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The Best Quality Cat Backpack Guide 2021

Choosing the best quality cat backpack is not easy. There are many factors to consider, and it’s hard to find a guide that helps you choose the right one.

The main thing to look for in a cat backpack is enough space inside to keep your cat comfortable and free from stress. Do not buy a product that limits your cat’s freedom to move.


The market for cat backpacks is saturated with low-quality products that fall apart after just a few uses.

If you’re looking for something durable enough to last your pet through all its adventures, then this article will be helpful in helping you make an informed decision about which product is best for your furry friend.

I’ve done my research on this topic and I’m going to share everything I learned about choosing the right backpack for your cat here.

Many factors influence the choice of a cat backpack:

These include durability, size, ventilation, safety, and budget. You’ll also need to ask yourself whether the backpack is for car or airplane travel (if required).

My name is Derrick, and I write for Simply Cat Care. The goal of this site is to provide advice to improve your cat’s health.

I am not a veterinarian and I recommend seeking the advice of a vet before continuing. My article uses research-based evidence as much as possible is not intended to replace the advice of a trained professional.  

Let’s get into the article:


Product Review:  Best Quality Cat Backpack

Best Quality Cat Backpack Overall: Morpilot Foldable Cat Backpack

3 sides of entry for easy access

Mesh windows for ventilation

Multiple safety straps for comfort

Inner safety leash to secure your cat

No car crash safety testing

It may be too small for a large cat

Not airline approved

SUMMARY

Let’s look at the Morpilot Foldable Cat Backpack.

I like this carrier for a few reasons.  The backpack has front and side entry points to make for easy entry.  The bag is well ventilated and has a safety leash to secure your cat.  The backpack is also comfortable for the owner with multiple straps.  Another important thing is the backpack is usable around the house as a bed.  This helps get your cat used to being inside the cat backpack for use.

Now onto the downsides.  The backpack doesn’t have crash test safety, although the safety leash may help increase the risk of injury.  The backpack may not be large enough to accommodate a bigger cat, and may not be airline suitable.


Best Quality Cat Backpack Bubble: Halinfer Dual Expandable Cat Backpack

4-inch side expansion for extra comfort

Mesh windows for ventilation

Lightweight and easy to carry

Folds out to make a comfortable bed

Supports a cat up to 20 pounds

No car crash safety testing

Only 12.5 inches long, won’t suit lengthy cats

Not airline approved

SUMMARY

Let’s look at the Halinfer Dual Expandable Cat Backpack and Carrier.

One of the biggest issues I see with most bubble carriers is the lack of space.  Cats need room to stretch out and stand.  That’s why I like the dual expansion design of the Halinfer because it gives you the ability to open things up for your cat.  It is also strong enough to hold a cat up to 20 pounds.  The backpack also opens up further to give your cat a space to rest at home.  This also helps cats get used to the backpack.

Like the Morpilot, this backpack is missing safety features. Safety straps secure a cat for car travel, and this backpack may not be airline-approved (check the dimensions of the bag with your airliner).


Buying Guide: What to Look for When Buying a Cat Backpack

In this guide, I’ll talk about all the important features of a cat backpack.

Cat backpacks need to be safe and comfortable for your cat. It is a myth that cats enjoy tight spaces because they are flexible.

Who should buy a cat backpack?

If you don’t own a car and have to travel to the vet by food, a cat backpack is a good option for you. It is also good for short walks.

People that want to put their cat in a backpack for their enjoyment (e.g. vlog) don’t need to buy a cat backpack. Cat’s are happy within their own territory and space.

There’s no evidence to support a cat wants to ‘see the world’ in a backpack bubble as you go along your daily walks. If your cat looks stressed and sounds stressed it is because they are.

For car travel, I recommend getting a cat carrier instead.

Check out my review on the best cat carriers to find the best for your needs.

Best quality cat backpack

What is the most important feature of a quality cat backpack?

The most important feature in a cat backpack or carrier is your cat is comfortable.

A cat backpack is a method of carrying your cat to an important situation (e.g. vet appointment). Although a backpack has use as a leisure item, the equipment is an important security tool for transporting cats.

The problem with most cat carriers and backpacks is they don’t protect your cat in the car. Many carriers fail crash test simulations, and only a few carriers get approved for transport.

If you think a backpack will protect your cat in a crash even with a seatbelt, you are wrong. Since there is no safety data for any backpack I don’t recommend any for frequent car travel.

The bubble encasing of many backpacks seems like a great idea but how safe would that be in the event of a crash?

What other features should I look for in a quality cat backpack?

Durability

A backpack needs to stand the test of time, and be able to handle the weight of your frisky friend. Check the weight limit of the cat backpack to ensure your cat is not too heavy.

Some cats may try to chew up parts of the carrier. Check through the reviews and the materials to see whether there are obvious flaws in the design of the product. Generally, the cheaper the product, the cheaper the materials.

Comfort

Cats are flexible and agile, but they don’t enjoy tight spaces.

For a cat to be comfortable, they need to be able to stand upright without having their sensitive whiskers brush against the sides of the opening A cat should have room to stretch out and rest inside the cat backpack.

Most cat backpacks are far too tight for most cats and will create an unpleasant experience.  

Speaking of size, let’s talk about how big the backpack needs to be.

Size

A backpack should be 50% larger than your cat and allow him to stand upright [2, 3].  If you have a kitten get a backpack suited for an adult-sized cat. You can use an extra towel to secure the additional space.

Another feature to look for is whether the carrier allows you to place food and drink inside.  This improves your cat’s experience, especially for long-distance travel.

Before purchasing a backpack or cat carrier, do the following measurements:

Length: Measure from chest to rear

Height: Measure from the ground to the top of your cats back

Weight: Weigh yourself on a scale with your cat and then by yourself – deduct your weight from the cat + person weight to get your cats weight

Use these measurements when deciding on a purchase, keeping in mind you should allow at least 50% more room on either side (e.g. if your cat is 12 inches in length, then have a carrier that is at least 18 inches long).

Make sure your cat weighs under the specified limit for the cat backpack.

Ventilation

A cat backpack needs enough airflow for your cat to breathe. A soft cat carrier should contain mesh window exteriors.  The problem with ‘bubble backpacks’ is your cat has fewer openings for breathing and has to try to access fresh air from the sides. 

Ventilation is especially important for airline travel, whilst contained in a cabin for long periods.

Safety

Let’s look at safety for a variety of cat backpack uses.

Walking

Let’s talk about general use. As a cat backpack is for carrying a cat.

Cat backpacks need to hold the pet upright without sagging or collapsing. There need to be no chewing hazards or sharp jagged edges that rub against your cat.

Car Travel

Car travel safety is about crash test safety.  We all wear seatbelts in the unfortunate event of a crash as a preventative measure, and we also need preventive measures for our cats.  Nobody wants to think of the worst-case scenario, but they do happen.    

In 2015, the Center for Pet Safety released a report evaluating the performance of a range of pet carriers and backpacks for crash test safety [4]. 

Some of the results were disturbing with many carriers completely ejecting the crash test pet dummy from the carrier.

Even more disturbing was the claim of products being crash-tested completely failing.  The problem with many carriers is the front opening which disintegrates with force, projecting your pet.

Hard plastic (e.g. bubble backpack) performs the worst, disintegrating and providing additional hazards.

As of this date, I have no data on any cat backpack being crash test approved.  I don’t recommend a cat backpack for car travel purposes.  

For car travel, I recommend the Sleepypod cat carrier which I reviewed in this article.

Airplane Travel

Finally, we have airplane travel suitability.  

Many people won’t be traveling in a plane with their cat, but if you are then you’ll need to do research ahead of time.  The requirements for pet travel vary from region to region and airliner.  Check with your preferred airliner before purchasing a carrier or cat backpack

You can stow some backpacks underneath seats. Only one pet fits in a backpack and the pet must be able to stand up and turn.

Budget

Consider how much you have to spend on a backpack.

Remember, a cheaper product will generally have less durability.  If you intend to use your cat backpack more often, then you’ll need to spend more to hold up over time.

Should I buy a soft or hard-sided cat backpack?

A soft cat backpack is safer and more comfortable than a hard backpack.  Let’s look a bit closer at each type:

Soft Cat Backpack

Soft backpacks are lighter with mesh windows for ventilation and sight. 

They are also machine washable for easy maintenance. Soft backpacks need to be sturdy enough to maintain their shape whilst carrying your cat (i.e. no sagging). Moreover, they need to be resistant to scratches and wear.

Hard Cat Backpack

A hard backpack has a plastic bubble appearance. 

They may provide the advantage of protecting against things falling on them.  However, they offer less ventilation.  They break apart in the event of a car collision and are less enjoyable for your cat.

Which does your cat prefer?

It depends on the situation, but soft cat carriers are usually best.

Of course, this will come down to what type you use – and whether your cat is happy with the carrier. If your cat is spending time laying down in the carrier in your house, it is a sign that the cat is enjoying that carrier.

Poorly built hard cat carriers can often be a hazard to nervous cats if they rub against the harsh openings. Generally, soft cat carriers are becoming more popular as plastic containers are prone to becoming hazardous. Soft carriers are lighter and generally easier to use.

Either way, a quality product should be the right size for your cat and able to allow your cat to rest.

Actual backpack not recommended for cats

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I reduce my cat’s aversion to a cat backpack?

A cat backpack should be a place of comfort for your cat. This isn’t supposed to be a prison, but a bed for them.

Set up a cat backpack around the home as a sleeping quarter for your cat. Leave some small treats and make the carrier as comfortable as possible.

Familiarising your cat in advance, with the cat backpack is a great way of making sure your cat is happy to go inside and relax during transport.

Are cat backpacks cruel?

A cat backpack that doesn’t allow space and comfort is cruel.

Many social media influencers use backpacks as a novelty item.  The problem with these videos is sometimes they unpack the product and don’t care about ensuring their cat develops comfort with the product before use.  

The approval of the comments section might make people think this is fun, but the reality is the cat is not comfortable with the situation. If your cat is panicking and finding it hard to fit in the backpack, reconsider the situation.

Is the backpack well suited to the cat’s size? Have you familiarised your cat with the backpack?

Ultimately, your cat needs to have enough space to move and stand. They also need to sit in the backpack in and around the home. Your cat needs to feel like the backpack is a safe space and something they would use as a resting spot around the house.

This backpack does not give your cat enough space to move around be comfortable

Do cats like backpacks?

If your cat is resisting going in a backpack, is nervous, and their heart is racing they are under stress.

The cat is not comfortable with the situation and does not want to go in the backpack.

If this happens, reconsider the situation and ask yourself the following questions:

Is the backpack well suited to the cat’s size? Have you familiarised your cat with the backpack?  

Can I put two cats in one backpack?

No.  There is not enough space to put two cats in one backpack.

Can I take my cat hiking?

I don’t recommend taking your cat hiking.  Hiking is an event that usually lasts one or more hours.  

Cats need frequent meals and long periods of the enclosure may increase stress.  

I recommend only using a cat backpack for short-distance travel.


Conclusion: The Best Quality Cat Backpack

In this article, I’ve looked at the best quality cat backpack.

A cat backpack is for cat transport. Most people use a cat backpack to walk their cat short distances or go to the nearby vet.

The main features a quality cat backpack should have include durability, comfort, size, ventilation, and safety. If your cat backpack is for frequent car travel, look for more safety features and consider a crash test-approved product.

In this article, I looked at the best cat backpacks on the market. These products contain the best quality features that I could find.

I recommend safer designs over stylish designs as the comfort of your cat is the most important consideration.

I also provide a buying guide in this article to give you tips for things to look for in a cat backpack. Finally, the frequently asked questions section provides extra tips and guidance.


Our Top Pick: Best Quality Cat Backpack Overall

Morpilot Foldable Cat Backpack

I like this carrier for a few reasons.  The backpack has front and side entry points to make for easy entry.  The bag is well ventilated and has a safety leash to secure your cat.  The backpack is also comfortable for the owner with multiple straps.  

Another important feature is the backpack is usable around the house as a bed.  This helps get your cat used to being inside the cat backpack for use.

3 sides of entry for easy access

Mesh windows for ventilation

Multiple safety straps for comfort

Inner safety leash to secure your cat

No car crash safety testing

It may be too small for a large cat

Not airline approved

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