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Are Cat Backpacks Safe? (Overview & How To Travel With Your Cat)

If you're planning on bringing your cat with you while you're traveling, it's important that you're keeping your cat safe. A great way to ensure that your cat is comfortable throughout the entire journey is to use a cat backpack.  

In this guide, we'll cover everything you need to know about cat backpacks, from answering questions such as ‘are cat backpacks safe?’ to figuring out if your cats like them and more.  

What Exactly Are Cat Backpacks? (Overview + Pros & Cons) 

A cat backpack looks similar to a regular backpack, but instead, you can place your cat in your backpack and bring your cat with you while you're traveling. Material-wise, cat backpacks come in a wide variety of materials, from plastic to mesh or fabric. There are also some cat backpacks that are specially made for outdoor activities such as camping and can expand to offer your pet more room.

There are a couple of pros and cons of cat backpacks, and we will discuss them in greater detail below:


  • Safe – Cat backpacks can make cats feel very safe since they’re perched up on their human’s back.  
  • Cozy – Cats like tight spaces, and cat backpacks can make your cat feel both cozy and comfortable.  
  • Hands-free – With a cat backpack, you will be able to multitask while you’re on your hikes or trips. Some cat backpacks also come with additional pockets.
  • Comfort – Most cat backpacks are exceptionally comfortable for both the cat and the owner.  


  • Minimal space – While cats might like cozy spaces, they shouldn’t be kept in a cat backpack for an extended period of time as they still require space to roam around.  
  • Hard to feed – While your cat is in your backpack, you will have trouble feeding them or giving them water.  
  • Tiring – Depending on the weight of your cat, it can be difficult to carry a cat backpack for an extended period of time.  

Are Cat Backpacks Safe? 

An important question to ask yourself is ‘ are cat carrier backpacks safe?’. If you’ve done your proper research, cat backpacks are most definitely safe. During the research process, it’s important that you’re looking for a cat backpack that’s both durable and secure – both for you and your cat.  

For extra safety, you could consider buying a cat harness or leash and attaching it to the loop inside the backpack as a safety precaution. In terms of safety, ventilation is an important consideration since you want to make sure that your cat is able to breathe freely.  

cat in an orange leather backpack

No cat, however, should be staying inside their cat backpack for an extended period of time. You should also make sure that your cat is accustomed to the backpack before taking them out on long hikes or walks. Some cats may feel uncomfortable being in unfamiliar territory, and that's an essential factor to take into consideration.  

Are Cat Backpacks Cruel For Cats? 

Cat backpacks are not cruel, just as long as your cat enjoys being inside one. While some training might be required, your cat should feel comfortable being inside the cat backpack. You should also not be traveling with your cat in a cat backpack for an extended period, as your cat will not have access to their litter tray, food, and water. 

The cat backpack you purchase should also have adequate ventilation so your cat doesn't end up overheating inside the backpack. 

man wearing a cat backpack

You should also take into account your cat's personality, as cat backpacks are more suited to calmer cats that have a natural curiosity. 

Tips & Tricks To Get Your Cat Used To A Backpack 

If you would like to get your cat used to the cat backpack, here are some tips and techniques to get you started. These tips and tricks will allow your cat to become familiar with their backpack and feel more comfortable being inside it.  

  1. 1
    Ensure that your cat has sufficient time to explore and get to know the backpack. To do so, you can place a few of your cat’s favorite treats inside the bag and leave it at the entrance of your home for your cat to explore.  
  2. 2
    When your cat is comfortable inside the backpack, briefly close the door before opening it again – remembering to give your cat plenty of praise.  
  3. 3
    If your cat is happy in the backpack, carefully lift the backpack on your back and walk around your home.  
  4. 4
    If your cat is settled, you can then start to bring your cat with you for shorter trips.  

The time it takes for each individual cat to get used to a backpack will vary. While it could take a few days for some, it could take weeks for others.  

a white cat in a backpack

How To Safely Use A Cat Backpack (Tips For Traveling & Hiking) 

It's important that both you and your cat are safe while you're traveling. Here are some safety precautions to take into consideration when traveling with your cats:  

  1. 1
    Make sure that you’re only using your cat backpack for short trips and not for lengthy ones.  
  2. 2
    Make sure that the cat backpack is large enough for your cat and has plenty of ventilation.  
  3. 3
    Before your first trip, make sure that you’re familiarising yourself with the backpack and that it’s nice and comfortable for your cat.  
  4. 4
    Ensure that you’re placing the cat backpack nice and gently on your shoulder – avoid swinging your cat backpack; it's important to be gentle.  
  5. 5
    Never force your cat into the cat backpack if they don’t feel comfortable. The last thing you want is for your cat to feel anxious while they’re inside the cat backpack.  
  6. 6
    Make sure that you have a leash and harness with you, just in case your cat would prefer to roam around when you’re hiking.  

People Also Ask (FAQs)

What backpack size should I get for my cat? 

Your cat must be able to stand, sit and turn in its cat backpack. Typically, you should make sure that your cat backpack is at least one and a half times the size of your cat, but this can differ between cats.  

Do cats prefer hard or soft carriers? 

Most cats prefer soft carriers as it's easier for them to sit or lie down on. Soft carriers are also lighter to carry.  

Are cat backpacks airline approved?  

You will have to check with the airline, but most of them are typically approved as an additional carry-on bag with a fee. The cat backpack would also need to fit comfortably under the seat, so the sizing is another important consideration.  

Is traveling stressful for cats? What about hiking? 

Traveling by airplane, train, or car could be stressful for cats, as unfamiliar and confined environments could cause stress. Hiking, however, could be better for your cat as they could enjoy exploring the outdoor world when they're going on hikes. You could also bring a leash with you if your cat would like to explore the surrounding areas.  

Can I put two cats in one backpack? 

It largely depends on the size of your cat backpack. Some cat backpacks can comfortably fit two cats inside, while some cat backpacks can't. If you do choose to put two cats in a backpack, however, make sure you’re not doing this for more than a few hours.  


As seen above, cat backpacks can most definitely be safe, just as long as you've done the proper research. It's also vital that your cat feels comfortable in its cat backpack, and you're not confining your cat to the backpack for an extended period of time. 

Aso see - dog carriers and backpacks

  • January 5, 2022