Even the most outdoorsy cats refuse a leash, more often than not. We still love getting our cats outside for some fresh air, though. One of the most convenient pieces of ‘cat gear’ we’ve stumbled upon is cat backpack carriers.
So we decided to start the search for the best cat backpack carriers. If you’re looking for a more convenient way to keep your feline companion with you on the go, we’re here to help.
Cat Backpack Carrier Buyer’s Guide:
What Features to Look for in a Cat Backpack Carrier
1. Materials and Construction
Naturally, you need some really sturdy materials to keep your cat secure. One of the best ways to tell if they meet the grade is to feel the materials (and their thickness and weight) yourself.
Take a look at the stitching and make sure it’s done well, especially around the shoulder strap and bottom of the carrier.
Good quality construction might cost slightly more, but it’s worth knowing it’ll hold up while your cat’s inside.
2. Size and Weight Capacity
You might have a fair idea of how big your cat is and how much they weigh, but you need to measure and weigh them. Cat backpack carriers aren’t something you should size by ‘eyeballing’ them, since a few inches or pounds here and there can make a big difference to the cat inside the carrier.
Always compare your measurements with the carrier’s specifications before you purchase one.
Remember, with cat carriers it’s better to go up a size larger when in doubt, or if your cat is in between two sizes.
You’re likely still concerned about the overall ‘look’ of the backpack, since you’re the one carrying it. There’s no shame in picking a design you like, but what we’re talking about is the two main styles of cat backpack carriers: carrier bags and bubble bags.
Carrier bags feature more fabric in their construction, with plenty of mesh along the sides. They’re slightly more dynamic than the bubble style, since they can be worn on your front or back, and store more easily when you’re done using it.
Bubble style cat backpacks have a harder, shell-like exterior which is typically made of polycarbonate. Because of this, they are more durable, scratch resistant, and impact resistant.
Rather than relying on mesh to provide the views, there’s a half sphere bubble made of clear plastic than allows cats to look around.
This choice can really come down to how much you’re willing to invest in a carrier, what your cat will tolerate. We’ve found that some cats that experience more anxiety when traveling do well with bubble type carriers, since they have more of an unimpeded view of their surroundings.
4. Ease of Use
One of the first things to consider when determining how easy a carrier is to use is the ‘loading’ options. Basically, whether the carrier opens to put your cat in from the top or sides. We find that especially stubborn or timid cats do better with top loading backpack carriers.
However, there are some cat backpack carriers that have the option for either, so if you can find one that fits your preferences, it’s a huge bonus.
Cat-loading aside, another place you want to look at is the padding. Cats shed a lot, especially when going somewhere new, so removable padding is convenient and easier to wash.
Look for adjustable shoulder straps with ample padding. Your cat may not seem heavy when you’re picking him up here and there, but after a long walk that changes. Make sure it’s easy to adjust and comfortable enough for longer jaunts.
Any cat backpack carrier should have plenty of ventilation. Make sure there are several ventilation holes, and that it’s built with an efficient design that promotes air flow. Mesh windows along the sides are a sure way to increase ventilation.
6. Leash Accessories
Cats are often something of escape artists, and because of that, many cat carriers contain accessories to prevent cats from leaping out. You’ll see small hooks or leashes built into the interior, but make sure you’re using a short enough leash to prevent them jumping out.
You don’t have to use them, or may not need to; if your cat isn’t a jumper (and, lucky you) or if there’s an internal lock system, you might be able to go without.
However, if you’re not loading and unloading your cat at home, it’s a good idea to go with the leash.
How to Introduce Cats to Backpack Carriers
Cats may climb into strange boxes and bags willingly, but a backpack carrier is often another matter entirely. To keep you cat happy in a carrier, how you introduce it to them is key.
Every cat is different, so you can adjust your method to better suit them when needed. Let’s look at the basic steps to introduce cats to backpack carriers:
Let it sit out, and let you cat take a look at it. Don’t try and put them in it yet, just let them get comfortable around it. Once they are, you can set it on the floor and put them inside it. Keep it open, and don’t force them to stay in.
Once they’re at ease getting into the carrier, you can get ready for your first trip. Put some treats or a toy in the bottom if they’re reluctant.
Keep your first adventure short and sweet. Don’t overdo it, and stop before your cat gets distressed. Make sure you don’t make it a trip to the groomers or vet if you cat becomes anxious going there.
Keeping the trips positive and brief makes a big difference in how you cat will perceive the carrier.
We loved this ultra modern looking cat backpack, and our furry friend was happy too. Out of all our picks, this one offers some of the best views for your cat. They get 180 degrees of unimpeded space to look through.
It has plenty of ventilation, with 9 vents we were confident our cat was getting plenty of fresh air on the ride. It’s designed to keep cats comfortable, and from getting too hot. We really appreciated that, because our cat loves going on those long nature walks with us.
It has an extra lock, so if you have a tricky cat you don’t have to worry about them getting loose.
This is by far one of the best cat backpack carriers you can get if you travel frequently; it’s airline approved, so you have less hassle to deal with.
- Holds most small to medium cats (up to 12 lbs)
- Can be used for pet transport on airlines
- Extra large viewing area keeps cats happy
- Very durable and scratch resistance
- Seems to get stuffy if it’s too hot and humid
Best Design: HBuir Innovative Diamond Traveler Pet Carrier
We won’t fault you for being immediately drawn to the look of this cat backpack carrier. It’s sleek matte black with a distinct intergalactic, industrial appeal. Looks aside, this is designed to give your cat tons of room.
We loved how the boxy, angled designed gives the interior the feel of more space, and our cats did too. If you like to give your cat an extra blanket for the ride, it’s roomy enough for that too.
There’s plenty of mesh along the sides, and added to the ventilation holes, it does a great job of keeping cats cool. Another thing we liked was the dome: it can be switched for mesh or transparent plastic, depending on the weather.
If you have a big cat, don’t worry. This carrier holds up to 18 lbs.
- Unique head turning design
- Much roomier on the inside than other cat backpacks
- Dome can be changed between plastic and mesh
- Carrying capacity of up to 18lbs
- The outer shell doesn’t have as high impact resistance
Best for Curious Cats:
This is a cat backpack carrier that really lets cats get the full experience. How so? It has a little porthole at the top, which allows your cat to peep their head out as they adventure alongside you.
Why not let your furry friend have a more outdoorsy experience when you bring them along? We liked how dynamic it is, since you can easily use if for a smaller dog too.
Of course, you already know how mischievous cats can be, and that’s why there’s an internal leash attachment to keep them from getting lost. It was also nice to be able to pick from a variety of sizes, and they’ll hold most cats up to 12 lbs.
- Unique design allows cat to peep out without needing a window
- The internal leash makes us feel more secure having the cat in
- Plenty of size choices to fit all cats
- Make sure you use a short lease inside so your cat doesn’t jump out
Biggest Backpack Carrier:
Main Coons, Savannahs, Ragamuffins, oh my! We know as well as anyone else how much we love our cats, no matter what size they are. However, if you’re looking for a cat backpack carrier, it’s much easier to find one for a 7lb cat than it is for a 20lb cat.
With that in mind, we wanted to check out the Fat Cat Backpack. This is the biggest backpack carrier for cats that we could find, and we were pleasantly surprised. It can hold cats up to about 20 lbs, and it’s definitely built to be sturdy enough to handle our large cats.
We felt really good about using this carrier when our hefty feline was able to fully lay down and nap on the bottom, so it might be worth checking out if you have a large cat yourself.
- Well reinforced with very strong mesh netting
- Holds up to about 20 lbs
- Included clip and bungee system inside for better security
- It’s one of the biggest cat backpack carriers available
- Shoulder straps can get uncomfortable on longer outings
Most cat backpack carriers go to great lengths to give your cat as much viewing room as possible. The Texsens cat carrier actually gives them 360 degree views, which our cat loved.
It has a clear dome bubble that lets your cat get a clear view, and mesh all around the sides for added visibility and ventilation.
Another thing we appreciated was how well it kept its shape: where some cat backpacks tend to sink once your cat’s inside, the bottom of this one stayed nice and flat. Another bonus feature: you can open it from the top or the side to let your cat inside, which is nice for owners of stubborn cats. I
t makes training cats to use backpack carriers somewhat easier too, so if you’re trying to introduce your cat to the idea, it’s a good place to start.
- Keeps shape well, doesn’t sink when your cat’s inside
- Easier to get cat in with front and side loading options
- Allows cats 360 degree views
- Removable pad makes cleaning easy
- You have to install the bubble dome yourself
There’s no rule that says you can’t take your cats on a walk (or even a hike) with you. However, you don’t have to struggle with a leash either, and these cat backpack carriers prove it.
While every cat is different, the backpack carrier for cats that stands above the rest as a favorite is the Texsens Bubble Cat Backpack.
For us, the ability to get our cat into the carrier from either the top or side was a game changer, and by far the quickest way to get going.
As far as the cat’s review goes? After going out once and having so much to see, it was a treat to go again (and very little hesitation getting into the carrier).