Cats are naturally curious creatures. Gazing out the window every day works fine for some felines. But others prefer a lifestyle filled with additional stimulation.
Unfortunately, not every cat can be an outdoor animal. That’s where cat backpacks come in! Invented to make traveling with your furry friend easier, cat backpacks allow your cat to come with you almost anywhere, such as on walks, hikes, to the vet, and even on airplanes.
But are cat backpacks safe? Keep reading for our detailed guide regarding cat backpack safety.
Are Cat Backpacks Safe?
The short answer is yes. Cat backpacks are specifically designed for transporting your cat, similar to a regular carrier. Therefore, they include places to clip your cat’s collar, as well as air holes for breathing.
Not only are cat backpack safe, but they are also often more enjoyable for your cat. Most backpacks feature a window for your cat to look out of. This means that they can take in the scenery and enjoy themselves.
This is the main thing that sets cat backpacks apart from regular cat carriers. They are not strictly for transportation; they are also for cat recreation.
However, not all cat backpacks are created equally. And not all felines have the same likes and dislikes. To maximize your cat’s safety in a backpack, you need to make sure that they feel comfortable and happy.
Keep reading for a list of ways to maximize your cat’s enjoyment of a backpack, as well as cat safety tips for when you are using one.
Make Sure Your Cat Backpack Is the Right Size
Cat backpacks are designed to hold your cat and not much else. And while cats generally don’t mind sitting in small spaces, you don’t want to force them into a space where they are too cramped and uncomfortable.
So before buying a cat backpack, you should measure and weigh your cat. Make sure that your pet fits within the size recommendations of the pack in question.
The size recommendations are based on your cat’s comfort. But the weight recommendations serve an additional purpose.
If the cat is too heavy for the bag, it can put undue stress on the straps of the backpack. Over time, this can wear down your bag and you could risk your cat escaping.
To protect the quality of your bag and the safety of your cat, make sure you buy the right size backpack.
The size recommendations for the backpack you purchase are based on the size of one cat. Never try to fit two or more cats into a cat backpack. It can break the bag and be uncomfortable for the cats.
The only possible exception to this rule would be if you had two tiny kittens. Just be aware that only having one backpack isn’t going to work for very long, as kittens grow quickly.
Additionally, always make sure that the backpack you are buying was specifically designed for carrying cats. It should go without saying, but regular backpacks are never suitable for transporting your feline friend.
Choose the Right Material
Cat backpacks come in all shapes, sizes, and materials.
Most cat backpacks can be divided into two main camps. These are hard shell and soft shell. Both materials are fine for cat transportation.
But depending on the weight and temperament of your cat, you may be influenced to choose one over the other. If a cat gets angry inside the backpack, it may be tempted to scratch at the sides. They won’t be able to do any damage to a hard shell pack, but they could rip apart a soft shell over time.
If your cat is known to be temperamental, consider avoiding a soft shell backpack. Otherwise, the quality of the pack and the safety of your cat may be placed in jeopardy.
Additionally, hard shell backpacks have an easier time carrying heavier cats. The bottom of a soft shell backpack may sag or droop under the weight of a heavy cat.
For small to medium-sized cats, it shouldn’t matter either way. But if you have a particularly large or heavy cat, you should beware of soft shell backpacks.
At the same time, soft shell backpacks usually feature mesh windows for airflow. If you are in the woods or in a park, your cat will love having uninhibited access to these fresh smells.
Pay Attention to Your Timeline
Just because cat backpacks are safe for your cat doesn’t mean that you should leave them in there all the time. Similar to a carrier, cats in cat backpacks should be let out every couple of hours in order to stretch their legs.
If left in a cat backpack for longer than a few hours, cats will become frustrated, and can even get sick. In addition to stretching, cats need to have access to food, water, and a litter box.
You won’t be able to put food or water into the cat backpack without it spilling. And some cats don’t like to eat or drink in an unfamiliar place anyway. So always leave your house with a plan for meeting your cat’s basic needs.
This is true for all methods of cat transportation, not just backpacks.
Additionally, beware of temperature. Your cat backpack should have a ventilation system in place for breathing. But it won’t necessarily regulate temperature.
This means that on cold days, your cat can get uncomfortably chilly if out for too long. You should also be cautious of taking your cat out on hot days. Cats can overheat, especially in places where they don’t have access to water.
Familiarize Your Cat With the Backpack
Some cats will instantly take to the backpack, but others will not. This is a very important rule: do not force your cat to spend time in the backpack if they don’t like it.
Outdoor excursions aren’t for everybody. If your cat hates or dreads the backpack, it’s ultimately not a good fit.
That being said, there are plenty of ways to help your cat get acclimated to the backpack, starting with when you first receive it. Open the box your backpack came in around the cat. Cats love to check out new additions to their home setting.
Leave the backpack open in your cat’s favorite hangout spots. Over the course of a few days, the backpack will start smelling less like a new addition and more like home. For cats, a familiar scent signifies that there is no threat.
If you leave the backpack open, chances are high that your cat will jump in and check it out on their own. Remember, cats enjoy small spaces and places to hide. This is why they have such a fascination with cardboard boxes.
If your cat doesn’t find its way into the backpack by themselves, you can make it a little more enticing. Put a treat or one of their favorite toys in the bottom of the backpack to draw them in.
You could even put a cozy blanket in the backpack. Before you know it, your cat may lay down for a nap in their new mode of transport.
Practice Going on Excursions
Let your cat acclimate like this for a week or so. Then, you can practice your first little excursion.
Make sure your first couple of excursions are fun and calming outings. You don’t want to take on too much too fast, especially if your cat is unfamiliar with the outdoors.
For example, walking around the block once is a good first outing. No matter what, avoid going to the veterinarian on your first trip.
Doing something potentially traumatic will scare your cat away from the backpack forever. Remember, all of this is done to ensure that your cat is comfortable with the backpack, thereby promoting safe excursions.
Just like a carrier or a cat leash, cats need to be trained and guided on how to use their backpack. When you are out enjoying walks with your cat, it will all be worth it.
Cat Backpacks Benefit You
We’ve spent a lot of time talking about how cat backpacks are safe and reliable options for your cat. But did you know that cat backpacks are actually better for you, too? It’s true!
For one, a cat backpack allows you to transport your cat hands-free. This means you never have to set your cat down, and you can carry other things at the same time. For example, if you have to take your cat on an airplane, a backpack is a much easier way to transport them.
Secondly, cat backpacks are easier on your posture than regular carriers. Regular carriers force you to place the full weight of your cat on one side of your body. A cat backpack spreads the weight out across your body, preventing back pain and aches.
For short distances, it may not matter. But many people who purchase cat backpacks are more interested in longer recreational excursions. Your body would be in pain if you had to take your cat on a hike in a traditional carrier.
For a hands-free, pain-free experience, cat backpacks are the right choice for you.
General Safety Advice
There are a few more things you can do to ensure that your cat has a safe and enjoyable time in their cat backpack. These things are as follows:
- Always walk at a normal pace when you are wearing your cat backpack
- Give your cat something soft to sit on
- Never leave your cat backpack alone
- Don’t force it
Never run, skip, or jump when you are wearing your cat backpack. Remember, cat backpacks are safe for your cat as long as you use them responsibly. Rough or random movement can disturb or harm your cat.
This also means that you should never sling the backpack around or wear it on one arm the way some people do with regular backpacks. Always keep your backpack level so that your cat doesn’t slide around.
Also, to prevent slippage, give your cat something to sit on, like a soft blanket. You want them to be comfortable while you are out walking around. A comfortable cat is a safe cat.
Never, ever leave your cat backpack alone. Similar to an unattended purse, someone might steal it. Whether your cat is the intended target or not, the situation would be tragic.
And lastly, don’t force it. Some cats love the backpack, and some do not.
If your cat openly objects to using the backpack, don’t force it unless you have to. Reinforce trust bonds with your cat by not doing anything to make it feel unsafe.
That being said, things can always change. Even if your cat objects at first, leave the cat backpack out around the house for a while.
Over time, your cat may become more comfortable with its presence. And eventually, they’ll be ready to go for a walk.
Get Ready for Adventures With Your Cat
So are cat backpacks safe? Yes. Cat backpacks are a safe and reliable way to transport your cat.
Whether you are going to the vet or enjoying recreational walks and hikes, cat backpacks are good options for both you and your pet. Backpacks keep your cat secure, while also letting them take in the scenery around them.
We know you would do anything to keep your cat safe and happy. Contact us with questions, comments, or concerns about the best equipment for going on adventures with your feline friend.