Common Misconception: Cat Backpacks

In 2015, an adorable trend made its way into the world of pet travel carriers. Enter: the bubble backpack, a large, cat-sized pack with a small semi-sphere window placed in the front. Small pets, such as cats and small dogs, can sit inside the pack and peek out at the world around them through this bubble. Most of these packs come with additional strap padding for maximum owner comfort, ventilation holes, removable and washable inserts, and two separate points of entry. Plus, these things are pretty dang precious.

Unfortunately, the bubble backpack trend is not as safe and secure as we may have thought. Though animals are not likely to escape, the structure is inherently unsafe. Backpacks are known to jostle while in motion, and if an animal is standing up inside this unsecured structure, injury is likely to occur. There is no tethering device, no room for the animal to lie down, and the base of the pack is not sturdy enough to allow the animal to stand comfortably.

To that end, these backpacks are not airline approved, and you may encounter trouble while trying to board a train with an animal inside a bubble backpack. The carrier is not sturdy enough to ride safely within a car (there is no place to hook a seatbelt, and the pack may fall over while in transit), and the side holes may hinder its ability to be used on public transportation like buses and subways. It appears that recreation is the sole purpose of this type of container.

Now, for some pet owners, this is okay. Indoor cats may want to experience the outdoors, and this is a safe and effective way to bring him out of the house. Walking around with the pack on your front or back can be a fun experience for both you and your animal. However, this backpack should not be a substitute for a legitimate, transit-approved carrier—the mix-up may result in unsafe travel conditions or the inability to board your method of transit.