#12: We Need a Better Bag: an open letter to designers of backpacks

Dear Designers, Makers, and Other Handy Peoples of the World:


I am writing because I believe there is a type of gear that should exist, but does not. Actually, there are several of those, but there is one whose non-existence is a problem for me every single day. A product that I’m certain would be very popular, and could garner you both great love and profit:

a really great pet-carrying backpack, designed to meet the needs of both the animal being carried and the human doing the carrying.

Such a thing simply does not exist, even though there is a clear and growing demand for such a product.

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#11: A Long Ass Way to Tipperary

I just moved from Germany to Ireland with my cat. I had thought it would be a lot easier than when I moved to Germany from Oregon with my cat. But, actually, it was quicker, and in some ways easier, to cross 5177 miles from Portland to Berlin than it was to get the 1189 miles from Berlin to Dublin. This is because I was able to fly from the US to Germany with my cat on board, but couldn’t find any airline that would take pets on flights into Ireland or the UK. Even Lufthansa, with whom I have flown trans-Atlantic with my cat, twice, and who has a whole ‘we’re pet friendly’ page on their website, does not book pets on flights into Ireland or the UK. I spoke with the Irish Department of Agriculture, and no, they don’t have any prohibition about pets entering the country. The flights just won’t take them.


Long story short, I was left with a choice:

  1. Pay a freight company to take my cat and ship her for me. One recommended company gave me a quote for nearly €800! When the flight I was planning to book for myself was only €57!
  2. Spend three days but only about €300 taking trains and ferries across Europe with my cat.


I went with the second option. Partly because it was far less expensive, partly because it sounded like an interesting adventure, and partly because I really didn’t like the idea of letting strangers put my cat in a box and take her away from me and overseas. And I’m glad that I did go this route: even though I was weeping by the end of it.

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#2: Cat-Schlepping is a Feminist Issue

Even though cat-schlepping is mostly about the sheer giggling joy and wonder and well-being we take from our wanders, make no mistake – it is also a serious undertaking, with the seeds of genuine, trans-species revolution.


Any discussion of cats, of what they are like, of what they are capable of, and you will unfailingly come up against one fact over and over again:


Cats are not dogs.

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