Backpacks for carrying cats are fast becoming a trend. There’s no doubt that they are cute, but more importantly they are a lot more practical than a traditional cat carrier as they leave both your hands free for those extra shopping bags, but are they suitable for your cute little fluffball or are cat backpacks cruel?
Cat backpacks aren't cruel, but it’s important to be aware that some cat’s will take to them straight away, while others could get distressed if forced into one, which would mean you would need to train your cat to use it first, which we will cover in this article along with other important information you should know before using backpacks for cats.
Now we know that backpacks for cats aren’t cruel let’s look at some important information you should know before letting your cat use one.
Are Cats Comfortable In Backpacks
Backpacks for cats can be comfortable, but you first need to make sure you don’t pick one too small or too big. You don’t want your cat squashed in otherwise it won’t be comfortable, but of course many cats prefer small corners and little spaces over big open spaces, plus in a big backpack they may get knocked around.
So the solution is, make sure there is enough space for your cat to sit up, lie down and turn, and that should be the right size for it. If you would like to make it even more comfortable you could also add a blanket.
Do Cat’s Get Hot In Backpacks
Certain materials such as acrylic can attract the heat and cause it to get trapped inside. Always make sure it has air holes, to help your cat keep cool and have plenty of fresh air to breath. Also, where possible keep out of direct sun light for prolonged periods of time.
Training a cat to use a backpack carrier
If you are panning to take your cat on walks, cycling etc then do backpack training alongside harness and leash training. If not, then starting from a kitten is always easier than from a adult.
First is to pick the right backpack for your needs and for your cat.
Second all cats will respond differently to certain ways of training but a few general tips you can work through are:
– Feed your cat its treats in the carrier so it associates the backpack with something nice.
– Take your cat out in the carrier for short periods at first even if just nipping to the shops or across the street so it gets used to different surroundings and noises outside especially if it’s always been an indoor cat.
– Before using your backpack carrier for the first time properly make sure your cats happy, comfortable and that they feel their backpack is a safe space, which we will go over now…
Giving treats to your cat to make their backpack a safe place
Most cats are food orientated, so being motivated by treats which will encourage them to learn things.
Follow The Steps Below…
1. Open your backpack in your cat’s favourite area so it already feels comfortable around the introduction of the carrier.
2. Put the treats around the backpack gradually moving to inside.
3. If you watch you can verbally praise them as they are doing it
4. Some cats can be trained with clickers.
5. When your cat gets more comfortable around and in the backpack try closing the zip slowly
6. When you can close the backpack completely with a happy cat then start lifting it off the floor and carrying it on your front to start with so you can keep a eye on your cats behaviour.
7. Keep the treats and verbal praise going throughout and when completely settled you can start wearing your backpack on your back.
8. Now you should be able to take your cat outside first locally for short periods and then transition into longer and further journeys.
Playing with your cat with toys to get them to use there backpack
A lot of cats have a favourite toy or game so using this to help with backpack training may be a option.
1. Have the backpack in a area familiar to your cat
2. Put cat nip inside the backpack if they use it or frow in their favourite toy for them to sniff out.
3. If it’s a feather on string, then fan it into the backpack for your cat to pounce on in the backpack.
4. Then start working through steps 5 to 8 above
How long can a cat stay in a cat backpack
There is no exact time for how long a cat can stay or be happy in a backpack carrier. Each cat will be different, and it will also depend on the environment. For example, if out walking you may find your cat is happier than sat in a backpack in a car.
Things to Know Before Using a Cat Backpack
1. If you plan to use a cat backpack instead of carrier, it’s important to make sure your cat can hide from view in it, so be sure to buy one with some completely covered areas.
2. Just like standard cat carriers, cat backpacks are not designed to be used for long periods of time as your cat can't have any access to food or water or a litter tray, with that said, if your cat harnessed and leash trained then cat backpacks are great for walking, hiking and cycling trips as the cat can be taken out frequently for food, water and toilet breaks and to stretch its legs.
3. Ensure it's big enough for your cat to get plenty of ventilation.
4. Make sure your cat can see out of it.
5. Consider putting a blanket in their so your will be comfortable.
6. Train your cat to be comfortable using the backpack and getting into and out of it.
Are cat backpacks cruel? No, as discussed they are not cruel if you choose the right backpack, but if you are going to use a backpack for cats, make sure you do it right, so you don’t upset kitty and that you do everything you can to make it a good experience for them.