The Best Cat Backpacks & Cat Carriers (June 2024 Reviews)

Cat in Backpack

Our veterinarians research and recommend the best products. Learn more about our process. We may receive a commission on purchases made from our links.

Some cats may seem aloof, but many enjoy traveling in a cat backpack just as much as a dog likes a leash.

Cat backpacks (aka “cat backpack carriers” or “cat carriers”) provide a safe, convenient way for your favorite feline to hit the trails, or beach, or take a trip to the vet.

That said not every cat likes being picked up, let alone put into a backpack or carrier, and the wrong carrier for the wrong cat can lead to a number of issues including:

  • The wrong type of cat backpack materials (hard vs. soft) can make some cats physically uncomfortable.
  • A cat backpack with or without a “window” may make your cat more or less stressed (depending on the cat).
  • For some cats and in some situations (like extended trips or time away from home), a cat backpack may not be the right tool at all.

To help you make sense of all of this, we asked our vet advisor, Dr. Jamie Whittenburg, to review a variety of cat backpacks to recommend the best options for different types of cats, and also to give advice about how to think about cat backpacks in general.

Dr. Jamie Whittenburg DVM chose the PetAmi Deluxe Pet Carrier Backpack as the top cat backpack for its spacious interior, padding, and extra storage that makes traveling with your cat fun and simple.  It also got the top spot for the quality of the materials and construction.

Our Vet’s Top Pick

PetAmi Deluxe Pet Carrier Backpack

This backpack provides ample space and padding for riders, with quality construction and comfortable padding for the wearer.

While this was Dr. Whittenburg’s top choice, she also provided some things to look for to make sure you get the right carrier for your cat, a breakdown of what types of cats may not be suited for a cat backpack, and also selected the top cat backpacks for a number of specific use cases as well.

The Best Cat Backpacks

  1. Best Overall – PetAmi Deluxe Pet Carrier
  2. Best BudgetCHIJIRE Pet Carrier Backpack
  3. Best BubbleHalinfer Expandable Cat Backpack’s
  4. Best for TravelLOLLIMEW Pet Rolling Carrier
  5. Best ExpandablePecute Pet Carrier Backpack

Cat Backpacks Compared

Here are the top picks from our veterinarian. Compare the ratings and features of different models.

Editor’s Picks Brand Rating Dimensions Storage Pockets Colors
Best Overall PetAmi Deluxe Pet Carrier Backpack 4.6 12.5″ x 10.2″ x 16.3″ 3 12
Best Budget Buy CHIJIRE Pet Carrier Backpack 4.6 14″ x 10″ x 15″ 1 2
Best Bubble Cat Backpack Halinfer Expandable Cat Backpack 4.7 11.5″ x 10.5″-26.5″ x 16″ 0 6
Best Cat Travel/Rolling Backpack LOLLIMEW Pet Rolling Carrier 4.5 15.5″ x 14.5″ x 17″ 1 1
Best Expandable Cat Backpack Pecute Pet Carrier Backpack 4.7 13.78″ x 11.02″ x 16.54″ 3 4

*Ratings are on a scale of 1 to 5 and based on reviews, feedback, and opinions of actual customers

Who Should Buy a Cat Backpack or Cat Carrier

  • Outdoor adventurers – Hiking, the beach, or the park are all places your cat might like to go, but sometimes you don’t know until you take him. A cat backpack carrier lets your cat go where you go, making you an unstoppable outdoor duo.
  • Frequent travelers – If you jet to distance locations on the regular, a cat backpack makes sure your cat can go too. It’s easier to travel with a cat if you’ve got a safe way to carry and secure him no matter the mode of transportation.
  • Owners of an ill cat – Cat backpacks can be easier to carry than cat carriers. Your cat may feel more secure, and you can stash a few necessities in the storage pockets.
  • Trendy cat lovers – Cat carriers are on-trend. You can tote your cat to the local cafe to keep yourself at the front of fashion.

Who Should Not Buy a Cat Backpack

  • Owners of an uncooperative cat – Cats are known for their independence. If your cat is more aloof than by your side, a cat backpack might not work. Cats have a way of making their opinions known. A few well-placed scratches and bites could make a cat backpack impossible.
  • Owners of larger than average cats – Most cat backpacks are big enough for a 10- to 12-pound cat. If your cat is pushing 20 pounds or more, a backpack might not work.
  • Owners of cats with serious health issues – If your cat is older and/or has some serious physical issues, consult with your veterinarian before loading them into any cat backpack.

Buying Guide: Research Tips From a Veterinarian

As a veterinarian, I often get asked about the best pet products, including cat backpacks and carriers. Here are a few tips to consider before making a purchase. Always read reviews on cat backpacks, if available. This will give you real feedback from other pet owners who have used the product. Don’t hesitate to ask friends, neighbors, and your veterinarian for recommendations too.

  1. Sturdy construction – The backpack needs to withstand tooth and nail/claw. Sturdy seams, padded linings, and reinforced zippers will keep your cat safe and secure.
  2. Ease of carrying – A backpack with additional chest and hip straps will be easier to carry by taking some of the weight off your shoulders.
  3. Cleaning ease – Chances are your cat may relieve himself in the backpack at some point. If the cat soils the backpack, a removable bottom cushion is easier to clean. Also, look for a waterproof outer material and water-resistant interior lining.
  4. Ventilation – Cats can overheat without plenty of ventilation—the more mesh and ventilation holes, the better.1
  5. Cushioning – A soft interior will be more comfortable for your cat and will help to make his travels more enjoyable.
  6. Safety – Cats can be sneaky and are also adept at using their paws to open things. If you worry that your cat might try to unzip the backpack, make sure to look for a model with lock-type zippers and a built-in leash. Watch out for backpacks with flimsy bottoms or sides that may collapse under your cat’s weight. 
  7. Size – Larger cats will require more room and a sturdier bottom for the backpack to ensure their comfort.

How Much Do They Cost?

Between $25 and $65

The majority of cat backpacks fall between $25 and $65. A very basic cat backpack carrier may have mostly mesh sides with solid bottom and shoulder straps. It may lack storage pockets and only have one or two entry points. As the price goes up, the backpacks have more padding and added storage. At the top of the price range are travel and expandable backpacks with flaps that extend the space or wheels for multiple carrying options.

Our Methodology: Why Trust Pet News Daily

I have spoken with many cat owners and see many cats as part of my practice. These cat backpacks were chosen based on my understanding of cats as a veterinarian, combined with the features I believe will keep cats safe, secure, and happy. I considered quality, space, padding, and safety among the features that led to the top picks for cat carriers.  – Dr. Jamie Whittenburg

The Best Cat Backpack Reviews

1. Best Overall – PetAmi Deluxe Pet Carrier

Our Vet’s Top Pick

PetAmi Deluxe Pet Carrier Backpack

This backpack provides ample space and padding for riders, with quality construction and comfortable padding for the wearer.

The PetAmi Deluxe Pet Carrier offers a generous interior room, which is my favorite feature. In order for a cat to enjoy their travel time, they need a spacious area inside their carrier so they don’t feel cramped.2 The PetAmi includes a comfy sherpa-lined bed, giving your cat a soft place to relax while on the move. It also has excellent ventilation, which is important as cats can quickly overheat without adequate airflow.

Cats are escape artists, so the PetAmi’s safety strap, buckle, and zipper lock further keep your cat secure. Padded shoulder straps, chest straps, and hip straps make it comfortable for the wearer too. Finally, it includes storage pockets for treats or a collapsible water dish and comes in twelve colors. The only real con to this backpack is that the zipper can be stiff over the corners.

  • Generous interior
  • Safety strap and buckle
  • Padded shoulder straps
  • Hip and chest strap redistribute weight
  • Reinforced construction
  • Stiff zipper

2. Best Budget – CHIJIRE Pet Carrier Backpack

Best Budget Buy

CHIJIRE Pet Carrier Backpack

A cozy interior, four-sided ventilation, and excellent safety features let your cat travel in safety while you stay in budget.

The CHIJIRE Pet Carrier Backpack is my favorite cat backpack for the budget shopper. It’s large enough for small to medium-sized cats and will work for most pet owners, even though it’s not the most spacious model. The CHIJIRE is also a great option for those with limited storage space because it folds down flat.

There’s adequate ventilation, with mesh panels on four sides. Two locking zippers and a built-in retractable safety hook prevent cats from escaping. The CHIJIRE is padded with shock-absorbing mesh sponge to give your cat a smoother ride. Side pockets provide storage for small items such as a water bottle, keys, or cat treats. And not to forget comfort, the bottom of the backpack is lined with a soft pad that’s removable and washable.

  • 4-sided ventilation
  • Locking zippers and built-in retractable safety hook
  • Folds flat for storage
  • Small storage pockets
  • Not suitable for larger cats

3. Best Bubble – Halinfer Expandable Cat Backpack

Best Bubble Cat Backpack

Halinfer Expandable Cat Backpack

The Halinfer’s polarized plastic offers sun protection, while the design gives him room to move and relax.

The Halinfer Expandable Cat Backpack’s expansion is my favorite feature. The extra space lets your cat roam when it’s not being carried. This model is also durable but only weighs three pounds.

Cats get a great view through a transparent plastic panel with this model. However, that plastic is polarized, protecting the cat from harmful UV rays. Plastic creates the need for excellent ventilation to prevent overheating, and consequently, the Halinfer has nine vents that keep the cat comfortable when the backpack is closed. When the backpack gets expanded, there are mesh sides to improve airflow even more. Finally, the Halinfer meets most airlines’ safety standards.

  • Polarized plastic for sun protection
  • 9 ventilation vents
  • Meets most airline’s safety standards
  • Lightweight and durable
  • Not suitable for larger cats

4. Best for Travel – LOLLIMEW Pet Rolling Carrier

Best Cat Travel Backpack

LOLLIMEW Pet Rolling Carrier

If carrying your cat on your back won’t cut it, the LOLLIMEW saves your back and lets your cat come along for the ride.

The LOLLIMEW Pet Rolling Carrier functions as a backpack or a rolling carrier, and it’s this rolling option that will save your back when you start to get tired. Despite the wheels, the backpack is relatively lightweight at just under six pounds and can hold cats up to 16 pounds.

Three mesh side panels keep the cat from overheating, including a rollable top panel for the cat who likes to peek out. Safety zippers and a safety hook provide added security. A telescoping rod extends up to 20 inches, and this model also includes storage pockets for a few treats. Quiet spinning wheels offer your cat a smooth ride, too.

  • Locking zippers and safety hook
  • 3-sided ventilation
  • Holds larger cats
  • Telescoping handle
  • Too big for many airline requirements

5. Best Expandable – Pecute Pet Carrier Backpack

Best Expandable Cat Backpack

Pecute Pet Carrier Backpack

Versatile setup options let your pet lounge and travel in safety and comfort in this backpack.

The Pecute Pet Carrier Backpack offers a large travel space and an even larger lounge area when expanded. Mesh panels on all sides provide plenty of ventilation, and the top panel can open for a good view. Locking zippers and a retractable safety leash give owners peace of mind and can keep your cat safe. The expandable space also features mesh sides for great ventilation but lets cats move around when they’re not being carried.

I like that it has well-padded shoulder straps that adjust to fit the wearer. This feature not only makes it more comfortable to wear but also more stable for the cat. A firm, sturdy bottom offers a secure foundation for cats up to 18 pounds, while the removable and washable soft, foam padding at the bottom keeps cats comfortable too. Though it’s large, the Pecute folds flat for easy storage.

  • Generous interior and expandable space
  • Wide, adjustable shoulder straps
  • Holds cats up to 18 pounds
  • Folds flat for storage
  • Flimsy zippers

Frequently Asked Questions

How long can a cat be in a cat backpack?

Cats can generally be in a cat backpack for as long as they can safely be in a cat carrier, which is about six hours. At that point, they need to be let out to relieve themselves and drink water.3
How long can cats hold their poop and pee?

Cats can go about six hours before they need to relieve themselves. However, some cats can’t go that long, while others can go longer.4 Before taking your cat on a long trip, observe your cat to see how long he usually waits between litter box uses. (If you’re in the market for cat litter you can also check out our list of the best low dust cat litter options)
Are cat backpacks cruel?

Cat backpacks are no more cruel than cat carriers. Both are designed as a safe way to transport a cat. Certain features can make a cat more comfortable, such as adequate ventilation, padding, and a clean, spacious travel area.
Are cats comfortable in carrier backpacks?

Cats can be comfortable in backpacks. However, you need to prep your cat before putting it inside one. Let your cat get used to the backpack by leaving it out where the cat can explore it at his leisure. Try putting catnip or a treat inside to entice him in but don’t lock him in until he’s gotten used to the backpack. Never force a cat into a backpack. Neither you nor the cat will have a good experience.

Article Sources

Pet News Daily uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

  1. American Veterinary Medical Association. Warm weather pet safety. Accessed March 10, 2022
  2. Animal Hospital of North Asheville. Choosing the right cat carrier. Accessed March 10, 2022.
  3. All Feline Hospital. Traveling with your cat. Accessed March 10, 2022.
  4. Ward E. Cat pee 101: is my cat’s urine normal? Accessed March 10, 2022.
Dr. Jamie Whittenburg
Dr. Jamie Whittenburg is a graduate of Texas Tech University and Kansas State College of Veterinary Medicine. A practicing veterinarian for 16 years, she works with cats, dogs, and small exotics. She has a special interest in feline medicine and surgery. In 2013, she opened her own practice, Kingsgate Animal Hospital. When not working, Dr. Whittenburg enjoys hiking and reading.