Choosing the right cat carrier is tough. It may seem like a pretty inconsequential item, but it ends up playing a crucial role in you and your cat’s lives. Just consider the amount of time you’ll spend lugging your cat to vet appointments, friends’ houses, book signings, etc. A bad carrier can make every trip with your cat into a nightmare. Faulty straps, latches that don’t latch, carriers that collapse in on themselves and force your cat into a tiny little sphere. I’ve seen them all and they all suck. The carrier market is full of options, and, as usual, Amazon offers a buffet of garbage that bears the label “cat carrier.”
Which one should you choose?
Why Get a Cat Carrier Backpack?
The vast majority of carriers that are available to cat owners are your standard, run-of-the-mill box with a handle. It may be hard-shelled, it may be fabric. Either way, you’re going to be carrying it using your arms. And for a lot of people, that’s no problem. But for others, especially owners of large cats, carrying your cat a significant distance using only your arm strength can be exhausting. City dwellers especially know the pain of lugging your cat onto the subway for an annual checkup at the vet.
Distributing your cat’s weight across your back is better for your overall posture and will make for a more comfortable travel experience for both you and your cat. You don’t have to risk bumping your cat into door jambs and objects sitting low to the ground that may be tough to avoid with a normal carrier. Plus you’ll conserve your arm strength, which can be crucial during a 40-minute round trip journey to the vet’s office.
So what makes a cat carrier backpack great?
Critical features of a cat carrier backpack:
- Top and side loading
- Comfortable straps
- Strong, lightweight material
- Sturdy body that won’t collapse in on your cat
- Even weight distribution
- Provides a space your cat doesn’t hate
Best Cat Carrier Backpacks
- Material: High Quality PU & EVA Mesh
- Weight: 4.6 lbs.
- Dimensions: 16” H x 10” W x 13” L
The Petsfit Carrier Backpack is a very average backpack. It didn’t take long for me to find the exact design on Alibaba, and the design offered by Petsfit is essentially the unaltered original.
The Petsfit is capable of holding cats up to 15 lbs. It includes a tether on the interior to secure your cat while you’re traveling. The carrier offers top entry only (no side entry), but it makes up for the lack of a side panel door with large pockets on each side. The design also maximizes the space available for your cat on the interior.
The bag has a solid bottom, which means it doesn’t collapse in on your cat as soon as you load them onto your back. The bottom is also waterproof, so if your cat has an accident during a trip it won’t get all over the place. It also includes a chest clip and waist strap, which makes carrying your cat a bit easier, especially if they’re overly excited to be out on the town.The mesh used for the see-through panels on the sides and top of this backpack are very strong and will not tear if your cat scratches at them.
The Petsfit is undoubtedly the most boring bag on this list. It’s dependable and sturdy, but not quite as glitzy as some of the other options we’ve looked at. Design-wise, it looks classic with some subtle accents. It also looks pretty damn generic, but for a lot of people, ordinary is a desirable aesthetic. Don’t believe me? Go look for yourself…on Amazon!
- Value: 3
- Design: 4
- Durability: 4
- Cat Comfort: 6
- Human Comfort: 6
FINAL RATING: 4.6 / 10.0
- Material: PVC & Mesh Fabric
- Weight: 4.5 lbs.
- Dimensions: 13.8” x 10.6” x 18.1”
The HBuir Innovative Diamond Traveler Pet Carrier Shoulder Backpack prominently features a sharp, 3D geometric design and a clear plastic semi-spherical dome that serves as a cat porthole. If you don’t want to have a plastic bubble protruding from your back, you can replace it with a mesh cover that comes along with the carrier. Some owners have reported that the bubble comes off a bit too easily, but others have reported that it feels secure. Either way, it’s nice to have the mesh cover as an option.
The carrier design gives your cat the opportunity to see the outside world, and with a maximum capacity of approximately 14 lbs, there is enough room for your cat to sit or lie down. The HBuir also comes with a cloth pad that sits on its bottom, acting as a sort of cat pillow to make the trip a bit more comfortable. Ventilation is provided by 8 holes located along the sides of the carrier. The The carrier’s hard plastic shell prevents it from collapsing in on your cat as you walk.
From a design perspective, the HBuir looks particularly uninviting in direct, intense sunlight. It may be better suited for evenings and cloudy conditions. Also, while the holes provide sufficient ventilation for most weather, it is important to consider that plastic traps heat in much more efficiently than most fabrics. As a result, the HBuir may made an ideal carrier for cooler weather, but a much less hospitable environment in the heat of summer.
Go take a look on Amazon to check it out for yourself!
- Value: 2
- Design: 8
- Durability: 6
- Cat Comfort: 5
- Human Comfort: 6
FINAL RATING: 5.4 / 10.0
- Material: Polyester
- Weight: 3.5 lbs.
- Dimensions: 12.5” x 10.2” x 16.3”
The PetAmi Deluxe Pet Carrier Backpack offers two-way entry, a zip-up mesh window, and sherpa-lined bedding for your cat to snooze on. Who doesn’t love a sherpa bed?
It also includes a safety strap on the interior and a buckle on the exterior zipper to make sure your cat stays safely in the carrier until you arrive at your destination.
The body of the carrier is reinforced to prevent it from collapsing inward while it’s on your back. It also has pockets on the front and sides for storing treats and other cat necessities. It even comes with a collapsible pet bowl!
The bag has a weight capacity of up to 18 lbs, but it is advised that you stick with a cat weight limit of about 15 lbs.
While the PetAmi resembles many of the cat carrier backpack clones available on Alibaba, the creators appear to have not used a stock design. Instead, it appears that they used a stock design as a starting point and made modifications to the bag design to improve its performance and overall look. It’s also possible they used a stock design and I just can’t find it. Either way, kudos to them.
The resulting product is an impressive backpack that gives your cat a nice view of its surroundings and plenty of space to chill out in. Plus it looks like a kid’s school backpack, which is neat. Check it out on Amazon!
PetAmi is a part of a brand portfolio operated by the Caravan Group. While the other brands operated by this group span a variety of different markets, they all have a focus on cloth and cloth-based products.
- Value: 7
- Design: 8
- Durability: 7
- Cat Comfort: 7
- Human Comfort: 8
FINAL RATING: 7.4 / 10.0
- Material: Waterproof Oxford 1680D Fabric
- Weight: 3.6 lbs.
- Dimensions: 17” x 13.5” x 11”
The Pet Magasin Pet Travel Kennel functions as a normal carrier, a backpack, and a kennel. It has fold-out wings on each side that can extend the carrier’s size when it’s stationary. This will give your cat enough room to walk around a bit.
The carrier features both top and side access, which makes trips to the vet a breeze. All your vet will have to do is open the top, give your cat its vaccination, and zip it back up. It’s also collapsable and can be stored flat, making it easy to put away. Plus, lots of cats enjoy hanging out in the Pet Magasin even when they’re not traveling. It offers a nice quiet space where a cat can get some alone time.
Of all of the bags on this list, this one (and possibly the Natuvalle 6-in-1 Pet Carrier Backpack) offers enough space for large cats. The fold-out wings make it even larger when it’s stationary, giving your cat plenty of room to spread out.
While there are a few generic bags on Alibaba with designs similar to that of the Pet Magasin, none of them appear to match it exactly. Much like the PetAmi, it appears that the Pet Magasin was put together using a base fold-out wing design and adding features, including rubber grips on the bottom of the bag and a sleeker, more space-efficient design. Go take a look on…you guessed it! Amazon!
- Value: 10
- Design: 7
- Durability: 8
- Cat Comfort: 9
- Human Comfort: 10
FINAL RATING: 8.8 / 10.0
- Material: 600 Denier Oxford Fabric
- Weight: (Varies, approx. 3.28 – 3.5 lbs)
- Dimensions: (Varies)
The Natuvalle 6-in-1 Pet Carrier Backpack is the Cadillac of cat carrier backpacks. Unlike the other bags on this list, the Natuvalle comes in multiple sizes to accommodate a wide variety of cat shapes. Available sizes include:
- Extra Small: Pets 13” Long & 7.8” High, up to 12 lbs
- Small: Pets 13-15” Long & 11” High, up to 14 lbs
- Medium: Pets 15-17” Long and 11.5” High, up to 16 lbs
- Large: Pets 17-19” Long and 14” High, up to 18 lbs
The Natuvalle is flexible. It gives you six different options for carrying it around:
- Shoulder Bag Carrier
- Front Pack Pet Carrier
- Hand Bag Carrier
- 2 Position Carrier
- Car Seat Crate
- Backpack Carrier
Of course, you probably won’t use it in all of those different forms, but the flexibility is a dream come true. The Natuvalle also offers flexibility in terms of carrier openings, providing entrances on both the top and sides of the carrier.
The Natuvalle is absolutely your best option for a large cat. It has a higher maximum weight capacity (18 lbs) than the other bags on this list. While the horizontal design may feel a little funny on your back since it is not a typical backpack shape, the carrier layout offers an expanded surface area for your cat to lie down. This is especially nice for long or large cats that may feel constricted by a normal-sized carrier. Why not give it a look…on Amazon!
- Value: 9
- Design: 10
- Durability: 10
- Cat Comfort: 10
- Human Comfort: 8
FINAL RATING: 9.4 / 10.0
You can’t go wrong with the Natuvalle (9.4) and the Pet Magusin (8.8) is a close runner-up. If you’re looking for something solid and dependable while still being affordable, go for the PetAmi (7.4). If you really want to stand out in a crowd, go with the HBuir (5.4). And if you’re trying to do nothing more than blend in with the crowd, you may want to try out the Petsfit (4.6). That way you can be sure you will never, ever have the best cat backpack on the block.
Thanks for reading!