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5 DIY Cat Backpack Plans You Can Build Today (With Pictures)

Elizabeth Gray

By Elizabeth Gray

cute cat in backpack

With the adventure cat craze in full swing, more and more pet parents are taking cats on the kind of outings that used to be reserved for dogs. Whether it’s hiking or paddle boarding, cats are getting in on all kinds of fun.

Because you want your cat to stay safe while you’re en route, a carrier is a must and a backpack carrier allows you to go hands-free while transporting your feline companion. Of course, you want to save as much cash as possible for your adventures, so why not DIY yourself a backpack carrier?

Here are five DIY cat backpack plans that you can build today and be on the road to adventure with your cat tomorrow!

The 5 Best DIY Cat Backpack Plans

1. Recycled Small Pet Carrier Backpack

small pet carrier backpack was designed to carry pet rats but is easily adapted to fit a cat simply by starting out with a larger bag. The basic concept is the same no matter what size backpack you choose. Besides the purse or backpack, you’ll also need wire mesh, scissors, a drill, and zip ties.

This is an easy, inexpensive project with simple, clear instructions. There are even directions on adding backpack straps if you choose to convert a purse. Because the wire mesh will have sharp edges, you’ll need to make sure they are covered or placed where your cat won’t be injured.


2. Animal-Friendly Pet Carrier Bag

This bag looks just like some of the most popular commercial cat backpack carriers with a plastic bubble window for your cat to see out. Made with a regular backpack, half a clear plastic hamster ball, scissors, and glue this project is simple, but the result is impressive.

You’ll need a backpack with double mesh drink holders on the side for this project because the design calls for dual ventilation holes in those areas. The instructional video is clever and fun to watch, but because it’s a demonstration with no audio tutorial, you will need to pay close attention, and possibly make use of the rewind button.


3. Pet Carrier Bag From Old Jacket

This pet carrier isn’t exactly a backpack—more like the cat version of a human newborn carrier—but it is hands-free, and the design and construction are so clever we had to include it on our list. The entire carrier is made by cutting up and reshaping an old, hooded sweatshirt. There is a lot of sewing involved, which will take some time if you don’t have access to a sewing machine.

The instructional video is very detailed about where to cut and sew and in what order to create the carrier. Obviously, this isn’t as sturdy as a standard cat carrier, nor is it fully enclosed. For extra safety, consider putting your cat on a harness and leash. This carrier will also work best for cats with calm personalities who don’t spook easily.

But that describes what you should look for in an adventure cat anyway!


4. Small Pet Carrier

This DIY pet carrier isn’t exactly a backpack but more of a side pack. However, it will still get your cat safely wherever you need to go, and it’s super simple to make. It also looks almost identical to a soft-sided pet carrier you would buy in a store.

This carrier is designed for a rabbit, but you can adapt it for a cat by choosing a larger duffel bag to start with. If you pick a duffel with a longer, crossbody strap you can still get the hands-free benefit we were going for with the backpack carrier. The video tutorial is easy-to-follow and the materials needed are inexpensive and readily available.


5. Cardboard Cat Carrier On Wheels

Okay, this one isn’t a backpack at all, but it’s got an honorable mention on our list because it is an innovative DIY cat carrier that’ll save your back because you can roll it instead of carrying it. A strong back means more adventuring, so we thought we’d include this option as well.

Made almost entirely of corrugated cardboard, this carrier is inexpensive and only requires basic materials, most of which can be salvaged or recycled. A box cutter and glue are the only tools required. The instructional video is demonstration only and doesn’t provide specifics on measurements for the cardboard pieces, possibly because it’s meant to be customizable to fit your cat.

Getting Your Cat Used To a Cat Backpack

As nearly all cat owners will tell you, getting a cat into their carrier can be quite an adventure by itself. If you’re planning to take your cat on excursions longer than to and from the vet, you’ll need to get them used to riding in their cat backpack.

Here are some tips for backpack training your cat:

  • Start early. Like dogs, cats are most trainable when they’re young.
  • Let your cat get used to seeing the backpack. Leave it sitting out for them to sniff and explore.
  • Place treats inside to encourage your cat to go in. Positively reinforce when they do.
  • Gradually start closing the bag for short periods, rewarding your cat when they stay inside without a fuss.
  • Move up to carrying your cat around indoors on your front, again rewarding with treats and praise.
  • Eventually, move the backpack to its proper position, still indoors until your cat gets used to it.
  • Once comfortable, move outside in a familiar area and gradually increase the number of stimuli your cat is exposed to.
  • Positive reinforcement at every step is the key principle. Take it slow.
cat in woman's backpack
Image Credit: Raoul Droog, Unsplash

Is My Cat Cut Out To Be An Adventure Cat?

No two cats are the same in their likes and dislikes, just like people. You may be dead set on having an adventure cat, but your kitty may be just as determined to stay in their bed for 16 hours of the day.

Cats with calm, curious personalities are most likely to enjoy adventuring with their people, but there’s no guarantee. Your actions will also impact the situation because a certain amount of patience and training is required to craft an adventure cat. Start slow and see how your cat reacts.

If at any point your cat seems stressed or unhappy, back off and accept that you may need to find another adventure buddy.

Conclusion

No matter where you’re taking your cat, you need the ability to do it safely. Cat backpack carriers are just one option, but one growing in popularity. These DIY cat carriers give you the option to save money and help keep unwanted items out of landfills by recycling or upcycling. Get creative and make a positive impact while doing so!


Featured Image Credit: Lightspruch, Shutterstock

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