If you plan on taking your cat outside or traveling with you, it will require more than just a leash and collar. Enter: cat backpacks. The best cat backpacks are made of sturdy materials that resist wear and tear, and feature ventilation holes and/or mesh paneling to offer plenty of air flow. As you shop, also make sure a backpack’s listed weight limit is suitable for your cat’s size to ensure a safe and comfortable ride.
If your cat is an escape artist, consider choosing a backpack with locking zippers or an additional clip to attach a harness to keep your feline safely secured. Aside from safety, look for a bag that also offers comfort — the best options come fitted with a removable cushioned mat for them to sit on. (Bonus points if the mat is easy to wash.) Last but not least, look for a cat carrier backpack with adjustable straps to keep you comfortable in transit, too.
Since there are cat backpacks in many styles and features, the right one for you will depend on your (and your cat’s) preferences. Some backpack carriers expand to allow your cat to stretch out when the opportunity arises. Some models are made specifically to carry big, heavy cats, while others are best for more petite felines. And if you’re in for a long-haul trip, a cat backpack with wheels can quite literally take pressure off your back.
Below you’ll find the four best cat backpacks that you can shop on Amazon.
1. The Best Expandable Cat Backpack
This expandable backpack carrier offers your cat extra room while traveling. It expands to reveal a mesh-lined extension, allowing your pet to stretch, stand, and lie down. The backpack is made of a claw-proof oxford cloth, with a mesh window and side panels to keep air flowing. The two zippers feature a safety buckle for added security. The bag has padded adjustable straps, which buckle across your chest and waist, to keep you comfortable and keep the backpack secure.
Inside the backpack, there’s a tether to secure a harness and a plush mat to keep your companion comfortable — the manufacturer recommends hand-washing the mat, but some reviewers have reported tossing it into the wash without any problems. The backpack carrier comes in four colors.
- Recommended cat size: Up to 18 pounds
Positive Amazon review: “This backpack is huge and I love it! My 15lb cat can fit comfortably and turn around and lay. I love all the ways it can open and how the zippers also buckle. I love the extra waist support like a hiking backpack. I love that it expands too. This backpack was perfectly made and so well thought out.”
2. The Best Backpack For Large Cats
This cat backpack accommodates larger cats without sacrificing comfort. It’s made of sturdy, claw-proof materials, and large mesh panels on the side of the pack and three ventilation holes in the front provide plenty of air for your feline. It is designed with a bubble window for your cat to peer out of, but you can also switch the window out for a mesh screen for even more breathability. While the zippers on this backpack don’t lock, there’s a clasp to secure your cat’s leash or harness on the inside. There’s also a soft insert to keep things cozy. The lightly padded, adjustable shoulder and chest straps help secure the backpack to you — one reviewer described the bag as “easy to carry on my back with weight distributed evenly.”
- Recommended cat size: Up to 25 pounds
Positive Amazon review: “It’s large enough for my 15+ pound cat and spacious for my 5 pound kitten. The material is high quality and I love the side storage pockets. The backpack itself is comfortable to wear with adjustable straps and front clasp. Definitely recommend!”
3. The Best Backpack For Small Cats
If your cat is smaller in size, this backpack carrier is made with them in mind (and costs only $30). It’s designed with scratch-resistant oxford cloth, and has large mesh panels and two windows to allow air to circulate. The backpack features “anti-escape” zippers, and a tether you can attach to a cat’s harness adds another level of security. The inside contains a hand-washable and reversible mat: One side is made of synthetic rattan, and the other is made of a fluffy material. It also features padded shoulder, chest, and waist straps you can adjust to fit you comfortably.
- Recommended cat size: Up to 10 pounds
Positive Amazon review: “Got this bag to replace the handheld carrier. Cat loves it a lot better. Soft padding on the bottom for them. Highly recommend for small animals.”
4. The Best Cat Backpack With Wheels
When you and your cat are in for a longer trip, this backpack with wheels can come in handy. Wear it comfortably on your back or convert it into a rolling bag — either way, it’s made to keep you both comfortable. It features a roomy mesh-paneled interior, with the option to expand it 3 inches in size. It has a security clasp for a leash or harness and a fleece liner to keep nervous travelers comfortable and secure. The manufacturer doesn’t specify if the liner is machine washable, but one reviewer wrote, “The interior pad is removable and machine washable.”
This backpack has two adjustable shoulder straps, and while reviewers have reported that they aren’t that thickly padded, you always have the option to roll the bag instead. The manufacturer doesn’t specify what material the exterior is made of or if that material and the mesh panels are scratch-proof. While several reviewers have described the bag as sturdy and durable, you might want to opt for a bag that’s scratch-proof if you have a big scratcher or escape artist at home.
- Recommended cat size: Up to 15 pounds (Medium Traveler); up to 20 pounds (Large Traveler); up to 25 pounds (Extra Large Plus Traveler)
Positive Amazon review: “On long trips I don't want to force my cat to be in a crouch position the whole time. Cats can sit up and stretch in this carrier, plus I think it allows for better air flow. Would you want to be cramped into a little small space for hours without some moving air? The mesh opens widely, so if you have a large cat it is easier to get them in. You can position the two zippers in any position you want. Great product. The wheels are nice too, if you're carrying something in the other hand or if your cat is heavy.”