Are Cat Backpacks Safe? Here’s What You Need to Know

Are Cat Backpacks Safe Here’s What You Need to Know

A lot of people might question the safety of using a cat backpack because they are worried that the bag might be too small or too hot for their furry friend. In a nutshell, cat backpacks are as safe as any other cat carrier. They are designed to keep your kitty secure and comfortable while you take him to explore the outside world. 

Cat backpacks include clips or straps on the inside to secure your cat’s collar and large air holes for breathing. They are also great for curious cats, who can enjoy a scenic view of nature as you go on a hike, or be entertained by the outside world while you carry them to work or a nearby park. Owners will appreciate using a cat backpack if they do not want to leave their pets at home alone.

However, not all cats might respond well to backpacks: calmer cats might enjoy being inside one, while others might be frightened or become aggressive. Cats do not like dealing with a lot of change, and being in a bag while traveling could be distressing to some felines. Thus, the safety and comfort of using cat backpacks may depend on how well your cat can adjust to traveling in a carrier.

Backpacks vs other cat carriers

Cat backpacks are beneficial both for owners with an active lifestyle and cats who are naturally curious and calm when taken outside. If you want Furball to be your travel buddy, then carrying him hands-free in a backpack would be very convenient. 

This type of carrier is ideal for recreational activities like hiking because it allows your pet to sit comfortably inside while enjoying the beautiful view from up on your back. The bags are usually designed with windows that you can unzip anytime to let your kitty put his head out. They even come with pockets where you can store cat snacks and water to refuel your pet along the way. 

Cat carriers, on the other hand, might be more appropriate for aggressive cats. If your pet hates the backpack, then carrying him in a traditional carrier might be the best option. Moreover, if you are taking your feline to the vet or traveling with him on an airline, then consider using a carrier instead. The only downside of this option is that it can be heavier and puts more pressure on your wrist and shoulder.

Overall, then, choosing between a backpack and a traditional carrier depends entirely on your purpose as well as your cat’s personality. Both options allow your pet to sit or lie down comfortably, with enough space inside for toys and treats. Backpacks are ideal for hiking but may not be safe for aggressive cats as their sharp claws and teeth can easily damage the bag’s shell or fabric. Traditional cat carriers would be suitable for mundane trips and to keep your kitty calm inside. 

Choosing the right cat backpack

Choosing a cat backpack can be a daunting task – there are so many varieties available on the market and the options seem endless! 

At the end of the day, what really matters is your cat’s comfort, as well as the bag’s intended purpose. You want to make sure that your pet enjoys being in it, so that traveling is smoother and more enjoyable for both of you. With that in mind, there are certain factors to consider before hitting that “add to cart” button.

1. Pick the right size

Felines, in general, are inclined to seek security in tight areas where they can easily hide from the outside world. It is no surprise, then, that your cat loves to be in small, confined spaces. You might see him taking a snooze in a small drawer or forcing himself into a shoebox. 

However, that does not mean you can force him into a bag where he feels cramped and uncomfortable. The cat backpack has to be the right size for your pet and able to hold his weight. Make sure you choose a backpack with enough space for your pet to move easily and freely inside. 

Also, do not forget to check the weight recommendation of the pack. If your feline is too heavy for the bag, it might wear down easily and break, allowing your cat an easy escape. Choosing a bag with the right size and weight recommendation will ensure that it lasts longer and keeps your kitty safe while traveling.

If you intend to use the bag for tiny kittens, then remember that young kittens may all fit into one bag temporarily, but you will soon need more bags as kittens can grow quickly. 

2. Bag structure

While collapsible bags look neat and are easier to store, these may eventually collapse while your cat is inside, causing discomfort to your travel buddy. Bags with a sturdy structure are highly recommended since the material allows your cat to stand, sit, and even move a bit while you are out and about.

3. Windows and airholes

Cat backpacks can come in different forms. Some use mesh for your feline to breathe fresh air, while others are made of plastic with windows or air holes. Whatever bag you choose, make sure to prioritize your cat’s comfort. Some felines might feel claustrophobic inside a tight cat carrier, so be sure to get a backpack with plenty of air holes and windows.

4. Harness and safety clips

Safety clips or a harness inside the bag should be non-negotiable requirements as they are used to hold your cat’s collar in place while you walk. Traveling can be stressful, especially in crowded areas, and you will want your pet properly secured as well as comfortable as he sits on your back. Some backpacks, like the PetAmi Deluxe Pet Carrier Backpack, are a really good choice; they are designed with additional straps to support your cat’s weight while also preventing you from getting back pains.

5. Multiple entry points

A bag with several entry points for your cat can make your travel a lot easier. Think about how you would put your kitty in the bag in different scenarios: while you stand, while you carry the bag, or in a hurry. 

6. Backpack base

A backpack designed with a non-slip base comes in handy as it stays firmly in place when you put it down on any surface, such as ground, grass, or table. This is important to keep your cat safe inside, especially if you frequently put the bag down for short breaks.

Getting your cat used to the backpack

Getting your furry companion into the backpack may not be easy at first. While some cats may instantly love being inside the bag, others might find it unpleasant. The rule of thumb is never to force your pet inside if they hate it. Remember that not all cats enjoy outdoor excursions, and with this, a backpack may not be suitable for them.

However, there are plenty of ways you can help your cat get used to the backpack. Give him enough time to check out this new item until he becomes comfortable with it. Here’s how:

  • Put the backpack in your cat’s play area, and leave it open to let the scent of your home get in. Familiar smells will help your kitty feel secure and comfortable.
  • Place some toys and treats inside the bag and leave it open for your cat to explore. By doing it this way, your cat will have a positive association with the backpack.
  • Try taking short trips when using the backpack for the first time. Longer trips can be stressful for the cat since the experience is still new to him. Moreover, do not use the bag when visiting the vet. Your cat might associate this unpleasant experience with the bag and will then hate it forever.

Are cat backpacks cruel? 

Cat backpacks are not cruel; they are designed with a cat’s comfort in mind. Using them can only be considered cruel if you force a distressed cat inside. 

However, like any other cat carrier, remember that these bags are not designed to use for long periods. Do not let your cat sit in there for hours; take some breaks and let him use the litter box when needed. Use a harness and leash when you take him out for breaks, especially if you are on a hiking trail.

Safety tips to keep in mind

We all want the best experience when traveling with our fur babies. Keep yours safe and comfortable on the road by following these tips:

  1. Take it easy when walking on a trail – your cat might freak out if you walk too fast or run. The end goal is to introduce the backpack experience as fun and pleasant for your cat; not the other way around!
  2. Always have your cat’s favorite treats on hand. Most cat backpacks have small windows where you can insert snacks and toys, and this is a method of positive reinforcement to help your cat learn to love the backpack.
  3. Never leave your bag unattended, or someone might become interested in stealing your beautiful fur baby.
  4. Never put more than one cat inside the bag unless they are kittens! Cat backpacks have weight limits, and overloading one can rip the bottom, making it unsafe for your pets.
  5. Do not leave your cat inside the bag for too long. Take short breaks and let him out for a while (with his leash on) so he can stretch and rehydrate.

Getting ready to travel with your cat

Spending time outdoors with your furry companion can be great fun. Exploring the world together can strengthen your emotional bonds without you worrying about your pet’s safety. For cat owners with a passion for travel, a cat backpack is a really convenient way to carry your pet safely outside your home. Aside from its amazing features, the bag is also available in different styles to suit your taste.

Image: / Alina Kurianova