Every product and service on My Pet Needs That is independently selected by our editors, contributors, and experts.
If you purchase something through our links, we may earn a referral fee. Learn more
Cat backpacks are a fantastic way to introduce your cat to the world around them without having to worry about them getting lost or hurting themselves. They’re especially helpful for senior cats or lame cats that struggle with mobility. Furthermore, cat backpacks have proven to be a less stressful mode of travel for our feline friends than the standard cat crate, because your cat is being held close to you, allowing them to pick up your scent and calm down. This makes them a great handsfree alternative for vet visits with anxious kitties. Cat backpacks come in all shapes, sizes, patterns, and materials. So there is a backpack out there for every kitty – even the scratchy kind. Lucky for you we’ve sifted through the kitty backpack market for you and selected some of the best cat backpacks going today to hopefully make your shopping experience more straightforward and stress-free.
As a bubble backpack, you get an excellent combination of wide view for your cat plus ample ventilation to keep him happy. This easy to carry space capsule backpack also has another trick up its sleeve, with an expandable back to create a cozy tent bed. Made from waterproof materials, the front of the carrier is clear bubble window, ideal for the cat that likes to see where he’s going. Plus, there’s nine large ventilation holes to let all the fresh air in. This is a cat window backpack which you wear on your front and has a small opening on either side so you can reach your pet for a little extra reassurance. And, when your trip out is done, you can fold down the concertina mesh back to create a spacious, comfortable bed for a well-earned rest.
With the conventional looks of a daypack, but with plenty of space and ventilation for your cat, the sturdy Petsfit comfort backpack is worth checking out. Sized for small to medium cats up to 15 pounds, the pack retains its shape, thanks to the quality EVA material. And it’s lightweight too, meaning it’s comfortable for cat owners to carry around. For air circulation, there are two sizeable breathable mesh side panels as well as a top mesh entry that zips out to create a spacious viewing window. And if you pop in a pad for extra Petsfit comfort, your kit should soon feel right at home. And when your trip out with your cat is done, the whole cat hiking backpack folds down flat for storage.
We like the space-age look of this bubble pet backpack from Henkelion, with a full transparent window for your cat to see out – and be seen! And this space capsule backpack is versatile as you can wear it on your front or back. The bubble backpack is made from durable and weather resistant Oxford cloth, while the clear window is made from scratch resistant ABS. Nine air holes promote air circulation and are spaced to give your cat the benefit of all-round fresh air. And cat owners are not forgotten too, as the padded shoulder straps take the weight out of carrying your feline. Perhaps not best for prolonged periods, but for shorter trips this carrier space capsule is a clear favorite.
This urban chic pet portable carrier will look smart with any outfit, but as a cat backpack it also hits the mark. Made from durable PVC mesh on three sides, with a pet-safe plastic back, the pack gives your kit a 180-degree view of the outside world to keep him entertained. And with the mesh windows, he has plenty of air flow. A roll down entry door doubles up as a window and the whole pet carrier is scratch-resistant. Add in comfort shoulder straps and chest buckles, breathable back mesh to keep you cool and a safety leash inside the backpack to keep your cat secure, and you get a nice piece of pet gear for your money.
As a space capsule style backpack, the halinfer works a treat, thanks to its lightweight and expandable design. You wear it as a front or back cat carrier, with a full clear hard-shell bubble for puss to see where he’s going. For rest time the mesh back panel expands to create a neat and spacious cat bed. Sized for cats up to 12 pounds, as a backpack, it has just sufficient room, and a removable inner pad and built-in leash ups the comfort and security. And when it comes to keeping everything fresh, you get plenty of air holes plus two side mesh windows for healthy ventilation. Anti-scratch and airline approved, this is a good carrier space capsule for the smaller cat.
This large cat backpack is like a mini cat condo as it can be expanded to 90% of its original size! In standard mode, you get a neat backpack style carrier, with sufficient room for cats up to 18 pounds. Made from waterproof, anti-scratch Oxford cloth, it has large mesh windows on all sides, with a large zipped top entry. For you, it’s comfortable to carry, thanks to the shock-absorbing design, including sponge back, padded shoulder straps and retractable chest and waist buckles. When you stop for a break or you need a more space for your kit, simply expand the back panel to create a portable travel bed they can lie down in. Add side pockets and a double-sided padded mat and you have a cracking cat carrier for your money.
As a traveler bubble backpack, this airline-approved cat bubble carrier hits the mark. The backpack front is a semi sphere, giving your cat a clear view of the world outside. But the durable hard-shell keeps them feeling safe and secure. There’s also two side windows, so you can reach in to comfort your pet, while the nine large ventilation holes keep everything fresh. The rest of this travel pet carrier is made from eco friendly Oxford cloth, with padded shoulder straps for your carrying comfort. And we like the added touches, such as security leash and collapsible bowl. Designed for cats up to 13 pounds, it’s not for larger cats but for smaller kits, this is the way to travel in bubble style.
Lollimeow has combined the best of both pet carrier worlds, with a bubble capsule window set in a traditional backpack design. The result is a carrier that, while it can only carry small cats, is durable as well as airline approved and would also make an ideal kitten backpack The bubble window resembles a ship’s porthole but gives a decent view, plus it’s removable and there’s an alternative top opening so they can safely pop out their head. The side mesh panels allow for plenty of ventilation and the inner safety strap connects to their leash for total security. Waterproof, lightweight and easy to clean, you also get a couple of side pockets for all those essential pet travel treats.
We think the PetAmi is a good choice for hiking as it’s comfortable and allows your cat plenty of space and fresh air. Made from 600D high grade polyester, the backpack has a sleek shape, and sits well on your back. There’s extra thick padding on the shoulder straps and you get added waist and chest buckles for extra support. Inside your cat has a good view out, thanks to the front window opening and large side mesh panels. There’s also a Sherpa lined pad to keep him cozy and a free water bowl. The inner structure is reinforced too, so that it doesn’t collapse while you both happily go about your travels.
Our Premium Pick is this super-smart cat carrier, combining a space capsule design with an urban backpack look. Made from high quality Oxford mesh fabric and PU leather, it’s a sizeable pet carrier, with enough space for cats up to 22 pounds. The front zip opener also gives the option of adding a bubble window, while two side mesh panels as well as ample air holes provide all the needed ventilation. The shoulder straps are nice and wide to distribute weight and the chest strap helps to keep everything secure and stable. For the money, you get a fashion-forward travel pet carrier that you and your cat will be happy to be seen in.
Security, comfort and ventilation are the essentials when it comes to your cat’s new backpack. Here what you should look out for:
Material: You need your backpack to be durable, so look for quality materials that can keep up with the pace. Water-resistant fabrics such as Oxford cloth are a good choice as they are tough enough to cope with claws but is flexible and pretty lightweight. PVC and pet-safe plastic and mesh are other options.
Size: Your backpack needs to be large enough to give your cat room to turn around, sit down and stand up, but not too large that she is too ‘loose’ inside or it becomes cumbersome to carry. It also needs to be able to carry her weight as most models are designed to only carry cats weighing up to a maximum of 10-12 pounds.
Bubble or mesh windows: Cat backpacks have two types of windows, bubble or mesh. With a cat bubble backpack, you get a hard-shell exterior which includes a clear semi sphere window. However, you do need to ensure the backpack has sufficient ventilation. A mesh window cat travel backpack, on the other hand, is a softer carrier which includes mesh panels that double up as windows to let plenty of fresh air through.
Entry: Cats can be wriggly creatures, so you need a quick and easy entry point to get them inside and settled. Many pet travel backpacks will provide both a top and side entry point for convenience, just make sure the zippers or locking mechanism are effective and easy to access.
Security: Once inside their backpack, you want your pet to stay there and so your portable travel cat carrier should have essential security measures to keep them safe. As well as good zippers, look for a tether loop or inner leash to attach to your cat’s collar.
Ventilation: Your kit needs to be able to breathe easily so ensure the carrier has sufficient ventilation. Most packs have several mesh openings which let air pass through. If you’re opting for a bubble backpack, check it has enough large ventilation holes to keep everything fresh inside.
Durability: Your backpack needs to keep its shape as well as being scratch resistant and tough enough for everyday use. Look for a sturdy base and check the quality of the frame to ensure it won’t break easily or lose its shape.
Comfort: Look inside the backpack to check it has a sturdy base to support your cat, and opt for a carrier that has a removable comfort pad if you can. As you will be carrying the pack, check out the design. Padded straps, waist and chest buckles will help you take the weight, while a padded back area will make it comfortable to carry.
Airline compatible: If you’re planning on using your new cat backpack to take your pet onto an airplane, then ensure the model you are looking at is airline approved.
Accessories: A few added extras will be the finishing touch to your backpack. Pockets are always a great help when traveling with your pet. Other extras to look for include a collapsible water bowl and removable inner pads.
Cat Backpack vs Handbag-Style Cat Carrier
While picking a cat carrier is a personal choice there are differences between a backpack and a more traditional cat carrier:
Cat backpack: Designed to be sturdy yet comfortable, a cat backpack carrier can take the weight of your cat, leaving your hands free. They are also designed to be lightweight, giving you greater mobility and cat-carrying convenience. And, as they are worn higher up on your body, your cat may well feel safer and away from any hazards on the ground. However, they are usually weight-limited so not suited to larger cats and not the best choice for long journeys.
Handbag-style cat carrier: With the look of sports bag, these soft-sided cat carriers also allow your cat to also lie down, making them a good option for longer journeys. And they are convenient when flying, as long as you opt for a bag that’s airline approved. However, being soft sided, they don’t offer quite as much protection and you need your hands to carry them.
Tips for Getting Your Cat Used to the Backpack
Your cat may be a little resistant of their backpack at first but there are steps you can take to encourage your kit to feel at home:
Give them time to explore and get to know the backpack. Place a few of her favorite cat treats inside the pack, then leave it on the floor with the entry open so she can have a look in her own time.
Once your cat is more confident getting inside the pack, briefly close the door, then open it again, giving her plenty of praise. Repeat as appropriate.
When she’s happy in the backpack and comfortable with the entry being closed, carefully lift the pack onto your back. Walk around your home or garden for a few minutes and monitor her reaction.
Once she is calm and settled, you are now ready to venture further afield. Start with short trips, building up the time she spends in her carrier until your kit is a total backpack riding pro!
It does depend on your cat, and their personality. Some cats don’t like to be enclosed and they will certainly let you know about it! If you’ve taken your time to choose the right sized backpack and you have allowed your cat a little time to get used to being in it, then they should be content to be carried. But never force an unhappy or resistant cat inside a backpack – look for an alternative way to transport them instead.
The backpack needs to be large enough for your cat to comfortably stand as well as sit, stretch and turn around. Their weight is also a factor as most cat backpacks have a maximum carry weight. If in doubt, measure and weigh your cat so you can choose the right sized backpack for them.
While there’s no hard and fast rule, practicalities as well as the personality of your cat will dictate how long you can keep them inside their backpack. Your cat will need breaks to go to the potty as well as drink and stretch, which means a couple of hours is ideally the longest you should go at one stretch.
There’s no reason why you shouldn’t put two cats into a feline backpack as long as it’s sized to carry them both. For adult cats, you’ll need a large carrier, but two kittens should be happy inside a regular sized pack. However, it’s not recommended to keep two cats secured inside a carrier for longer than a few hours, as they need to be able to get out and stretch.
Eloise is the owner of a Malamute/Akita cross, a first-time mum, and an animal enthusiast from England. She comes from a family which has never gone a day without a pet (or 3!), and over the years has learned all the best tips and tricks to raising a difficult pet. A knowledge that she has put to good use, to help others navigate the limitless world of pet care.