If you want to take your cat somewhere, your options are often limited. Some cats will walk on a leash, but not all felines feel comfortable walking around somewhere new. Plus, this assumes that your feline has been trained to walk on a leash.
Your other options include a cat carrier, but these can be heavy and require the use of one of your arms. Cat backpacks are another solution that is most suitable for longer trips. You can simply throw your cat onto your back and get going! Of course, for it to be an easy and stress-less experience for both you and your feline, it is important to invest in a quality cat backpack.
Our reviews below cover some of the most popular cat backpacks on the market. Each has a slightly different design, which may make it more suitable for certain situations. Hopefully, our reviews below will help you decide on the best cat backpack for you and your cat.
A Quick Comparison of Our Winners of 2023
|Best Overall||Jespet Pet Carrier Backpack||
|Best Value||Pet Gear Pet Backpack & Roller||
|ibiyaya Two-Tier Pet Backpack||
|Pet Gear Traveler Pet Backpack||
|KOPEKS Backpack Pet Carrier||
The 10 Best Cat Backpacks
1. Jespet Dog & Cat Carrier Backpack – Best Overall
Out of all the cat backpacks on the market, the Jespet Dog & Cat Carrier Backpack stood out as the best. It contains enough space for most cats, providing them with enough room to stand and turn around with ease. The panels are mesh so that your cat can see out and actually see what is going on. These mesh panels also provide quite a bit of ventilation – a feature that is especially important in hotter climates.
The door is large, making it easier to get your cat in and out. Padded handles and shoulder straps provide plenty of comfort to the wearer and prevent back fatigue. A side pocket makes storage for treats, collapsible water bowls, and other travel gear easy. With this bag, you can keep everything your cat needs with your cat.
This bag is also made of durable polyester, so it can withstand quite a bit of use. It is best for hiking, camping, and even airplane travel. This bag is airline-approved, so you can take your cat on a plane with one. However, airlines have varying requirements, so be sure to ask before you show up at the airport. With all these features, this is the overall best cat backpack carrier you can purchase.
2. Pet Gear I-GO2 Cat Backpack & Rolling Carrier – Best Value
The Pet Gear I-GO2 Sport Dog & Cat Backpack & Rolling Carrier is designed to be worn as a backpack and rolled across the ground like a suitcase. It is very versatile for this reason, though it is still much cheaper than most of the competition. You can use it effectively as a backpack, carrier, or car seat. A removable pad allows you to early wash the bag should your cat have any accidents. There is also a tether included on the inside, allowing you to easily tether your cat to the inside if you need to. All in all, this is the best cat backpack for the money.
A wheel cover allows you to covert this carrier into a bag without much of a problem. There are two different storage pouches on either side of the bag for storing your pet’s travel necessities. A telescoping handle allows the bag to be used as a suitcase and then quickly converted into a backpack. It stores similar to a suitcase. The whole bag is waterproof and made of nylon. Mesh if features on the sides and front of the bag to encourage plenty of ventilation.
Like many bags on this list, this one is really only suitable for smaller cats. It will only fit tiny cats and isn’t as larger as some of the other options. If you have a smaller cat, though, then this bag can be an extremely affordable option. It is the best cat carrier backpack for the money, as long as it can fit your cat.
3. ibiyaya Two-Tier Dog & Cat Travel Backpack
For those with multiple cats, the ibiyaya Two-Tier Dog & Cat Travel Backpack maybe your best option. As the name suggests, it can be used to hold two cats at the same time, thanks to the double-decker design. It is lightweight despite its somewhat larger design, making it comfortable to wear for extended periods. It is crafted out of durably nylon and plastic, allowing it to withstand rougher treatment.
Each level features plenty of padding and structure to keep your cats comfortable and secure as you travel. Mesh windows allow for plenty of air to circulate, though this bag does not allow as much circulation as other bags.
Side pockets are included so that you can carry all of your additional accessories while you travel. It easily fits water bottles and similar necessities. It can also be transformed into a car seat so that your pet can remain secure while you drive.
4. Pet Gear I-GO2 Traveler Pet Backpack & Rolling Carrier
The Pet Gear I-GO2 Traveler Dog & Cat Backpack & Rolling Carrier is designed to be used for both cats and dogs. It is very similar to the other carriers we’ve reviewed thus far. It can be used as both a rolling carrier and as a backpack, depending on your preference and the situation. You can also use it as a tote or as a car seat for even safer travel. It can be used for longer road trips, as well as veterinary appointments.
It is only made for small animals, so you likely won’t be able to carry larger cats with much success. It is only made for pets up to 15 pounds. The liner on top is made of fleece for plenty of comfort. It also includes a removable pad that you can easily clean after each use.
A telescoping handle stores easily and allows for fast conversions. The sides are expandable to provide extra storage, and the pouches allow you to easily store everything your feline needs for the trip. The polyester design is water-resistant. It features some mesh to encourage airflow, though it doesn’t include as much mesh as other designs.
5. KOPEKS Deluxe Backpack Dog & Cat Carrier
While the KOPEKS Deluxe Backpack Dog & Cat Carrier is advertised as “deluxe,” it isn’t quite as good as the bags we’ve previously listed. It is designed to work in three different ways. You can use it as a rolling carrier, use the backpack straps, or carry it with the strap handle. The two-wheeled design makes it very easy to transport this bag long distances, while it quickly transforms into a backpack for those times when you’re walking over unsteady ground.
One of its best features is that it can work for cats up to 18 pounds, which should cover even the largest felines. It is approved by a few different airlines, so you may be able to take it on your flight as well. Three mesh panels allow for you to see your cat and encourage plenty of air ventilation.
This pet carrier is rather large, so some users found it a bit inconvenient. Some airlines won’t let you use it on-board due to its larger size, while others simply didn’t like how much room it took up while on-board. The handle bar is not extremely stable, which can be a problem for long-term use.
6. MidWest Day Tripper Dog & Cat Backpack
The MidWest Day Tripper Dog & Cat Backpack is extremely simple. It can be used as a backpack and only a backpack. This can be great if you’re just looking for a backpack, but this can be a letdown if you’re looking for a bag that also works as a rolling carrier. It is somewhat expensive, especially when compared to some of the cheaper options on this list. This carrier is designed to work for cats up to 10 pounds, which should work for smaller felines. However, it likely won’t be able to fit larger ones.
The cushioned shoulders are quite comfortable, and the bag even features a waist strap to minimize unnecessary discomfort while you’re transporting your feline. An internal leash is available if you need to secure your cat even more while traveling, especially if you need to open up the bag for any reason. The interior is also padded and features quite a bit of mesh to encourage proper ventilation.
A few side storage pockets are included, but these are not as extensive as other options. Some airlines have approved this bag, but it is important to double-check with your airline before assuming that this is a suitable bag option.
7. Gen7Pets Roller with Smart-Level Pet Carrier Backpack
Compared to most options on this list, the Gen7Pets Geometric Roller with Smart-Level Dog & Cat Carrier Backpack is rather expensive. It is twice the cost of some other carriers out there. It comes in two different varieties: one that can hold up to 10 pounds and another that can hold cats up to 20 pounds. As you might expect, the larger bag is the most expensive option.
The bag features a unique geometric design that prevents your pet from tipping over when set down. It is also quite padded on the inside, so it may be more comfortable for your feline. Side storage pockets allow you to easily keep treats, food, and water in easy access. It comes with both a top and front door so that you can access your cat easily. Mesh surrounds the bag to promote healthy ventilation and prevent your cat from getting too hot.
This carrier is not approved for most airlines, as it is quite large. Be sure to call and check the dimensions of the bag, as it will depend largely on the exact aircraft you’re getting on. The retaining straps in the bag end to tangle up the pet’s feet, so many users have the straps removed.
8. Mr. Peanut’s Convertible Airline Approved Pet Carrier
The Mr. Peanut’s Monterey Series Convertible Backpack Airline Approved Cat & Dog Carrier was designed for air travel in mind. It is approved to fit onto most airlines, though you should still call and double-check before heading to your flight. It is suitable for pets up to 18 pounds, so it should be able to carry most cats. The zippers on the bag automatically lock to keep your pet safe while you’re traveling, and the internal padding provides plenty of comfort.
This bag does include some mesh, but not nearly as much as other bags. This may restrict the ventilation on the inside of the bag and can be particularly troublesome in hotter climates. The bag is very long, which can make it a bit awkward to carry as well.
9. Kurgo K9 Dog & Cat Carrier Backpack
While the Kurgo K9 Dog & Cat Carrier Backpack does look very sleek, there are several reasons we typically don’t recommend it for most situations. The ventilation is extremely poor. It only includes a few spots of mesh, which are actually not very much like mesh at all. This is particularly troublesome in hotter climates. It only includes a small pocket for storage, so you’ll likely need an extra bag to carry all of your cat’s equipment.
This bag does not include much structure. There is nothing to keep the inside of the bag off of your feline, so it will “fold in” in some situations. The only rigid piece of structure is on the base of the carrier. You also can’t see your pet at all on the inside, so this can be worrisome for some cat owners. It does include a teether on the inside. However, this teether is not adjustable in the least. This can be a problem for some cats.
The bottom is waterproof, which is a nice addition. It also has a very sleek and modern style, so you may like the aesthetics of this bag more than others. The pads on the inside are removable for easy cleaning. With all that said, though, this bag is not terribly high-quality when compared to other options on the market.
10. K9 Sport Sack Trainer Dog & Cat Carrier Backpack
The K9 Sport Sack Trainer Dog & Cat Carrier Backpack is designed to be a minimalist backpack for cats and dogs. It is much smaller and features a different design than most bags. However, it isn’t really designed to contain your feline. Instead, the head of your cat will need to stick out. This may work for friendly dogs, but most cats will not appreciate it and can easily worm their way out of this bag. It doesn’t actually do much to keep your cat in it.
It is also only designed for shorter trips. The bag doesn’t feature significant amounts of lumbar support and doesn’t have a sternum strap, making it uncomfortable for whoever is carrying the bag. The base of the bag also tends to dig into the user’s back, which can make it significantly uncomfortable for even short trips.
This bag may work for laidback dogs, but it likely won’t work for most cats.
Buyer’s Guide: Choosing the Best Cat Backpack
When choosing the best cat backpack for your feline, you need to keep both your and your cat’s comfort in mind. The bag needs to be suitable for your cat, with plenty of air ventilation and structure. However, it also needs to be comfortable and easy for you to use.
This is a lot to keep in mind. It can be difficult to choose just the right bag for your feline simply due to all the features you need to keep in mind. In this portion of the article, we’ll teach you everything you need to know to select the perfect backpack carrier for your cat.
You can’t simply close your cat up in a bag and expect them to be okay. They need proper ventilation and airflow to stay healthy while being transported. Otherwise, they can become oxygen-deficient, sick, and potentially even need emergency vet care.
Luckily, most backpack carrier designers understand this and have made their bags with plenty of mesh. Mesh allows your cat to breathe freely and provides plenty of ventilation. However, it also keeps your cat securely inside the bag. They’ll be able to see out as well, and, more importantly, you’ll be able to keep a close eye on them. Mesh is absolutely necessary for any of these carriers.
While most backpack carriers include mesh of some sort, some include more than others. In general, it is best to choose a bag with more mesh. Your cat really can’t get too much airflow, but they can absolutely get too little.
Typically, bags don’t need much internal structure. However, when you’re carrying a cat around, it is important that the bag stays open on the inside. If it closes in on your cat, not only can your cat get panicked, but it can also be a suffocation risk. A large bag doesn’t mean much if it collapses as soon as you put your cat in it.
Most cat carrier backpacks do have some structure of some sort. Most will not simply collapse and lay on your cat. However, this isn’t always the case, so it is important to check. Otherwise, you may end up with a practically unusable bag.
Ease of Cleaning
When you’re putting your cat into a bag, there is bound to be a mess at the end of the trip. Even if your cat doesn’t have any accidents, the cat fur can get everywhere. For this reason, we highly recommend bags with pads that can be removed and machine washed. If the whole bag can be machined washed, even better.
The important part is that the bag can be cleaned quite easily. If you have to spend an hour removing cat fur after each use, then you probably aren’t going to be using the bag all that often.
The price tag of cat carrier backpacks varies widely. Some are as cheap as $20, while others are over $200. The price isn’t necessarily tied to the features a bag has. Instead, it seems to be more of a matter of how the bag looks. Ultra-modern bags are often more expensive, even if they don’t particularly get the job done any better than other bags. We highly recommend selecting a bag that works instead of one that just looks good.
Prioritize function over appearance.
Of course, only you know your budget. If you can spend more on this purchase, you may be able to get some nice but unnecessary features. Luckily, even if you have a fairly small budget, you can typically find a very useable backpack that fits your needs.
In our reviews, we included a variety of different price points, so you should find something fitting for your needs.
The backpack needs to be both comfortable for you and comfortable for your cat as well. Even if your cat isn’t too large, the extra weight on your back can be extremely uncomfortable if you choose a lower-quality backpack. It is important to ensure that the shoulder straps are well-padded and well-designed. Otherwise, you may develop shoulder pain after only a few hours of carrying your cat around.
At the same time, the inside of the bag needs to be comfortable for your feline as well. Padding is often necessary to keep your cat feeling safe and secure inside the bag. Padding can come in all sorts of different qualities, though, so it is important that the padding included is comfortable and can shield your cat from any blows.
Ease of Use
Getting your cat in and out of the bag shouldn’t be difficult. Large doors can help this, as trying to shove your cat through a tiny hole can be extremely difficult. Of course, a bit of training and acclimation can make the bag far easier to use. It is important to train your feline to use the bag as well as choose a bag that’s easy to use.
If the bag changes from a rolling carrier to a backpack, it is important that it can make these changes quickly with your cat inside. You don’t want to have to fiddle with that bag for ten minutes each time you need to make a switch. Otherwise, you probably won’t be using the bag much at all. If it is difficult to transform the bag while you’re using it, then you’ll likely find that it is less versatile than you originally thought.
For most cats, we recommend the Jespet Dog & Cat Carrier Backpack as the best cat backpack. It has padded shoulder straps and handles to ensure that you’re comfortable while using the bag. The mesh sides improve the ventilation and help your feline get plenty of oxygen while being transported. It’s decently inexpensive as well, especially when compared to some of the “deluxe” options out there.
If you’re looking for something extremely cheap, we recommend the Pet Gear I-GO2 Sport Dog & Cat Backpack & Rolling Carrier as the best cat backpack for the money. This carrier is much cheaper than most others, but it performs the basic functions very well. It can even transform into a rolling carrier for those times when you need to make extremely long treks. It can be used outside thanks to its weather-proof materials, and the padding can easily be removed and washed.
We hope that our reviews allowed you to pick the best bag for your needs. There are many bags out there on the market, but choosing one that fits your needs may require a bit of digging. Our buyer’s guide can help you consider what features you need when searching for the perfect bag.
Featured Image Credit: Nils Jacobi, Shutterstock