colors
- Large mesh panels promote optimal air circulation
- Convenient and large side pockets
- Can be used as a car seat
- Some models are airline-approved
- Not good for rainy days
Made of PU leather, Texsens Traveler Bubble Backpack looks cool.
Just like other bubbles backpacks, Texsens Traveler Bubble Backpack features a plastic semi-sphere window design that allows your cat to enjoy the outside world.
The best feature of this backpack is that the semi-sphere bubble front zips open.
For example, you can open the front window to offer your cat more fresh air when resting.
The backpack features a built-in security leash to attach your cat’s harness and prevent escape when open.
The sides open completely for maximum accessibility.
Texsens Traveler Bubble Backpack is made of PU leather and durable mesh. Faux leather is more resistant to scratches (not much as plastic bags) or bad weather conditions than real leather.
However, there are a few things to consider when using and cleaning this backpack.
PU leather may fade if exposed to direct sunlight for extended periods of time.
Additionally, never use cleaning products such as alcohol, bleaching agents, thinner or acetone to clean the leather parts. You can use a damp cloth and natural soap to gently wipe those parts.
Texsens Traveler Bubble Backpack features 6 ventilation holes on the front and sides. There are 3 ventilation holes on the bubble window as well.
Side mesh panel promotes extra air circulation. The backpack is spacious and suitable for high temperatures.
You can adjust the length of the shoulder straps according to your comfort.
The base pad is machine or hand-washable for easy cleaning.
This backpack measures 13.39″ L x 9.84″ W x 17.32″ H (34 cm L x 24,9 cm W x 43,9 cm H).
I haven’t traveled with this backpack, but some reviews I read say that it fits comfortably under the front seat.
I recommend you check the carry-on luggage restrictions of your airline to avoid any problems at the airport since the baggage allowances and regulations may vary depending on the airline.
I think the main downside is that it is not as impact and scratch resistant as plastic backpacks.
Faux leather has a strong chemical smell. So, when you take it out of the box, you should air it out for a few days (2-3 days) before use.
To get rid of the smell faster, you can wipe your new backpack with a damp cloth and soap. The manufacturer also says that there may be faux leather smell when you first open the backpack.
It’s best to leave the bag in a well-ventilated place where your cat doesn’t reach so your furry friend won’t hate it.
Like I said above, never use cleaning products such as alcohol or bleaching agents to clean the bag.
The backpack features a roomy interior design and a sturdy base.
The manufacturer notes that even though it has a weight limit of up to 13 Ibs (5,9 kg), I think it is ideal for cats weighing up to 10 Ibs (4,5 kg).
Texsens Traveler Bubble Backpack is available in 3 colors – gray, blue and brown.
- Supports cats up to 13 pounds (5,9 kg)
- Made of stylish faux leather
- Available in different colors
- In addition to ventilation holes, side mesh panels also promote air circulation
- Bubble design
- Front and sides opening with zippers
- Leather has a strong chemical smell for up to 1 week
- Not scratch resistant as plastic/fabric backpacks
- May fade if exposed to direct sunlight too much
As one of the most popular backpacks today, Lemonda Portable Travel Pet Carrier Backpack features a design also known as “a bubble backpack”, “space capsule” or “astronaut cat backpack”.
Yes, your cat will look like an astronaut while looking out the transparent bubble.
I really love the transparent window design that offers a great view of the surroundings and helps reduce your cat’s anxiety. Another great feature is that it comes in a variety of nice colors. Available in blue, green, pink, white and black, it looks super stylish.
You can wear Lemonda Backpack either on your chest or your back while walking. However, when you wear it on your chest, it is not possible to bend down as it is made of hard plastic.
The backpack also has a top handle for easy lifting.
The entire bag is not made of plastic (polycarbonate). The bubble dome is made of polycarbonate while the back side is made of synthetic fabric.
The front cover is waterproof and perfect for rainy days. The back side is good for long trips as it fits your back perfectly. But it doesn’t come with a waist strap.
Lemonda Backpack features a built-in security leash that prevents your cat from running away when the backpack is fully open. You can also attach one of your cat’s favorite toys to this hook so that your cat will play inside.
There is also a zipper security lock that provides security against unauthorized access and prevents escape.
The ventilation holes on the front and both sides are designed to ensure optimal air circulation for your cat. But if you live in a warm climate or your cat has long fur, then the air circulation inside the bag may not be enough for long trips.
The description says it supports cats up to 14 Ibs (6,3 kg) and dogs up to 11 Ibs (4,9 kg). But if you have a bigger cat, you may find it a bit narrow. So, it’s best to measure your cat and keep the length of your cat’s fur in mind before making a purchase.
The pack includes a switchable mesh cover, a velvet base pad, a semi-sphere transparent cover (bubble) and a built-in security lock.
- Made from high-quality material
- Ideal for cats up to 14 pounds
- Bubble design
- Super stylish design, available in a variety of colors
- Built-in security lock
- Adjustable shoulder straps
- Switchable mesh cover and velvet pad included in the price
- Good for rainy days
- Air circulation inside the bag may not be enough for long trips
Supporting cats up to 14-15 Ibs (max. 6-8 kg), this backpack is perfect for bigger cats.
BMX Pet Travel Bubble Bag’s design is very similar to the abovementioned capsule backpack designs, but this one is made from fabric. Of course, it is not made of cotton but polyester, making it resistant to scratches and weather conditions.
What I like the most about this backpack is that it has zip-up pockets on both sides. It is perfect for storing your cat’s treats, toys, your keys, and phone.
BMX Pet Travel Bubble Bag is made from durable and high-quality fabric. Breathable mesh panels on the sides, ventilation holes on the front and bubble are designed to ensure maximum air circulation.
In addition to the padded front and back, adjustable shoulder straps are also padded for extra comfort.
The top handle helps carry the bag easily.
You can adjust the length of shoulder straps. It doesn’t come with a waist strap.
BMX Pet Travel Bubble Bag features a zip-up front that can be opened with the bubble window. It is a perfect feature that allows your cat to enjoy more fresh air and a larger view of the surroundings.
BMX Pet Carrier’s non-slip base design keeps the bag in place and prevents abrasion over time.
- Ideal for big cats up to 15 Ibs (6.8 kg)
- Convenient zip-up pockets on both sides
- Breathable mesh panels and ventilation holes promote maximum air circulation
- Available in different colors
- Too big for kittens and small cats
Featuring multiple mesh windows, PetAmi Deluxe Pet Carrier Backpack is perfect for carrying your cat on hot days. Air circulation is great inside the bag.
I recommend this backpack for those who hike or travel a lot.
Used not only in cat backpacks but also in school bags, the 600D high-grade polyester makes PetAmi Backpack incredibly durable.
Both sides and the top semi-sphere window zip completely open to offer easy access for your cat.
If you want to roll up the top window while walking, you don’t need to worry about your cat running away. This backpack offers a built-in security leash to secure your pet and prevent escape.
Plus, PetAmi Backpack comes with a collapsible bowl that is very handy to use and keep your cat hydrated in the park or while traveling.
The bowl can collapse to allow for more space. You can clip it anywhere on your backpack as well.
Another key feature I like the most about this backpack is the large mesh pouches on both sides. They are great for storing beverages, toys, and snacks.
PetAmi Backpack also features a zip-up front pocket for your phone and keys.
It supports up to 18 Ibs (8.2 kg) without collapsing.
You can use this backpack for medium-sized cats and dogs. It is perfect for cats up to 10-12 Ibs (5.5 kg), but I recommend you measure your cat before placing your order.
PetAmi Backpack measures 12.5″ L x 10.2″ W x 16.3″ H (31.8 cm L x 25.9 cm W x 41.4 cm H).
The soft Sherpa-lined plush bed is designed for maximum comfort. It is machine-washable.
The backpack alone weighs 3,64 pounds (5,5 kg).
PetAmi Backpack fits the carry-on dimensions of most airlines including United.
- Supports cats up to 12 Ibs (5.5 kg)
- Large pouches
- Zip-up pocket for storing phone
- Both sides open completely
- Made from durable polyester fabric
- Comes with a collapsible water/food bowl
- Built-in security leash
- Available in different colors
- Great airflow inside the bag
- Ideal for high temperatures
- Perfect for walks and hikes
- Not for rainy days and cold weather
The most outstanding feature of this backpack is the fully transparent front cover. Unlike other bubble backpacks with a transparent bubble, this backpack features a completely clear front made of ABS plastic.
The key feature of ABS plastic is its resistance to impact and hot or cold temperatures.
The other parts (the back side of the backpack, shoulder straps) are made of synthetic Oxford fabric that is both water and weather resistant.
In addition to 9 ventilation holes – 3 on the front (transparent cover), 3 each on both sides, breathable side mesh panels ensure more air circulation. Multiple ventilation holes and mesh panels make this backpack super breathable for your cat inside.
There is a built-in security leash that you can attach your cat’s harness to.
Measuring 12.2” L x 11.4” W x 16.5” H (31 cm L x 29 cm W x 41.9 cm H), this backpack is ideal for cats up to 10 Ibs (4.5 kg) and small dogs.
I think this backpack has two downsides.
First, ABS plastic, which the transparent front was made of, is impact-resistant, but it is not scratch-resistant enough.
The large transparent front offers your cat a full view, but it also means that you need to protect this large cover against scratches.
Secondly, it has very small pockets to store your cat’s and your essentials (water, snacks, keys, phone, water and food bowl, etc.) when going outside.
Well, it still has pockets on both sides, but you can only put your keys there. Personally, the pocket size of my cat backpack is important as I don’t carry any other bags with me when I go out.
- Ideal for cats up to 10 lbs (4.5 kg)
- Fully transparent front cover
- 9 ventilation holes and side mesh panels promote air circulation
- Durable plastic and synthetic Oxford fabric
- Adjustable padded shoulder straps protect your back
- Available in 4 different colors – gray, black, pink and blue
- Small side pockets
- Hard to protect for scratches
I didn’t include Lollimeow Large Cat Backpack Carrier in my list just because I like its design and material quality. There are also other features I like about this backpack.
Measuring 17.7” L x 11.4” W x 15” H (44.9 cm L x 28.9 cm W x 38 cm H), this backpack is specially designed for “big-boned” cats and supports up to 20 Ibs (9 kg).
The manufacturer says it supports cats up to 26 Ibs (13 kg) but based on my research and the reviews I have read; I can say it is ideal for cats weighing up to 20 Ibs.
Well, it depends on your cat’s features as well. For example, maybe your cat isn’t overweight and weighs less than 20 Ibs (9 kg), but if they are tall, then your feline friend may not be able to fit or move around inside the bag.
So, I recommend you measure your cat (length and weight) before ordering Lollimeow Large Cat Backpack Carrier or another backpack.
Perfect for bigger cats, this backpack can support your cat’s weight and doesn’t bend when your cat is inside.
In addition to 3 ventilation holes on the front cover, two side mesh pockets, and the top mesh window promotes optimal air circulation.
The top mesh window has a zip-up design that allows for easy access. If your cat is big, there is a second zip that opens the top completely.
However, it is not possible to walk in the rain because the rain comes through the top mesh window and you can’t cover it.
So, if you are saying “That is okay. I will just cover it with a raincoat”, that just doesn’t seem possible either because then you will cover a large breathable panel.
If you love walking in the rain with your cat, this backpack may not be ideal for you.
Just like other bubble backpacks, the bubble window offers an unobstructed view of the surroundings for your cat and help ease their stress on the go.
Available in large and medium, Lollimeow Large Cat Backpack Carrier’s large version measures 17.7” L x 11.4” W x 15” H (44.9 cm L x 28.9 cm W x 38 cm H) while the medium version measures15.3” L x 8.6” W x 12.6” H (38.8 cm L x 21.8 cm W x 32 cm H)
Another difference between these two sizes is that the large version has zippers on the side pockets.
The side pockets of both sizes are large enough. You won’t need any other bags to store your essentials or your cat’s toys, water and snacks when going out.
Made of synthetic fabric, Lollimeow Backpack is resistant to scratches.
- Suitable for cats up to 20-24 Ibs (max. 10.8 kg)
- Also available in a small size
- Ventilation holes and large mesh panels ensure optimal air circulation
- Stylish design, two color options (large-sized available in gray and khaki)
- Scratch-resistant synthetic fabric
- Bubble window with a great view of the scenery
- Adjustable shoulder straps
- Large zip-up pockets on the sides
- Not possible to walk in the rain
Petseek Cat Backpack Carrier’s design is a bit different from the other backpacks in my list.
While the other backpacks have a bubble window or a transparent front cover, this backpack features transparent windows on both sides.
Petseek Cat Backpack Carrier’s windows are larger than most of the others. The front mesh window is the largest part that promotes air circulation.
Besides, there are 8 ventilation holes on the top.
Measuring 13.8″ L x 11.8″ W x 15.7″ H (35 cm L x 30 cm W x 40 cm H), the interior of this backpack is very roomy. It supports cats weighing up to 15-16 Ibs (7.2 kg), but it bends a bit to accommodate cats over 12 Ibs (5.4 kg) as it doesn’t have a hard base.
It is easy to machine-wash or hand-wash the base pad.
There is a built-in security leash to attach your cat’s harness.
The backpack offers a rain cover, but I don’t recommend using it for a long while because I don’t think 8 ventilation holes on the top (all holes placed in the same direction) will provide enough airflow. It’s best to always keep the mesh window open for ample ventilation.
The major downside is that it doesn’t have any pockets. So, you will need an extra bag to keep your cat’s water, snacks, or your essentials.
They could add extra padding to adjustable shoulder straps for comfort during long trips.
Petseek Cat Backpack Carries ships the plastic transparent side windows uninstalled. You should attach these parts to the backpack with zippers. It is not difficult to do but it may be a bit confusing as there is no user manual.
This backpack is available in two colors – light gray and pink.
- Ideal for cats up to 15-16 Ibs (7.2 kg)
- Large transparent window offers a greater view for your cat
- The front mesh window provides great airflow when open
- Available in two colors
- Built-in security leash
- No pockets
If your cat has long fur and you live in a warm climate, then this backpack is a perfect fit for you!
The most outstanding feature of this backpack is that it has multiple breathable mesh panels.
You can roll up these mesh windows if you wish.
There are a lot of features that make this backpack perfect for long trips or hikes.
For example, it offers a waist strap that both supports your back and keeps the backpack in place.
In addition to the adjustable waist strap, it also comes with a chest strap that helps keep shoulder straps in place.
The unique foam pad on the back is designed to distribute the weight evenly and help the bag fit your back and waist perfectly.
Apollo Walker Pet Carrier Backpacks offers extra foam padding on the shoulder straps to prevent irritation during long trips.
So, if you want to roll up the top mesh window to give your cat more space and headroom, you can attach your cat’s harness to the built-in leash tether for safety.
The zip-up top mesh window is very handy as it provides your cat with an unobstructed view of the scenery.
The removable soft base pad ensures a comfortable trip for your feline friend. This soft pad is machine-washable for easy cleaning.
The side pouches and the zip-up front pocket are big enough to provide space for your and your cat’s essentials, so you don’t need an extra bag.
Available in gray and blue, Apollo Walker Pet Carrier Backpack measures 11.4″ L. x 12.6″ W. x 16.8″ H. (28.9 cm L. x 32 cm W. x 42.6 cm H.) and supports cats up to 20 Ibs (9 kg).
Another great feature about this backpack is that you can return it for a full refund if you see your cat doesn’t fit in. The manufacturer only requires you to send an e-mail to them for a full refund.
Even though Apollo Walker Pet Carrier Backpack is bigger than most of the backpacks in the market, based on the customer reviews I have read, it fits well under the front seat in most airlines (including American Airlines). However, if you plan to take your cat on a plane trip, it’s best to check the carry-on luggage restrictions and the pet policy of your airline.
Apollo Walker’s soft-sided parts are made of the high-grade 600D Oxford material which is incredibly durable and waterproof.
PVC coating on this synthetic fabric makes the backpack dust-proof and scratch-resistant.
So, if you are not looking for a bubble design, go for a walk with your cat regularly and live in a warm climate, I recommend you give this backpack a try.
- Ideal for big and small cats
- Multiple mesh windows ensure great air circulation
- Large pockets to store all your essentials
- Zip-up windows on the sides
- Front window can be rolled up
- Chest and waist straps
- Foam pad on the back for extra comfort
- Durable synthetic fabric
- Extra padding on the shoulder straps
- Not for cold weathers
If you often travel by plane, need to take your cat out for long walks (to the shopping mall or supermarket), then this backpack may be a great choice for you!
Kopeks Deluxe Backpack features a telescoping handle and wheels for added comfort in case you get tired of carrying it on your back.
Kopeks Deluxe Backpack comes in two sizes. The medium version measures 13″ L x 12″ W x 20″ H (33 cm L x 30.5 cm W x 50.8 cm W) and supports cats up to 10 Ibs (4.5 kg) while the large measures 13″ L x 17.5″ W x 20″ H (33cm L x 44.9 cm W x 50.8 cm H)and works well for cats up to 17 Ibs (7.7 kg).
It is available in black, gray and pink.
Zip-up side pouches are big enough to store everything you and your cat need (such as phone, water, keys, and toys). The zippers are designed to ensure extra security.
Kopeks Deluxe Backpack features a full-width front mesh window and durable mesh panels on both sides that provide maximum air circulation and great airflow.
The rest is made of the waterproof 600D Oxford fabric, but the waterproof feature doesn’t really matter because it is almost entirely made from mesh fabric. It is not a good idea to use this back on a rainy day.
Also commonly used in baby strollers, the synthetic 600D Oxford fabric is 100% polyester and long-lasting.
The backpack offers a soft plush interior. You may need a removable and washable pee pad for protection.
The telescoping handle is made of durable aluminum alloy while the wheels are made of premium-quality polyurethane.
Kopeks Deluxe Backpack is an approved carry-on for most airlines.
I haven’t used this backpack as a carry-on myself, but many reviewers say that they can easily travel with major airlines including United and American Airlines. I still recommend you check the carry-on luggage restrictions and the pet policy of your airline before purchasing your flight ticket.
One of the most important factors that assure me of the design and durability is that Kopeks is a company that produces only pet products.
So, this backpack is made by an experienced company that produces beds, travel accessories and backpacks for cats, dogs, and other pets only.
- For cats up to 17 Ibs
- Available in two sizes
- Telescoping handle and wheels make it perfect for frequent travels and trips to the supermarket or shopping mall
- Available in 3 colors – black, gray and pink
- Great air circulation
- Large zip-up pockets
Cat Carrier Kennel Vs. Cat Backpack Carrier
I used a cage-like cat carrier kennel, which is made from hard plastic and offers a front door, for years.
I didn’t have many choices when I had my first furry friend. Dozens of different designs and materials were not available like they are today.
I used this cat carrier kennel for a long time even though it was difficult to carry. I can say it was highly durable.
However, I really had a hard time putting my cat inside the kennel when she understood we were going to the vet. If they don’t like it, there is not much to do.
I will try to describe the differences between cat carrier kennels and cat backpacks based on my and my cat’s experience.
Problems I Had When Trying to Get My Cat Into Carrier Kennel
I don’t know how your cat reacts when going to the vet, but my cat used to disappear in the morning as if she read my mind even before I took the carrier kennel out of its place.
My cat hid so well that it was impossible to find her in such a small place. When I found her, it was another problematic story – clawing out, preparing for an attack and of course, hissing.
As my cat was preparing for an all-out attack, I could hardly escape uninjured. After getting at least 2-3 scratches and bites, I could finally catch and put her in the carrier kennel.
I did a lot of research to escape with fewer bites and scratches and avoid a half-an-hour chasing marathon. I can say I have read most of the online articles about the guidelines to put your cat into a carrier kennel.
These articles often say;
“Put the carrier kennel on a spot that your cat loves, leave the door open facing upward, hold your cat’s front paws and gently put into the carrier kennel” in a calm manner as if it is a piece of cake!
I don’t know, maybe putting cats into the kennel is easy for some cat owners, but that was really impossible with my cat. I felt lucky when I could put my cat into the kennel after escaping with a few scratches.
Some cat owners say that it is a good idea to leave the carrier kennel laying around the house all the time in order to get them used to the carrier kennel.
They suggest instead of introducing it out of nowhere and making cats run away and hide due to stress, cats feel more comfortable about going into a familiar object that is around all the time.
This may be true, but if you have a small house, it is not possible to keep this hard-sided plastic carrier around the house all the time. I need to put it into the wardrobe when not in use because I live in a small flat and these carriers are quite big.
Another downside of carrier kennels is that it is not possible to carry them for a long time because only one hand carries the whole weight. As carrier kennels can’t be used as a shoulder bag like new cat backpacks, you have to carry them in one hand.
Not only plastic carriers but also soft-sided carriers that are carried in one hand or shoulder load the entire weight on one side of your body.
Besides, regular carrier kennels usually don’t have any pockets for essentials although you need another extra bag to store snacks for you and your cat, water bottle, phone, keys, etc.
In conclusion, I don’t have good memories of the carrier kennel I used to take my cat to the vet in. I am quite sure my cat doesn’t have many pleasant memories of this kennel either.
So, what changed in my life after I switched from a regular cat carrier kennel to a cat backpack?
Benefits of Cat Backpacks
- Allowing cats to enjoy the outside world and thus making them feel less stressed is not the only benefit. It leaves your hands free as you wear it on your back. You can also carry your or your cat’s essentials in your cat backpack easily when going to the vet.
- As it doesn’t cause too much strain on one shoulder and distributes the weight evenly, you don’t experience any back, waist or shoulder pain when you get back home. Cat owners who have a large cat breed or an overweight cat will understand what I mean.
- It is a fact that carrying the bag on one shoulder or in one hand loads the entire weight on one side of the body and leads to back and neck pain. The main cause of back pain is uneven weight distribution. Therefore, cat backpacks are not only designed to carry your cat and make them happy but also to help maintain your health.
- Some cat backpacks (usually backpacks with soft sides) comes with extra pockets to store items such as water, snacks, and phone. Therefore, you don’t need to carry an extra bag for your essentials.
- Bubble backpacks are especially perfect for cold climates. Being more resistant to cold temperatures than soft-sided backpacks, bubble backpacks keep your cat warm.
- If you have a cat that spends time only inside the house and feels stressed to go out, you can take them out for a walk in a bubble backpack. It will be a fun trip for your cat as well.
- Bubble, soft-sided, faux leather… I think all types of cat backpacks look very stylish and they come with many color options. New models and colors come out every year.
- Cat backpacks are not very expensive, they are almost the same price as your own backpacks.
Are Cat Backpacks Cruel?
On some online pages, I saw some cat owners are asking “Are cat backpacks cruel?”.
In my opinion, cat backpacks are not cruel for your cat.
In contrast, they are very pet-friendly because they allow them to go out more often and help ease their stress when going to the vet.
Both backpacks and kennels have almost the same interior space. Backpacks may have a slightly narrower base compared to kennels, but the best part is that backpacks offer more headroom, so your cat doesn’t need to crouch as it does in a kennel. Rather, backpacks let them enjoy the outside world through bubble windows while sitting upright.
There is a point I would like to mention here. Some cat owners are doubtful about cat backpacks because they are also asking “Are backpacks breathable enough?”
Most of the backpacks I checked when searching feature multiple ventilation holes that provide great air circulation. Bubble backpacks come with multiple porous windows that can be replaced with the bubble dome, but I don’t think you will need this unless it is too hot or humid outside.
It is important to note that instead of worrying about the financial aspect and buying a very cheap backpack that may not provide proper airflow, you should choose a backpack that promotes good air circulation and offers multiple window options.
How Can I Choose the Best Backpack for My Cat?
The best backpack is the most comfortable backpack for your cat.
Therefore, it depends on the size or breed of your cat. Make sure to check the weight limit (in terms of Ibs or kg) of backpacks when searching. Some backpacks are ideal for bigger cats or even two medium-sized cats while some can only support a medium-sized cat.
Before I chose the right backpack for my cat, I made a shortlist of my cat’s needs and our outside activities. So, I didn’t get lost in dozens of reviews and comments and found the right backpack in no time.
Below you will find some key points to consider when looking for an answer to “Which one is the best backpack for my cat?”
If you are a frequent flyer, an airline-approved cat backpack means easier flights for both you and your cat. Before purchasing a cat backpack, make sure to check if it works for the carry-on luggage restrictions of airlines.
Manufacturers usually indicate whether it functions as an in-cabin carrier. However, it is important to note that each airline sets its own carry-on luggage restrictions. If there is an airline you frequently fly with, you can look for a suitable backpack after learning about the carry-on luggage requirements on their website.[/su_service][/su_note]
If you live in a rainy, snowy or cold region, I highly recommend buying a waterproof backpack. Although made from synthetic fabric, soft-sided backpacks are not ideal for rainy days and especially for cold temperatures.
I can’t say soft-sided backpacks allow water to penetrate quickly but walking in heavy rain for 5-10 minutes may cause the fabric to retain water. On the other hand, polycarbonate backpacks are waterproof and easy to clean as they keep the outer shell dry. Plus, polycarbonate backpacks are highly resistant to impact. The downside of these backpacks is that they are less scratch-resistant than soft-sided backpacks.
Some manufacturers cover backpacks with a thin protective film that can be easily removed. If you wish, you can leave this film on the bag and provide extra protection against scratches. However, this protective film doesn’t cover the bag invisibly because it is used temporarily to protect the bag against scratches when shipped. So, it looks wrinkled and doesn’t look nice.[/su_service][/su_note]
You can ride a bicycle or motorcycle when wearing your backpack on your back. However, if the road is too rough or if you are going to ride your motorcycle off-road (even if you ride slowly), your cat will feel anxious from swaying.
I don’t think it would pose a problem if the road is flat and you are sure the backpack won’t sway that much. By the way, it is not possible to carry hard-sided polycarbonate backpacks on your chest when riding a bicycle or motorcycle.
There is no problem when standing up or walking, but these backpacks won’t allow you to lean forward on the bike. If you are looking for a bag to carry on your chest, you can check soft-sided bags that are specially designed to be carried on the front. Additionally, if you often ride a bicycle with your cat, I recommend checking bicycle basket bags to have on the front of your bike. [/su_service][/su_note]
5 Things to Consider When Buying a Cat Backpack Carrier
1. Size and Weight Limit
If your cat is overweight or a breed that is big by nature such as Siberian, Bengal, British Shorthair, Ragdoll or Turkish Van, make sure to check the dimensions and weight limit of the backpack you want to buy.
Apart from your cat’s weight, you should also take the length of your cat’s fur into consideration for the interior space. For example, if your cat weighs 13 Ibs (5,9 kg), you can get a backpack that supports up to 15 Ibs (6,8 kg). But if your cat’s fur is fluffy and there is not enough room inside the backpack, your cat may feel squeezed.
Therefore, you should make your decision based on not only the weight limit but also the breed of your cat and the dimensions of the backpack. Backpack dimensions are usually indicated in the product descriptions. Besides, you can read the customer reviews of the best-seller backpacks as well.
Cat and back backpacks are made from 3 different materials: fabric, plastic and faux leather. What we mean by the fabric is not cotton of course, but polyester. The key feature of polyester backpacks is that they are scratch-resistant and more spacious. If you live in a warm and humid climate, a spacious backpack is a good choice for your cat.
Generally, plastic backpacks are made of polycarbonate. The key feature of these backpacks is that they are impact-resistant and easy to clean. Plus, it provides more protection against cold temperatures and rain. However, polycarbonate backpacks are much less scratch-resistant than polyester backpacks.
The main advantage of faux leather backpacks is that they look very stylish. Having the same design as bubble backpacks, the biggest downside of faux leather backpacks is that they are not scratch-resistant either. Additionally, if often used in rain, it starts to retain water.
When I go out with my cat, I should carry a lot of stuff including keys, purse, a small bottle of water, and snacks for myself and my cat. I don’t want to use an extra bag for these. So, a cat backpack with multiple pockets comes in very handy. Therefore, I can say backpacks made of synthetic fabric are a better option because they include more pockets than polycarbonate backpacks. Some pockets have zippers, making it very useful for storing phone and purse.
Do you enjoy long walks, or do you ride a bicycle every day, or do you use your backpack only when going to the vet? The answers to these questions are important because every backpack has different features.
For example, for long walks, I recommend a bubble backpack that offers your cat a great view of the surroundings. However, a soft-sided polyester backpack is more convenient if you want to carry the backpack on your chest while riding your bike.
5. Customer Reviews
You should read the customer reviews carefully before you make a purchase, especially if you are going to buy it online. Sometimes the features provided by the manufacturer differ greatly from the customer reviews, especially regarding the weight limit.
For example, even though the description indicates the maximum weight capacity is 16 Ibs (7.2 kg), you may see customer reviews such as “My 13-Ibs cat did not fit in the backpack” and “It is too small for my 14-Ibs cat.”
To avoid this problem, as I included in the first title, you should take the breed and the fur length of your cat into consideration as well.
Common Airlines and Their Carry-on Size, Weight Restrictions, Pet Policies
Southwest, one of the most popular low-cost airlines, allows maximum of 6 in-cabin pet carriers per flight. There is a $95 charge each way per pet carrier.
Two cats or dogs can travel in the same carrier. The most important requirement is that the animals must be able to stand up and move comfortably in the carrier.
The pet carrier must comfortably fit under the seat in front of you and must not exceed 18.5″ x 8.5″ x 13.5″ (47 cm x 22 cm x 34 cm). The carrier must be leak-proof and well-ventilated.
Delta does not allow carry-on pets on flights to or from Hawaii, or on international flights.
Unlike Southwest Airlines, Delta does not limit the number of pet carriers in the cabin but permits a maximum of 8 pets (cats, small dogs, and some household birds) per flight to travel in the cabin.
Allowing two pets each in first class and business class, four in economy class, Delta also accepts only one pet per carrier. So, unlike Southwest, it is not possible to put two cats in the same carrier.
The carrier must fit comfortably under the seat in front of you.
Delta also does not allow certain cat breeds such as Persian, Himalayan and, Burmese, and some dog breeds to travel in the cargo hold.
For additional information regarding the permitted cat and dog breeds, pet charges, international in-cabin pet travel restrictions, please visit Delta’s Pet Travel page.
Hard-sided pet carriers must not exceed 17.5″ x 12″ x 7.5″ (44 cm x 30 cm x 19 cm). Soft-sided cat carriers can have slightly larger dimensions. Hard or soft, regardless of the material, the carry-on carrier must fit completely under the seat in front of you.
United Airlines accepts at least 16-week-old kittens (and puppies) in the cabin. There is a $125 pet ticket each way. Only two pets per flight are allowed in the cabin.
In addition, United Airlines does not accept carry-on pets in some types of aircraft (such as Boeing 777 or 787) due to limited under-seat storage space.
For any additional information and questions governing the flight, and United Airlines’ current carry-on pet carrier policies, please contact 1-800-864-8331 before booking your flight.
JetBlue allows maximum of 4 pets per flight, one pet per passenger, to fly in the cabin.
Counted as one carry-on bag, your pet carrier must not exceed 17″ L x 12.5″ W x 8.5″ H. The combined weight of your pet and the carrier cannot exceed 20 pounds.
Just like other airlines, the pet carrier must fit comfortably under the seat in front of you.
As a limited number of pets are allowed on each flight, I strongly recommend you book early for you and your cat.
You can book your flight with your cat and learn about the current pet travel policies by calling 1-800-JETBLUE (538-2583).
Other Airlines Cat Backpack/Pet Carrier Policies (Carry-on Luggage)
It is important to know that airlines change their carry-on luggage policies from time to time.
In addition, carry-on pet carrier regulations tend to vary depending on the type of aircraft due to different cabin layouts.
Therefore, before you confirm your flight reservation, I recommend you contact Customer Care to check if the flight is suitable for you and your cat.
- Pets that are younger than 12 weeks old not accepted.
- Maximum carrier size: 21.5″ L x 15.5″ W x 9″H (55 cm x 40 cm x 23 cm)
- Customer Support: 888-247-2262
- The combined weight of the pet and carrier must be under 20 lbs (9 kg).
- Maximum carrier size: 17″ L x 11″ W x 7.5″ H (43cm x 28 cm x 19 cm)
- Customer Support: 800-252-7522
- Pets that are younger than 8 weeks old not accepted.
- Maximum carrier size: 16″ L x 10″ W x 8.5″ H (41 cm x 25.4 cm x 21.5 cm)
- Customer Support: 888-937-8538
- The combined weight of pet and carrier must be under 40 lbs (18 kg).
- Maximum carrier size: 18″ L x 9″ H x 14″ W (45.72 cm x 22.86 cm x 35.56 cm)
- Customer support: 801-401-2222
- No pets allowed in the cabin if the flight is longer than 6 hours.
- Maximum carrier size: 16″ L x 12″ W x 8″ H (40 cm x 30 cm x 20 cm)
- Customer Support: 800-237-6639
From Carrier Kennel to a Cat Backpack Carrier
The transition from carrier kennel to cat backpack was quite easy for me and my cat.
While my cat associated the cat carrier with going to the vet and hated the carrier for years, she adapted to her new bag in a short time.
There is not much difference between cats going into a backpack and a carrier kennel. However, the comfort levels are different because especially a bubble backpack allows your cat to see the outside world, offers more space, and thus makes it much less stressful for cats. After a while, they even start spending time inside backpacks at home.
I don’t want to say “You don’t need to do anything, your cat will love it right away” like many online articles advertising these backpacks because we all know it is not possible.
What I want to say is that compared to the carrier kennel, it was easier for my cat to get used to the backpack and start traveling without hassle. I can’t say it took one day, though. Here are the steps I followed to get my cat used to the backpack:
Tips to Have Your Cat Get Used to the Backpack
- As soon as you buy a new backpack, put it in the middle of the house and help your cat sniff and get used to it.
- After the introduction step, leave it in one of your cat’s favorite spots at home.
- As cats (the ones I know) already love sitting or sleeping on regular backpacks, it shouldn’t take much time to become familiar with a cat backpack.
- Put some treats inside the backpack in order to have your cat get used to going inside.
- Start with a few short trips so that your cat won’t associate the backpack with going to the vet only.
In conclusion, I can say using a cat backpack has made life much easier for me and my cat.
While my cat enjoys the scenery inside the backpack carrier where she feels comfortable, I am happy I don’t carry the entire weight on one side of my body and suffer from back or neck pain when I get back home.
Plus, thanks to the ease of use, I can now spend more time with my cat. Also, when my cat sees me preparing the backpack, she feels less stressed because she knows that it doesn’t necessarily mean a visit to the vet.
If you are currently using a carrier kennel as I did before, I recommend you give it a go and try a cat backpack.