Take Your Cat on a Walk? Here’s How to Make Them Love Backpack Adventures


Backpack walks for cats involve placing your cat in a special pet carrier backpack and taking them outdoors for walks and adventures. This allows cats to experience the sights, sounds, and smells of the outdoors from the comfort and security of a backpack designed just for them. Backpack walks have become an increasingly popular way for cat owners to provide enriching outdoor time for their curious kitties.

In this article, we will explore the full experience of backpack walks for cats. We will cover the benefits and risks, tips for choosing the right backpack and getting your cat comfortable with it, safety precautions for walks, ideal activities to do together, and signs that your cat enjoys their backpack adventures. Our goal is to provide cat owners with comprehensive information so they can make informed decisions about trying backpack walks with their own cats.

History of Cat Backpacks

The first cat backpacks were invented in the late 1990s as a way for cat owners to bring their feline companions on hikes and outdoor adventures. According to Your Cat Backpack, the original cat backpack carrier was designed in 1998 by a hiking enthusiast who wanted to share the trails with his cat. This early version of the cat backpack consisted of a basic fabric pouch with mesh siding that allowed the cat to see out.

Over the next decade, cat backpacks continued to evolve with more features for safety, comfort and visibility. Design innovations included chest straps for stability, improved ventilation andPadding for the cat’s comfort. The bubble window design became popular in the mid 2000s, allowing cats a 360 degree view during hikes. This innovation came from the brand Your Cat Backpack, which pioneered the clear plastic bubble design in 2007.

Today, there are many types of cat backpacks on the market catering to different cat sizes and personalities. Despite design variations, all modern cat backpacks share the original purpose – allowing cats to safely experience the outdoors and new sights, sounds and smells.

Benefits of Backpack Walks for Cats

Cat backpack walks can provide many benefits for cats by giving them mental stimulation, exercise, a chance to bond with their owner, and opportunities to explore new environments safely.

One of the main advantages of taking cats on walks in backpacks is providing extra mental enrichment. According to cat behavior experts, cats need mental stimulation just like humans do (1). Backpack walks allow cats to experience sights, sounds, and smells they don’t get exposed to while staying inside. This sensory stimulation keeps cats engaged and entertained.

Backpack walks also give cats a source of exercise they may not get otherwise. Cats tend to lead sedentary lives, so the gentle movement involved in backpack walks helps them stay physically active and burn extra energy (2). The exercise can help prevent obesity and related health problems.

In addition, backpack outings are a great chance for cats to bond further with their owner outside of the home. The walks allow for quality one-on-one time and help strengthen the human-feline relationship (3). Cats may feel happier getting to share an adventure with their beloved human.

Finally, cat backpacks give cats opportunities in a safe way to explore environments beyond their home territory. Cats are naturally curious animals and want to investigate new spaces. Backpack walks satisfy this desire for adventure and discovery (4). With their humans there to supervise, cats can sample the great outdoors worry-free.

In summary, cat backpack walks provide mental stimulation, physical activity, bonding time, and environmental exploration. These benefits add enrichment, exercise, social connection, and excitement to a cat’s daily life.

Potential Risks and Dangers

While backpack walks can be enriching for cats, there are some potential risks and dangers to be aware of. One of the biggest risks is falling. Cats in backpacks can fall if the backpack shifts or tips over suddenly. To prevent falls, choose a backpack designed specifically for cats that distributes weight evenly and allows them to see out (1). In addition, always keep one hand on the backpack when walking and set it down gently, never letting it fall or tip. Avoid steep cliffs or stairs when backpacking with a cat.

Overheating is another potential danger. Since cats are confined in the backpack with limited airflow, they can overheat quickly, especially in warmer weather. Check on your cat frequently, offer water, and limit walks to 10-15 minutes in hotter temperatures. Choose a backpack made of breathable mesh material. Avoid direct sun exposure (2).

Backpack walks can also potentially cause undue stress for some cats. Look for signs of anxiety like dilated pupils, ears back, excessive meowing or hissing. If a cat seems distressed, end the walk promptly and try acclimating them slowly. Forcing an unwilling cat on walks will only increase stress. Proper conditioning is key.

Finally, there is always a small risk of cats escaping from backpacks. Use a backpack designed specifically for cats that latches securely. Never leave a backpack unattended. Keep cats leashed to their packs as an extra precaution. Supervise closely during the entire walk (3). With proper precautions, backpack walks can be safe, but owners must stay alert.

(1) https://yourcatbackpack.com/blogs/cat-backpack-tips-and-advice/are-cat-backpacks-safe

(2) https://www.petsradar.com/advice/are-cat-backpacks-cruel

(3) https://www.catster.com/guides/is-it-cruel-to-use-a-cat-backpack/

Choosing the Right Backpack

When choosing a backpack for your cat, there are several key factors to consider:

The primary consideration is size. Backpacks should be large enough for your cat to move around comfortably, but not so large they can slide around inside. Measure your cat and choose a backpack that fits their dimensions when curled up.

Weight limit is also important. Make sure to select a backpack designed for your cat’s weight so that its build is sturdy enough to provide proper support. Heavier cats will require more structure and support.

For your cat’s comfort, ensure the backpack has good ventilation. Mesh windows, breathable materials, and adequate open space prevent overheating.

Look for adjustable straps on both the shoulder straps and belly straps. This allows you to customize the fit and keep your cat secure during walks.

Multiple entry/exit points make it easier to get your cat in and out of the backpack. Top and side zippers give you flexibility.

Choosing the right size and style will keep your cat safe and content during backpack adventures. Assess your cat’s needs when selecting the ideal carrier.

Getting Your Cat Used to a Backpack

Getting a cat comfortable with a backpack takes patience and positive reinforcement. The key is to go at the cat’s pace and make the backpack a pleasant experience through acclimatization training and treats. According to Training Your Cat to Use Their Cat Backpack for Adventuring, start by placing the open, empty backpack in an area your cat frequents so they can inspect it. Initially, do short sessions of just a few minutes at a time.

Place treats or toys inside the backpack to encourage your cat to go in on their own. Pet and praise your cat for any interaction with the backpack. Don’t force them into it. Build up the duration gradually as your cat gets comfortable. Keep training sessions positive and stress-free. With time and consistency, your cat will learn to associate the backpack with good experiences and be eager to hop in for walks.

Safety Tips for Backpack Walks

When taking your cat out for a walk in a backpack, it’s important to take proper safety precautions. Here are some tips to keep your cat safe and secure during backpack adventures:

Make sure your cat’s harness fits properly inside the backpack. It should be snug but not too tight. Check that your cat cannot wiggle out of the harness while inside the backpack 1.

Have proper identification on your cat in case you get separated. Consider microchipping your cat and putting a collar with contact info on your cat while inside the backpack 2.

Closely supervise your cat during walks. Do not let them roam unsupervised. Keep the backpack zipper secured.

Avoid extreme weather. Do not take your cat out when it’s too hot, cold, or stormy outside.

Ideal Activities for Backpack Walks

There are many fun and stimulating activities you can do with your cat while they’re in a backpack. Here are some of the top options for backpack walks:


Going for a hike on an easy, pet-friendly trail is a great backpack activity for cats. The sights, sounds, and smells of nature provide mental enrichment. Make sure to choose short trails without much elevation gain at first, while your cat gets used to the backpack. Refer to the sources below for more details on cat-safe hiking.

Sources: Places to Take Your Cat for a Fun Day Out, Training Your Cat to Use Their Backpack for Adventuring

Park Visits

Taking your cat to a quiet park can provide gentle outdoor stimulation. Let them observe nature from the safety and comfort of the backpack. Grass, trees, flowers, and chirping birds will capture their interest. Go during off-peak hours to avoid crowds and high-energy dogs. Cats may enjoy napping in the fresh air too!

Outdoor Exploration

Wandering around your neighborhood or safe outdoor area allows cats to take in new sights and sounds. Keep a leisurely, meandering pace to prevent overstimulation. Let your cat set the course based on where their attention goes. Backpack walks are all about providing enriching sensory experiences for cats.


Some cats enjoy taking trips in their backpacks! Travel by car, train, or plane opens up a world of adventure. Be sure to introduce travel gradually and gauge your cat’s stress levels. Proper conditioning is key for cats to relax and enjoy the ride. Always use an approved cat carrier for any mode of transport.

Signs Your Cat Enjoys Backpack Walks

There are some clear signs that indicate your cat is enjoying their time in the backpack on walks. These include:

Purring – If your cat is purring contentedly while in the backpack, they are likely feeling happy and relaxed. The rhythmic purring shows they are comfortable in the enclosed space.

Excitement – An excited cat may meow eagerly when they see you getting the backpack out and may voluntarily hop inside in anticipation of the adventure. During the walk, alert and curious behavior like looking around intently indicates engagement and enjoyment.

Engagement with their environment – Cats who are interested in smells, sights and sounds on the walk tend to nudge against the backpack’s mesh openings to get a better view. Taking in all the stimuli is a sign of curiosity and adventure.

Volunteering to enter the backpack – With training and positive associations, many cats learn to voluntarily enter the backpack when it’s time for a walk, rather than needing to be placed inside. This eagerness shows they have come to enjoy walks.

According to one cat behavior expert, “If your cat is excited to go out, is sniffing everything in sight and tail is wagging in excitement – it’s a sign that they may be the purrfect candidate for backpacking adventures.” (Source)


In summary, cat backpack walks can be an enriching experience for cats when done properly. The key benefits are providing mental stimulation, exercise, and safety for indoor cats to experience the outdoors. However, there are some risks like overheating, anxiety, and injury that need to be considered. With the right backpack, training, supervision, and precautions, most cats can grow to enjoy backpack adventures.

Backpack walks allow cats to take in new sights, sounds, and smells in a secure environment. For curious and active cats, it can make their world a little bigger and more exciting. With some time and positive reinforcement, backpack walks can become a bonding ritual between cats and their owners. Just be sure to keep walks short, bring water and shade, and pay close attention to your cat’s signals. If done responsibly, backpack walks can be a fun new way for indoor cats to explore while staying safe.

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