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Whether you want to start traveling with your cat or you’re simply looking for a comfortable and convenient alternative to your current carrier, a cat backpack is worth considering—and not just because of their recent popularity on Instagram.
Cat backpacks shine in areas where traditional hand-held carriers tend to fall short. For one, they’re easier to manage than most bulky side carriers, and they evenly distribute your cat’s weight for a more stable ride. Plus, they free up your hands for important tasks.
But, like all pet gear, cat backpacks are not a one-size-fits-all item. Depending on your cat (and how you plan to use said backpack), there are certain features you should zero in on to find the perfect match.
We spoke to veterinarians and cat experts to learn how cat backpacks work and what to look for when shopping for one. We’ve rounded up some of the best options on the market to help you find the right backpack for you and your kitty.
- Overall Best: Fat Cat Backpack Carrier
- Best for Kittens: Midwest Day Tripper Pet Backpack
- Best for Large Cats: halinfer Front Expandable Cat Backpack
- Most Comfortable: PetAmi Deluxe Cat Backpack
- Best for Visibility: Lollimeow Cat Bubble Backpack
- Travel Pick: PETKIT Ventilated Cat Backpack
- Best for Ventilation: Texsens Innovative Traveler Cat Backpack
- Best Wheeled Backpack: Kopeks Deluxe Travel Cat Backpack
Overall Best: Fat Cat Backpack Carrier
Designed with heavier cats in mind, the Fat Cat is one of the only packs that can hold up to 25 pounds of cat. The roomy interior gives your cat ample space, and the adjustable, padded straps and chest clasp offer additional support. Our human reviewer liked how comfortable it was—especially while adventuring with a rather large cat—while our feline reviewers gave it four paws up.
Beyond its impressive weight capacity, there’s a lot to like about the Fat Cat. It comes with a clip inside to attach a harness, side pockets, and a comfy mat that’s attached to the pack with Velcro. It has an opening in the top so your cat can pop their head out, plus a larger zipper opening for easy kitty loading and unloading.
Then, of course, there’s the popular bubble window for kitties who like a good view. If your kitty prefers less visual stimulation, the bubble window can be switched out with a hard screen that can shield them from prying eyes.
- Mesh sides and top allow good airflow
- Comfortable to carry
- Bubble window can be replaced with screen attachment
- Side pockets offer storage
- Only accessible from the top
Best for Kittens: Midwest Day Tripper Pet Backpack
Dr. Kristin Wuellner, a licensed veterinarian at Hills Pet Nutrition, says, “It’s not necessary to get different carrier sizes as your kitten grows unless they fully outgrow the selected carrier.” If you’re going to be carrying your kitten on your back, however, a smaller backpack might be more comfortable.
Designed for cats up to 10 pounds, the Day Tripper offers a safe, comfortable ride for kittens and smaller cats. Lightweight yet durable fabric won’t add a ton of strain to your back. And the structured pack has rigid sides and a hard bottom that won’t collapse on your petite passenger.
Front and top zippered entrances make it easy to get your cat in or out—especially helpful if you’re dealing with a wriggly kitten. And there’s an internal safety leash for added security. Comfort-wise, you’ll appreciate the padded shoulder straps and secure hip strap. Chewy reviewers rank it high for quality and durability.
- Interior pad is removable and machine-washable
- Boxy shape feels roomier than packs that taper at the top
- Built-in poop bag dispenser
- Can be worn in front or back
- Available in blue, green, and gray
Best for Large Cats: halinfer Front Expandable Cat Backpack
Bigger cat breeds like the Maine Coon can be heavy, so you need a backpack that can handle the weight. This bubble backpack from Halinfer is durably constructed with a rigid design that offers plenty of support. Padded straps and an adjustable chest buckle ensure safe and comfortable carry.
The entire front of this carrier is clear, giving your cat a perfect view of their surroundings. Mesh side pockets and large air holes provide ventilation to keep your cat cool.
Most importantly for large cats, this backpack carrier expands. When you unzip the front, a mesh panel unfolds to give your cat a little extra breathing room. Dr. Grant Little, DVM and veterinary expert on JustAnswer, recommends “a carrier your cat can turn around in, if needed, so they don’t feel stuck.” Expanding the front of the backpack may help a larger cat feel less confined.
- Clear bubble front for visibility
- Zippered mesh panel expands on the front
- Padded straps and adjustable chest buckle
- Available in a wide range of colors
- Accommodates cats weighing up to 20 pounds
Most Comfortable: PetAmi Deluxe Cat Backpack
Finding the perfect cat backpack isn’t just about your cat’s comfort—you also need to consider the human doing the carrying (i.e., you!). If your regular cat carrier is a bear to deal with, this pack from PetAmi could be the answer.
Padded, breathable straps are easy on your shoulders, and the moisture-wicking mesh back offers additional comfort. For extra support on the trail, there’s both a chest and waist strap. And three pockets for storage means your hands stay comfortably free.
This bag comes with all the bells and whistles: zip-up mesh windows, cozy sherpa-lined bedding, safety strap and buckle, and a collapsible pet bowl.
- Made with high-grade 600D polyester for longevity
- Two side entries
- Safety features include: name tag, reflective strip, and safety buckles on zippers
- Ten colors available
Best for Visibility: Lollimeow Waterproof Cat Bubble Backpack
In addition to making sure your cat backpack “has easy functions to move your cat in and out,” Dr. Little stresses the importance of a carrier that “has visibility so your cat can keep an eye on things going on around them.” The Lollimeow bubble backpack for cats is completely transparent on the front.
Made with waterproof Oxford fabric, this eye-catching backpack will keep your precious cargo (mostly) dry. Since they all need airflow, no cat backpack can be entirely waterproof—but this one does a pretty good job.
The transparent shell gives your cat the ultimate view—but it might be too much exposure for shy cats. It’s definitely best for bold kitties who won’t mind the extra visibility. Lollimeow also carries models that expand in the front (like the Hanlifer pack above) or the back (for a tent bed).
- Nine ventilation holes
- Trendy design with three colors: gray, pink, and aqua
- Safety latch included
- Expandable models are also available
Travel Pick: PETKIT Ventilated Cat Backpack
Dr. Little notes that cat backpacks can be a comfortable everyday alternative to traditional carriers, but they’re also great for travel. Whether you’re traveling with your cat by car or plane, safety is tantamount. Dr. Little suggests that a carrier made from sturdy materials may provide better protection, especially against falling objects.
The PETKIT ventilated cat backpack features a rigid shell, but it’s still very lightweight (about three pounds). A detachable mat keeps your cat cozy inside, while adjustable padded shoulder straps ensure comfortable carry. The back also features EVA padding for extra cushioning.
Ventilation is key if your cat is going to spend extended periods of time in the carrier. This PETKIT model has mesh panels and metal air slots. Most importantly, however, it features a built-in fan to provide constant air circulation.
- Rigid construction improves travel safety
- Large window in front for visibility
- Padded shoulder straps and adjustable chest buckle
- Integrated fan for continuous air circulation
Best for Ventilation: Texsens Innovative Traveler Cat Backpack
Whether you’re heading out for a hike or jetting across the country, proper airflow keeps your cat breathing easy. This Texsens cat backpack features large PVC mesh panels, offering plenty of ventilation. You can even roll down the mesh front window to give your cat some fresh air. This window also enables you to lift your cat out from the top, which Dr. Little suggests may be less stressful for your cat than reaching in to grab them.
Not only does this backpack help keep your cat cool and comfortable, but it’s comfortable for the wearer too. Padded shoulder straps and an adjustable chest buckle make it easy to find a good fit. The back is padded as well, though it still folds flat for easy storage.
This cat backpack features two large storage pockets and a removable mat. It comes in seven different colors, and it’s modestly priced.
- Large PVC mesh panels for ventilation
- Includes two large zippered storage pockets
- Padded shoulder straps and adjustable chest buckle
- Available in seven different colors
Best Wheeled Backpack: Kopeks Deluxe Travel Cat Backpack
When you get tired of hefting your cat’s weight, it’s convenient to be able to roll them around instead. A wheeled backpack can be particularly convenient for travel. No need to choose between rollaboard, shoulder bag, or backpack—this Kopeks carrier is all three.
This Oxford-fabric backpack is spacious and airy, with three mesh panels. Thick fleece padding will keep your kitty comfortable on your journey. Two large side pockets offer convenient storage of your cat’s travel essentials like paperwork, leashes, and treats.
Note that this carrier is definitely for smaller cats, up to nine pounds. The backpack itself is also a little heavier than some models—about 6 pounds.
- Telescoping handle, wheels, and backpack straps
- Large mesh panels for ventilation
- Includes two large storage pockets
- Recommended for smaller cats
How We Chose
We selected the products featured here based on a combination of our own hands-on testing, comprehensive analysis of customer reviews across a wide variety of retail platforms, and interviews with veterinary experts.
We prioritized cat backpacks with durable materials, adjustable straps, ventilation, and safety features. Our picks are also influenced by the experience of living and playing alongside our own much-loved and strongly opinionated pets, who are never stingy with their feedback.