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5 Free DIY Cat Backpacks You Can Create at Home (With Pictures)

cat in a green cat carrier
Image Credit: Helen, Pexels
Last Updated on November 16, 2023 by Brooke Billingsley

There are multiple reasons that you need a reliable carrier for your cat, even if it’s just for trips to the vet. You may have even jumped on the trend of having an “adventure cat”.

More and more people are becoming interested in enrichment activities for pets, and one way to help enrich your cat’s life is by taking them places. Some cats are homebodies and won’t be pleased with activities out of the house, but if your cat has been trained to be comfortable outside the home, then you’ll need a great carrier for your cat.

However, if you’re going on adventures, the last thing anyone wants is to be responsible for keeping a cat carrier in their hands the whole time. That’s where backpacks for cats come in, although commercial cat backpacks can be expensive. Here are some of our favorite DIY plans for making your own cat backpack.


The 5 DIY Cat Backpack Ideas

1. Cat Backpack from a Backpack by Ivona Melania

Materials:Backpack, small jar lid or another circular item, cardboard, mesh
Tools:Scissors, sharpie, hot glue gun
Difficulty Level:Moderate

If you’ve got an old backpack and a cardboard box or two taking up space in your home, you can make this cat backpack from a backpack. It does require quite a bit of fabric and cardboard cutting, so make sure you have a good pair of scissors.

This project is going to be time-consuming enough to keep you busy for at least a few hours. Make sure to carefully measure all cuts before you start cutting. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a holey backpack or something that isn’t safe and secure enough for your cat.

2. Small Pet Carrier by komecake

Small Pet Carrier by komecake
Image Credit: komecake
Materials:Fabric bag with secure closure, chicken or garden wire, zip ties, yarn or ribbon, backpack straps (unless using a backpack)
Tools:Wire cutters, scissors, drill, sharpie
Difficulty Level:Moderate

This small pet carrier is a great option because it can be made from just about any bag with a secure zipper closure. This is a good way to recycle an old bag you have taking up space at home. If you don’t have a bag at home already, thrift shops are the perfect place to find a bag for this project. Select a bag that is large enough for your cat to comfortably move around in.

This is a no-sew project, making it suitable for many people. However, it does require quite a bit of precise measurements, cutting, and handling of wire and wire cutters, so this isn’t a kid-friendly project.

3. DIY Pet Carrier by The Q

Materials:Backpack, cardboard, felt, clear plastic bowl
Tools:Ruler, compass, scissors, hot glue gun
Difficulty Level:Moderate

This DIY pet carrier is an upgraded version of the cat backpack from a backpack DIY. You’ll need an old backpack for this one, too. One of the most difficult things to find for this project may be the clear bowl. You want something that is lightweight and has a high level of clarity, but not something that’s going to crack the first time you bump it against something.

This is a fully customizable project, so you can really show your creativity by decorating your cat’s new carrier. Since the main hole in this carrier will be covered with plastic, it’s important to ensure you make your breathing holes as directed to ensure your cat has excellent airflow.

4. Pet Sling by Crafty ECHO

Materials:2 yards of sturdy fabric, metal rings, paper, sewing supplies
Tools:Pen or marker, fabric scissors, sewing machine, ruler
Difficulty Level:Moderate

This pet sling isn’t exactly a backpack, but it is a great way to carry around a kitty that isn’t going to get spooked and jump ship. Ideally, your cat should be on a harness and leash when in this carrier for extra security.

Make sure to select materials that are strong enough to hold your cat’s body weight. This includes making sure your sewing stitches are secure and strong. You can sew this sling by hand if you’d prefer or if you don’t have a sewing machine, but a sewing machine will give you a stronger and more uniform stitch.

5. Rolling Cat Carrier by KmiX

Materials:Cardboard, casters, PVC, mesh, strap
Tools:Hot glue gun, scissors or box cutter, drill and screws, pen or marker
Difficulty Level:Moderate

The plans for this rolling cat carrier don’t include making it a backpack, but with patience and creativity, you could turn it into something that can be rolled or carried like a backpack. Make sure to select sturdy cardboard for this project, doubling it up as needed for maximum security and comfort for your cat.

By making this carrier narrower or with fabric elements built into it, you could attach backpack straps to it for carrying. If you make it as the plans suggest, though, you’ll likely be uncomfortable carrying this on your back. This is not a great project for off-roading with your cat, but it is a good way to get them from place to place on smooth floors or ground.

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Special Considerations

When making any type of DIY pet carrier, you need to keep a few things in mind. The first thing is that your pet’s safety and security should always be the top priority. If you’re unsure of your ability to pull off a project without it being secure, then move on to a different project. The last thing anyone wants is for their cat to escape from their carrier while on a hike or near a busy roadway.

The second major consideration is that whatever you make needs to have plenty of airflow. Even though things like backpack fabric may seem breathable, they will not allow enough air through to keep your cat safe and comfortable. Airflow is obviously important for breathing, but it’s also important for helping your cat safely maintain their body temperature.

One more consideration is that you may rely on a DIY cat backpack in some areas, but if you’re going to be taking your cat anywhere where they could become injured or lost, like forests, then you should rely on a commercially made cat backpack that is made with industrial machines that ensure its security.

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Making a DIY backpack for your cat can be a fun weekend project, and many of these DIY projects are a great way to use materials you already have at home. Recycling materials, like used backpacks and cardboard, instead of sending them to a landfill is an eco-friendly way to provide your cat with something new.

Make sure to properly acclimate your cat to leave the house before expecting them to become a full-blown adventure cat. Some cats really enjoy staying at home and may be nervous or frightened by leaving the house, especially in the outdoors where lots of noises and smells are new to them.

See also: 10 Amazing DIY Cat Carrier Plans You Can Create at Home (With Pictures)

Featured Image Credit: Helen, Pexels

About the Author

Brooke Billingsley
Brooke Billingsley
Brooke spent nine years as a veterinary assistant before becoming a human nurse in 2013. Brooke loves all animals and currently shares a home with three dogs, two cats, five fish, and two snails. She has a soft spot for special needs animals and has a three-legged senior dog and an internet-famous cat with acromegaly and cerebellar hypoplasia.  Brooke stays active with yoga and obtained her 200-hour yoga teacher certification in 2020, she also loves spending her free time researching and writing.

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