Dogs get to go out for walks every day with their best friend, so why can’t cats?
There’s no reason you can’t pack up your best feline friend for a fun adventure every day, too. Many cats don’t take too well to walking with a leash, but that shouldn’t stop you from taking them outside for some time in nature.
With the right cat backpack, you and your kitty can go out exploring in your neighborhood, on the hiking trails, or wherever your next flight takes you. You only need to do your due diligence in researching the best backpack for you and your kitty’s needs.
Below is our list of the best backpacks for cats on the market today.
Our review process is unbiased and based on extensive research. If you buy through the links on our site, we may earn a commission.
Quick-Find Best Cat Backpacks
- Well-ventilated for optimal airflow
- Comfortable to wear
- Added safety strap to ensure no escape artistry can occur
Best For Large Cats
- 26-pound capacity
- Bubble window for optimal viewing opportunities
- Top opening for curious (but trustworthy) kitties to peer from
Best For Curious Kitties
- Expands into a tent bed
- Huge viewing window
- Side access openings
- Expand up to additional 90% of regular size
- Multiple entrances for easy access
- 4-side breathable mesh window for optimal ventilation
- Innovative and fashionable design
- Smart Level Platform to prevent rollovers when used in roller mode
- Easily access top and front doors
- Durable polyester design
- Padded handle and shoulder strap
- Best for smaller cats
- Use as a backpack, pull it like rollable luggage, or carry it by a handle
- Three ventilation mesh panels for optimal airflow
- Easy to maneuver
What is a Cat Backpack?
A cat backpack is exactly as it sounds – a backpack for your cats. These handy little carriers provide you with a way to take your pet outside the home in a safe and vet-approved manner.
Cats, especially those that are indoor only, can benefit in many ways by spending time outdoors. Dr. Michelle Burch, our veterinary advisor, weighs in on the importance of outdoor time for indoor cats.
Cats that can go outdoors are gaining a fantastic environmental enrichment time, helping decrease anxiety and stress. Cats want to watch birds, squirrels, and bugs to break up their sometimes monotonous life.Dr. Michelle Burch, Catological Veterinary Advisor
Imagine being cooped up in your home all day. You wouldn’t like it much, would you? The same goes for our pets. A little change of scenery is sometimes all it needs to perk up an otherwise down-in-the-dumps cat.
Dr. Burch also suggests that the outdoor environment improves your cat’s mental health by giving them new smells, signs, and sounds.
What Types of Cat Backpacks Are There?
Now that you know what a cat backpack is and its benefits, it’s time to learn more about the bags themselves. There are several different types of cat backpacks to consider.
Bubble backpacks feature a big bubble in the front for your cat to peer out of. Think of this type of bag as providing a picture window for your pet. It gives a clear view of the surroundings without any obstructions.
Mesh backpacks are usually made from a polyester or canvas material and feature mesh panels for both ventilation and viewing.
Airline-approved backpacks are exactly as they sound – backpacks that have been approved for air travel. These carriers need to be a particular dimension to fit under the seat ahead of you.
Travel backpack carriers are a whole other beast. These travel systems provide the most versatility as they can be used in many ways – as a backpack, as a wheeled carrier, or with a handle.
When Would You Use a Cat Backpack?
You could use your backpack carrier whenever and wherever you and your kitty please.
We recommend starting out small so as to not overload your cat on day one. Let them get used to the backpack before going on longer journeys with them. You don’t want to commit to a three-mile hike only to find that they’re stressed out and hissing after the first 500 feet.
You might use your new backpack while walking around the neighborhood. Maybe you’ll take your cat camping or on hikes with you and keep them safe and cozy inside their backpack. Perhaps you’re traveling overseas and need an easy way to transport your pet in the airport.
The possibilities are endless!
Do Cats Enjoy Being in a Cat Backpack?
This depends entirely on your cat. You know your animal best. If they’re an indoor cat showing great interest in going outdoors, a cat backpack is a safe way to introduce them.
Some cats won’t like being cooped up in a small space, while others will enjoy having their curiosity piqued as the two of you explore the world together. A cat bubble backpack might be too overwhelming for one cat, while another might love having a front-row seat to the world.
“Many cats will not immediately be keen on the backpack,” Dr. Burch says. “Introduction to the backpack needs to happen before heading out for your first trip with your cat. I recommend keeping the backpack out in your cat’s environment to sniff and explore on their own time.”
Give your cat time to become acquainted with the backpack before putting them in it for the first time. You can try putting their favorite treat or catnip inside to encourage them to crawl in and explore it.
Dr. Burch also suggests encouraging your cat to use the backpack by placing a blanket on the backpack’s bottom when your cat is in the exploration stage of the new item. Cats love enclosures and making the area a homey place will encourage calm trips.
What to Look For When Buying a Good Cat Backpack
Not all cat carrier backpacks are created equally, and you don’t want to skimp out when it comes to the safety of your beloved pet. Read on to learn what you need to consider before buying a high-quality backpack.
The size of the backpack you buy for your pet is of utmost importance. The last thing you want is to spend your hard-earned money on a cat travel backpack that your pet won’t even fit in.
Take into account the physical dimensions of the backpack but its weight and weight capacity, too.
If you have a bad back, you don’t want to be lugging around a 10-pound backpack with your 12-pound cat in it. That’s an extra 22 pounds you’ll be wearing on your back, which won’t do you a bit of good.
Be sure to measure your pet to ensure they’ll physically fit in the backpack and also weigh them to ensure they’re the right size for the carrier you’ve chosen.
When considering the comfort of your cat-carrying backpack, think about both yourself and your pet.
Your cat isn’t going to want to be lugged around in a carrier that they’re not comfortable in. Nor are you going to want to carry a heavy and uneven load on your back for extended periods.
Not only does the carrier need to be the right size with structure so it doesn’t cave in on your cat, but it needs to be made so you can wear it comfortably.
Look for options with padded and adjustable straps. The most adjustable the backpack, the easier it’ll be for you to find a comfortable fit.
First, consider the materials that it’s made out of. Does it have a poor-quality mesh that could be clawed at and ripped open? If your cat is a scratcher, you might find that they’re able to rip open the mesh and potentially escape.
Next, inspect the zippers and seams. The zippers should all be locking and seams all secure to prevent escape artistry.
If your cat is smart and you’re concerned they may find a way to escape anyway, find an option with safety connectors for your cat’s harness. That way you can connect your cat to the backpack, so if they were to try and make a run for it when you open the bag, they wouldn’t get far.
While a cat backpack might seem like a pretty straightforward piece of equipment at first, the truth is that it can serve many functions.
Some of the options in our list act only as a backpack. Others are versatile enough to function as entire travel systems, complete with wheels and telescoping handles for easy transporting in and out of airports and airplanes.
If you want a cat backpack only for walks and hikes, you don’t need to shell out the extra money for a carrier with wheels or handles unless you know you’ll find the load on your back to be too heavy. You can still use carriers with wheels to walk around your neighborhood!
You might also consider backpacks with side pockets for storage purposes. Will your cat want to play with their toys or snack on the go? Do you need somewhere to store your snacks?
A poor-quality bag made with untrustworthy stitching or poor-quality mesh is just asking to be destroyed on your first outing. Look for options made with materials like canvas, polyester, or nylon. These are not only easy to clean but durable, too.
Ease of Use/Cleaning
If you’ve ever tried putting an unwilling cat into, well, anywhere, you know how difficult it can be. The last thing you want to do is try to squeeze a flailing cat into a tiny opening. The best cat backpacks will open wide, so it’s easier to set your kitty in before your next adventure.
You also will want a backpack that’s easy to clean in case an accident occurs. If your cat vomits in the backpack or uses it as a toilet, laundering it needs to be a cinch.
It doesn’t take much for a cat to become overheated, especially in such a confined space. While it’s unlikely your kitty will suffer from hyperthermia from a short jaunt outside, it’s better to be safe than sorry. That’s why airflow is one of the most important factors to consider before thinking about purchasing a kitty backpack carrier.
The perfect backpack has plenty of mesh windows and ventilation holes. The bigger the windows, the better. Just be sure to listen and watch for signs of your cat scratching the mesh material. It is not indestructible and can be ripped open if your pet is determined enough.
Watch for signs of overheating when using the backpack, especially on warmer days. Overheating will look like open-mouth breathing, panting, or drooling.
Best Cat Backpack Product Reviews
PetAmi Premium Pet Carrier Backpack
Dimensions: 11.5 x 9 x 16 inches
Weight: 1.95 pounds
Overall Rating: 4.9 out of 5 stars
The PetAmi kitty backpack is at the top of our list not only for its design, durability, and convenience but also for its very affordable price point. It’s quite a bit cheaper than most of the other options on our list, but don’t let that low price fool you into thinking it’s poor quality.
This beautiful pet backpack wins our Editors Choice award because it’s the most well-rounded option on the market today. Not only is it quite lovely to look at, but it’s functional as well.
- Sherpa-lined bed for your cat to snuggle up in
- Two Large Mesh windows provide a well-ventilated space as well as a great view for your kitty
- Padded shoulder straps for comfort
- Waist and Chest buckles for additional support
- Reinforced structure to prevent cave-in
- Collapsible bowl for giving your cat food and water during long hikes
- 9 different colors
- Safety buckle and leash for attaching to your cat’s harness to prevent escape
- Larger cats may need more room
Overall, the PetAmi backpack wins our vote as the best option on the market. It provides an optimal amount of airflow in a durable and well-designed package. We loved that the manufacturer includes a free collapsible bowl for easy feeding and watering on your adventures.
However, if your cat is larger, we would suggest opting for a different pack such as the Lollimeow (see below) as the PetAmi is ideally suited for more petite felines.
Best For Large Cats
Lollimeow Large Pet Carrier Backpack
Dimensions: 17.7 x 11.4 x 15 inches
Weight: 3.6 pounds
Material: Canvas and mesh
Overall Rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars
If you’re searching high and low for a high-quality cat bubble backpack, look no further. Lollimeow brings us this useful and durable option perfect for cats of all shapes and sizes.
Designed for up to 26 pounds of cat. There is plenty of space inside this well-structured backpack for them to feel safe.
One of the big selling points of this option is its bubble window. While the mesh panels seen in other similar backpacks are nice for ventilation, they don’t provide a 180-degree viewing window like the bubble can.
I like the design of this backpact to replace the bubble window with a mesh window depending on the need for privacy or fresh air.
Dr. Michelle Burch, Catological Veterinary Advisor
- Strongly built to support large cats
- Removable bubble window with 180° view
- Durable scratch-proof canvas
- Excellent ventilation with three air holes underneath the bubble and a ventilation net on top
- Pockets on both sides for storing treats, cat food or whatever else you need on your adventures
- Padded shoulder straps for comfort
- Thick back panel to support big kitties
- Product images may be misleading as this cat backpack tends to be smaller than the image makes it appear
- The bubble is not the highest quality plastic
Overall, the Lollimeow is our favorite bubble backpack on the market.
This product will be a godsend for you if it’s been challenging to find a carrier that will suit your fat or larger breed cat. Curious kitties of all sizes will love to peer out the top opening or look through the bubble window.
Best For Curious Kitties
halinfer Expandable Cat Backpack
Dimensions: 13 x 16.5 x 11 inches
Weight: 2.5 lbs
Material: Oxford 600D
Overall Rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars
If your cat is on the curious side, they’re going to love tagging along on hikes when they’re in the Halinfer bubble backpack. This bag allows your pet to have the best view while you’re adventuring together.
- Entirely transparent bubble with an almost 180-degree view
- 9 vent holes surrounding the backpack to provide your cat with the ventilation they need
- Expandable into a giant tent to give your kitty more space when you stop for breaks
- Made with non-toxic and pet-safe materials
- Extra lightweight at just 2.5 pounds to make transporting your cat easier
- Built-in leash and clip for your cat’s harness to keep your cat safe and prevent escape
- Designed for cats up to 12 pounds only. While this is fine for most small and medium-sized cats, if your cat is on the larger side, you will want to consider other options like the Lollimeow mentioned above.
- The bubble is less ventilated than other bags on our list. If you live in a hot climate or do a lot of exploring in warmer temperatures, consider a bag with mesh to ensure kitty won’t overheat.
This bubble cat backpack provides unbeatable value for a low price.
If you hope to go on long hikes with your cat, this might not be the best option. There are other more ergonomic choices on the market. But, if you’re searching for a versatile carrier at a low price point, this is it!
Pecute Pet Carrier Backpack
Dimensions: 16.5 x 13.8 x 11 inches
Weight: 3.5 pounds
Material: Oxford and mesh
Overall Rating: 4.4 out of 5 stars
Though this backpack may look similar to some of the other options on our list, there are some key differences that really set it apart. Perhaps the biggest advantage of this bag is how expandable it is!
- Expandable up to 90% increase in space for when you take breaks
- Made of environmentally-friendly Oxford material making it resistant to both wear and cat scratches
- There are four side mesh ventilation windows to ensure proper airflow and breathability.
- Adjustable shoulder straps to reduce load and keep you safe
- Honeycomb mesh back cushion for your comfort
- Built-in hook for additional safety. If your cat is fast, you can know they won’t be able to escape when you open the bag to get them out.
- Firm interior bottom ensures the bag holds its shape and won’t cave in on your pet
- Side door that you can completely unzip if you so wish. Though this wouldn’t be useful on the go, you can unzip it to let your pet in and out when you stop for breaks or when you’re finished with your adventure. There are also top and front entrances as well.
- One of the biggest drawbacks of this bag is that it’s not well-suited for airline travel. It’s just too big to fit properly underneath the seat in front of you.
- Unreliable zippers. Sometimes the zippers open themselves after they’re zipped up, and other times they break altogether.
This backpack has a lot of amazing features that make it an excellent and affordable pick for all budgets. We loved how well-made the bag is and how it evenly distributes the weight on our backs.
While it could use better zippers and a bit more padding in the lower back, the Pecute is still a great buy.
Gen7Pets Geometric Roller with Smart-Level
Dimensions: 11.5 x 18.5 x 19 inches
Weight: 6.8 pounds
Material: Polyester and mesh
Overall Rating: 4.3 out of 5 stars
This striking-looking pet backpack wins our Most Stylish award as its lovely design makes it desirable for anyone who wants to look good transporting their cat. It has a host of features like Smart-Level Platform and Smart-Comfort Pad that help it earn its place on our list.
- Smart-Level Platform that ensures your pet won’t be able to tip it over when it’s on the ground or when you’re pulling it behind you
- Comfortable interior
- Removable and machine washable interior pad, so you never have to worry about it getting soiled on your trips
- Doors on top and front to allow easy loading and access to your cat
- Mesh windows on the side for breathability and ventilation
- Two side pockets for treats, toys, or your cat’s favorite leash and harness.
- Two sizes – one for cats up to 10 pounds and one for cats up to 20 pounds. The smaller size is airline-compliant for most airlines, though we always recommend giving them a call with the carrier dimensions before booking a trip.
- Seatbelt strap and tethers to ensure a safe car ride for your cat
- High-priced. While you do receive a lot of value and versatility with this product, the cost might be inaccessible for some families.
- This product lacks a chest strap which would make using it in backpack mode a little more comfortable. This is especially a concern if you want to take longer hikes.
The Gen7Pets Geometric Roller is a beautiful-looking carrier and backpack with a lot of great features. It’s made of high-quality materials and is built like a rock, so you never have to worry about your cats feeling unsafe or insecure as they travel.
If you’re looking for a way to transport your cat in cars, airports, and even on a plane, this cat carrier is a great pick. It’s not as comfortable as other options when using it in backpack-mode, but it does the trick for shorter distances.
Jespet Dog & Cat Carrier
Dimensions: 17 x 13 x 12 inches
Weight: 2.4 pounds
Overall Rating: 4.2 out of 5 stars
If you’re looking for a cat backpack without all the extra bells and whistles, JesPet has you covered. This simple and straightforward backpack is about as easy to use as they come, but it still has many great features your cat will love.
- Very lightweight. At just 2.4 pounds, making it one of our guide’s lightest options
- Made with durable, strong polyester material to withstand any adventure
- Padded handle and shoulder straps for your comfort
- The back of the carrier has padding and ventilation to ensure you stay dry and comfortable
- Safety buckle to help you feel more secure transporting your pet
- The bottom is very sturdy, providing your cat with the security they may need to feel comfortable inside
- Zippered pocket on the side for treats and toys for kitty or a snack for you.
- Foldable design makes it a cinch to store if you have limited space in your home
- You can tip the backpack on its back for traveling in vehicles to provide more room for your cat to stretch out
- Large mesh door in the front and on top for breathability and ventilation
- The sherpa lining on the inside is removable and machine washable on a gentle cycle. We recommend washing it zipped up to ensure it won’t unravel.
- The straps may not be long enough for larger cat owners. The straps are a little stiffer than we’re used to, which can become a bit of a concern when considering comfort for the wearer.
- Another comfort complaint is that the backpack’s stiff plastic bottom can dig into the wearer’s back. This may or may not be an issue depending upon how you’re built and how long your torso is.
Overall, the JesPet cat carrier is a well-made and affordable cat backpack. Its mesh windows are large, but it could have more ventilation holes on the side for additional comfort.
While the weight limit is 16 pounds, it does seem to work better for cats smaller in size. The smaller your pet, the more comfortable they’ll be inside.
KOPEKS Deluxe Backpack Pet Travel Carrier with Double Wheels
Dimensions: 13 x 12 x 20 inches
Weight: 6 pounds
Material: Oxford fabric
Overall Rating: 4.1 out of 5 stars
If you know your cat is prone to overheating, you may have resigned yourself to a life free of cat backpacks. It doesn’t have to be that way, though. This airline-approved travel backpack from KOPEKS is well ventilated for your pet’s comfort.
- This carrier can be used in three ways – 1) on its wheels with the handle, 2) on your back with the shoulder straps, or 3) by your side with the strap handle.
- Almost entirely mesh construction. This improves your cat’s comfort by ensuring maximum ventilation and breathability.
- Made of Oxford fabric for high durability and resistance to deformation. Oxford is also known for its water resistance.
- Two large pockets for storage.
- Telescoping handle for easy wheeling
- Comfortable shoulder strap to relieve some of the load on your shoulders
- One of the drawbacks of this carrying system is that there are no chest or waist straps. While it’s still comfortable to wear on your back, the additional straps would provide further comfort and ergonomics.
- The weight limit on this carrier is relatively low when we compare it to others on our list. The manufacturer suggests it’s best for animals around 10 pounds.
- There doesn’t seem to be a way to tether the carrier in your vehicle safely.
Overall, the KOPEKS carrier is an excellent pick as an affordable travel system. Its mostly-mesh construction makes it perfect for treks during the warmer months to ensure your cat won’t overheat.
The carrier is perfect for people who plan on doing a lot of airline travel with their cats. It fits under the seat on most airplanes, but be sure to contact your airline before traveling to avoid disappointment.
It is a bit smaller than some of the other backpacks on our list, so be sure to measure your cat before purchasing to be sure they’ll fit.