As a pet owner you know that at some point you are going to have to take your cat or dog to the vet or otherwise travel with your animal. Maybe you are visiting friends and relatives and need to take your cat along for the ride, maybe you are moving for work and need to transport your life from one end of the country to another. In these circumstances you are going to need a decent, reliable pet carrier.
Pet carriers’ comes in all shapes and sizes. You can get the solid shell crates that you carry via a top handle or a holdall style semi soft shell that you can carry using a shoulder strap. Whilst these traditional carriers have been popular in the past, now might be the time to upgrade. A backpack might be more suitable for your lifestyle. We will take you through the best cat backpacks available today and look at the reasons why you should choose one over a traditional carrier.
Why Get A Cat Backpack?
Easier To Use – Most cat owners who get a carrier usually opt for a rigid plastic crate style carrier first time out – and usually get one that is a little larger than necessary just so kitty doesn’t feel cramped. If you are that owner you know what a pain in the ass these crates are! Banging against your legs as you walk, making you do the dance through doorways and generally being a hassle to move in and out of vehicles and crowded spaces.
With a backpack all that nonsense is over! You can stick it on your back and you are hands free….You can move like normal and life is just much easier. You’ll wonder why you didn’t go for a backpack before – it is so natural and obvious!
Easier To Store – Those big ass crates store real easy at the bottom of your closet…..not! These backpacks are seriously user friendly because 99% of them fold flat for storage so you can dump them in a closet without losing to much space. On this basis alone they are worth trying out.
Easier To Use On Public Transport – Flying somewhere or going on a bus? With a backpack you can take kitty places you couldn’t before. A load of these backpacks are specifically sized so that they will slide under an aircraft seat meaning less hassle taking your cat on domestic flights. This is another serious selling point – if you fly to visit friends and family a backpack makes transporting your cat simple.
Comfortable For Your Cat – I thought “hmm, that could be cramped” when i considered getting my cat in a backpack but then i realised my cat loves boxes. She can squeeze into boxes half her volume and fall asleep! An aha moment, and sure enough loads of people have no problem getting their cats to love being in these backpacks – they feel secure and safe.
What To Look For
Size – You want to look for a decent size option that will fit under and airline seat. Usually to achieve this you want to look for something that comes in around these sizes……..Make sure to measure you cat to make sure they can sit upright in the pack if necessary. Most cats won’t have any problem coping with a bag this size.
Weight – If you got the right size consider the weight capacity and actual weight of the bag. You want something under 4 lbs in weight otherwise the bag alone will be on the heavy side. More importantly pay close attention to the weight carrying capacity. Some backpacks can’t take the biggest/heaviest moggy – they slump like a hammock and end up collapsing in on our little friend. Play it safe with weight capacity.
Loading Options – Side loading, front loading or top loading. Backpacks come with all different types of opening. You want the most versatile bag but often the structure of the bag and it’s inherent strength might lie in the various loading options. I would go for top loading by choice and side loading as a second choice.
Straps and handles – You got to carry this thing so you want to be comfortable. You want padded, adjustable shoulder straps as a minimum. Maybe you want a chest strap and belt strap if your kitty is a fully grown heavyweight monster….spread the load and all. If you want versatility consider a top handle that may allow you to strap the backpack into a vehicle.
Ventilation – Of course ventilation is important but particularly if you are going on a plane and putting the bag under a seat. I favour mesh ventilation panels – as many as possible to side, front and top without compromising rigidity of the bag. If you don’t envisage many plane journeys – maybe your just thinking vet visits then most backpacks come with enough ventilation and you probably won’t need to overthink this one.
Petami Deluxe Carrier Backpack
The PetAmi Deluxe Carrier Backpack is a well thought out design offered in a range of 12 different colour schemes from a jazzy red to a classic conservative charcoal grey.
What is great about this design is that the carrier is the ideal size to fit under airline seats, is lightweight and yet has fantastic carrying capacity. The backpack measures 12.5 x 10.2 x 16.3 inches, weighs only 3.4 pounds yet can carry a cat as heavy as 18 pounds. This capacity is highly unusual.
The capacity is fantastic due to two elements of the construction. Firstly the PetAmi Deluxe has a solid, removable, sherpa lined bedding base that prevents “hammocking” but allows fold down storage on removal. Secondly the side seams are wire reinforced to prevent collapsing. These aspects mean heavier pets can use this backpack without fear of the bag collapsing in on them.
Of course, if you are going to carry heavy you need good straps. The shoulder straps on this backpack are padded and adjustable but the pack also features a waist belt and chest strap. This is a welcome feature for owners of heavier cats and makes the backpack far more comfortable to use! The pack also features a holdall style handle to the top.
Ventilation is well thought out with mesh windows in sides and front panel. The sides both unzip for access. Ziips to sides and mesh windows are fitted with escape proof buckles which is a useful feature if your kitty is an escape artist of repute! An additional safety feature in an inner leash point to prevent kitty bounding out when the backpack is opened.
As well as these impressive features you also get a few additional sweeteners by way of a collapsible water bowl included and useful side and front pockets to the backpack outer. This backpack is pitched at a lower mid range price point. A wealth of positive owner reviews suggests, along with the features that this is a fantastic product that has been really well thought out.
Texsens Innovative traveller bubble backpack cat carrier
Texsens have been making pet carriers for some time now and their Bubble Backpack Cat Carrier is one of their latest offerings. Stylish, innovative and well designed sums it up!
The Texsens pack is constructed from a vinyl leather look material which works well with some of the brighter colour offerings in the range. What makes this pack recognisable is the bubble shaped viewing window. The window/viewer is 6 inches in diameter and can be removed and fitted with a mesh covering if desired.
Like the PetAmi Deluxe, this pack is airline approved and measures in at 12.99 x 9.05 x 15.74 inches. Capacity is smaller with the pack recommended for cats up to 11 pounds.
Access is through the sides and ventilation comes from side openings and via the viewing bubble/mesh opening. The pack features an interior safety leash but does not offer escape proof zip buckles like the Petami Deluxe.
The Texsens bubble pack features padded adjustable shoulder straps, removal washable bed mat and a top carry handle. It does not have a waist strap or a chest strap.
This is a good looking backpack but does come at a premium price point. Owners are generally happy when they review their purchase but often comment that the pack is slightly smaller than expected and due to the leatherette often needs airing before use.
If you choose a Texsens be careful to get the right model. They currently offer three different sizes of bubble pack each with slightly different features. The one we have reviewed is airline approved but other sizes may not be..
Petami Premium Pet Carrier Backpack
The PetAmi Premium Cat Backpack is a cheaper offering than the deluxe and, indeed, is one of the cheapest pet carriers on the market – but don’t let this put you off. The Premium is in fact a great cat backpack in its own right!
Available in seven different colour schemes to suit all different tastes, the premium comes in at an airline approved size of 11.5 x 9 x 16 inches. The main difference between this and the deluxe is capacity.The deluxe can take a cat as heavy as 18 lbs due to the rigid bedding base incorporated into the design. The premium does not have the rigid base and as a result has a maximum capacity of 8 lbs.
Apart from capacity, the premium also differs in so much as it is a top loading backpack rather than side loading.
Apart from these two factors the premium differs very little from the deluxe. It has sherpa lined bedding, comes with a collapsible bowl, has extra side pockets and comes with great airflow – mesh top, side infill panels in mesh and a mesh aperture to the front face of the backpack.
The premium backpack comes with adjustable shoulder straps and features a waist belt and chest straps. Can be folded flat for storage.
All in all this is a great little backpack if your cat is the correct size. Many owners highly recommend this backpack and suggest it is very easy to use.
Petgear I-G02 Escort 5 in 1 carrier
The Petgear I-GO2 Escort 5 in 1 carrier is an innovative design that offers five different users modes : backpack, roller bag, tote, car seat or carrier. It has a great carrying capacity being good for cats as large as 6kgs, comes in 6 different colours.
The Escort comes in at 14 x 8 x 15 inches and will fit under an airline seat. Having the roller bag capability certainly makes this a useful bag if you are travelling by air as you can easily pull the bag if it gets a little to heavy for your back whilst you make your way around terminals.
The escort backpack features padded adjustable shoulder straps, has a telescopic handle for use as a roller carrier, has a fleece inner liner and an interior safety leash.
In terms of ventilation and viewing openings the escort features mesh infilled side panels and rear panel.
The Petgear Escort is a mid price backpack, roller pack and is well liked by users who have bought this backpack previously. Be careful to check the size of your cat, this carrier is snug and is better suited to small and medium cats, may tent and hammock on heavier cats!
Giantex Astronaut Space Capsule Cat Carrier
The Giantex Astronaut Space Capsule certainly differs from the other options. The rear outer is a hard pvc shell with a dome window aperture that makes this backpack resemble an astronauts capsule!
Available in 6 different colour options from pink, through to leopard spots or more conservative metallic grey the capsule is sure to be both showerproof and rigid thanks to the stiff shell.
The pack is airline approved coming in at a 15.7 x 11.8 x 11 inches allowing for placement beneath aircraft seats. The carrier has a 12 lbs capacity so is good for small and medium cats. The interior features a safety leash and access is achieved by unzipping the whole rigid portion of the outer shell.
The pack has padded adjustable shoulder straps for comfort and also features a tote style handle. The backpack features two side pockets for water bottles or the like.
This bag is available at a medium price point and is well liked by owners for its fashionable and cute appearance. On the whole most owners report that their cat likes the carrier although you have to be careful that your cat is not to large for this bag. Some owners fear that the stiff outer shell may make conditions too hot on flights but it should be noted the carrier does come with vent holes to three sides of the bag, vent holes to the viewing dome and the dome can be changed for a mesh cover if required.
Our Top Pick
The Petami Deluxe Pet Carrier. Great price, well considered design and great holding capacity and can be used on an airline without issue – clearly the best on the market in our view!