Whilst it may be cute to be able to see your furry feline, these on-trend backpacks are not suitable in the Hong Kong climate and owners are being warned about the dangers of using them.
Cats can suffer from hypoxia which is low oxygen supply to the tissue resulting in respiratory distress and the cat’s life in danger.
Dr Genevieve Touzel from Sai Kung Animal Hospital is keen to inform pet owners how dangerous these packs are. In the last few years, she has seen several cats almost die. These cats presented for routine appointments after their travel to the clinic in the ‘Bubble Backpack’. One cat was open-mouth breathing which is a sign of severe stress due to lack of oxygen in a cat. The bag the other cat was in, was extremely hot when unzipped and the cat just stopped breathing. Fortunately, after veterinary intervention, both cats survived.
These packs act as cages and create an ‘oven-like’ environment similar to a conservatory or a hot house. Once the heat is in, the heat is trapped and cannot get out. The ventilation holes are inadequate and the cat becomes heat stressed. Combined with the stress a cat experiences from its travel to and from the vet clinic, this is a disaster waiting to happen.
Despite what many may think, cats are not keen to survey the environment around them unless they are doing this from a vantage point where they can escape potential predators.
Resting these bags on the ground, especially if there are dogs, crowds and other noise about, will only increase the cat’s stress.
Please think twice about putting your cat in the ‘Bubble Backpack’. It is not safe and you are putting your cat’s life at serious risk.

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About the Author

Dr Genevieve Touzel


Chief Veterinary Surgeon

At seven years of age, I was overjoyed when my parents introduced a mongrel pup, Marcel-Louis. He became my best friend. Realising how much I wanted to care for him and every other needy animal I could find, I decided to pursue a career in veterinary medicine.  There was never any other alternative. I was thrilled to be offered a place at The University of Melbourne Veterinary School. I graduated in 1999 and I embarked on an adventurous journey of all things veterinary. Over the last 21 years I have worked as a veterinarian in the United Kingdom and Australia with the last five years working in Hong Kong.

I have gained experience in mixed practice and small animal practice, dental, greyhound and equine practice. My work has also included working in emergency and critical care hospitals. Most recently I have held the position of Head Veterinary Surgeon at an SPCA branch practice in Hong Kong. I have completed post graduate studies in Emergency and Critical Care.  My passion for improving the quality of life in senior pets and practicing holistic medicine inspired me to pursue and acquire a board certification in Veterinary Acupuncture.

It is a privilege to be trusted with the care of someone’s beloved animal. After many years, I still love the way medicine evolves. Seeing the difference that preventative health care and treatment makes to the longevity and well-being of my patients is wonderful. It is a team effort. Working with families is also paramount in making a successful care plan. Every animal (and their humans!) are unique.