Traveling the world is an amazing experience, but it’s even better with your fluffy kitty by your side! Witnessing new cultures and their unique modes of transport is something that always excites us. And inspired by the European love of cycling, it occurred to me…I wanted to write about how to take your cat on a bike ride!
Now, biking with a cat might seem crazy, but one trip to London or Amsterdam and you’ll see dogs sitting upfront on their owners’ wheels, happily sniffing the breeze as they travel along. And if canines can do it, so can our kitties!
Plus, let’s face it, in some cities biking is the easiest, greenest and cheapest way to travel. So being able to take your kitty with you could be a major boost to both your traveling budget and your cat’s enjoyment.
In fact, some amazing adventurers have even taken to traveling the world with their cats on two wheels! Like the incredible Nala and her human Dean – who have explored over 30 countries together via bicycle.
So if you’ve always wanted to know how to ride a bike with a cat, we’ve done the digging and used our traveling experience to give you the ultimate guide to keeping them safe & happy on two wheels. Including:
- Prepping your cat for bike travel
- Keeping them safe and cosy on board
- The best kit recommendations for cat bike travel
Let’s get started!
How to Take Your Cat on a Bike Ride!
Before the Bike…
As with any adventure, preparation and planning are key. To avoid your cat becoming stressed, overwhelmed, or frightened, you’ll need some basic groundwork in place.
Generally, it’s easier to expose a young kitten to new things and help them adapt to ‘normal’ quickly. So if you have a young cat and plan to take them cycling, start exposing them to adventures to help them build natural confidence. This doesn’t mean that older cats won’t enjoy new things, but they may simply take a little longer to feel comfortable.
Think about your cat’s temperament. If they are relatively outgoing, enjoy the outdoors, and are curious about new things – they may do well adapting to a bicycle. If your cat is a little shy, be aware that you’ll need plenty of patience to build up their confidence. This doesn’t mean it’s impossible, but a shy cat might not make it to a bicycle, and that’s ok too.
Has your cat already had some time riding in cars or sitting in a stroller? Do they enjoy being carried in a backpack? If so, then your transition to a bike could be a smooth one. If not, I would actually suggest trying these modes of transport first, as a bike is a more advanced option.
I would suggest going back to these posts linked below if you want to build up your cat’s adventurous confidence 🙂
Before even trying a bike ride, we’d definitely advise that you have a solid foundation in leash training for your cat. This can be a useful skill regardless of whether you plan to hop onto two wheels or not. It will also help keep them secure during the ride and should you need to stop. Especially if you end up with a puncture on a busy road, for example!
Check out our guide to leash walking, and our top harness picks for adventure cats!
Are You a Confident Cyclist?
Before you take your cat on a bike ride, make sure you are super confident on your bike. Especially in urban areas, you want to be able to calmly navigate so that your cat can enjoy the journey and take confidence from you. So if you’re still on training wheels or a little wobbly – build up your skills first.
What’s Your Biking Style?
You should think about the kind of journeys you plan to take your kitty on, as this could affect the type of equipment you will need and also might not match up to your cat’s needs.
It’s good to know that some cats might enjoy a quick ride around the neighborhood, but become restless quickly. Whereas others will relish a long adventure ride. Generally, though, most cats will prefer a smooth ride to one that’s very bumpy!
Check In With Your Vet
Be sure that there are no existing conditions that your kitty has that could hinder their comfort or happiness on a trip. And make sure their shots are up to date if you are planning an epic road trip!
Choose Your Carrier
With the above in mind, if you think your cat could take to bike life, it’s worth investing in a carrier or basket that suits both your and their needs.
Top Tip – Before splashing any cash you might want to consider taking the introductions steps below first, to be sure that your cat will actually use them in the first place.
Also – don’t forget there are some great second-hand options available if you need to work within a budget!
There are a few ways to take your cat on a bicycle:
Either worn on your back, on your front, attached to the front of your bike, or on a rack of some kind. Pros? These can be more convenient. Potential Cons? They might offer less support for your kitty and may also be a little too restrictive for long journeys – which is worth bearing in mind.
🐾 Also Read: 10 Best Cat Backpacks for Adventurous Felines
There are a number of specially-made carriers and baskets that can be attached to the front of your bicycle. These are often considered the most secure, safe, and comfortable biking options.
There is also the option to use a back trailer, which is pulled along behind the wheels. These are usually made for dogs, and while your cat may end up liking this option, most tend to dislike it (as it’s slightly further from you.)
While many of the options below aren’t specifically made for cats, they will work just as well for our feline friends – as long as the size is taken into consideration.
(It may mean a secure leash is needed to ensure your kitty isn’t able to leap out of the space too easily.)
- LolliMeow Cat Backpack – Built for ventilation, this handy backpack can actually also be used as cat cycling backpack to ensure proper airflow.
- Apollo Walker Cat Backpack – This backpack is super budget-friendly and it’s got amazing reviews. It is well ventilated, padded, and sturdy – it’s definitely a great option for bicycling enthusiasts.
- Joyo Mesh Cat Backpack – Yet another great budget option. The JOYO design keeps your kitty safe inside with a tether and mesh windows. Plus it has dual side pockets that are great for holding water bottles!
Front Carrier Options:
- K&H Pet Products Travel Dog Bike Basket – A handy basket for commuting, the dual-leash design inside the basket looks super secure, with a zipper pocket for storing a leash, treats or other items. Whilst it might not suit mountain trails, it’s a great urban option.
- Travelin K9 Pet-Pilot Wicker MAX – If you think you need something more secure for your kitty, then this is a fantastic option to keep them calm and happy. Reviews comment how sturdy and secure it is, with a handy sunroof for those hotter days.
- BarkBay Front Carrier Basket – A functional and simple option that looks like a backpack but acts like a basket. It can also be detached and carrier afterward so it actually makes for a great 2-in-1.
- Best Choice Bicycle Trailer – This small trailer is suitable for larger cats. As the net inserts offer some good air circulation and a padded base, it’s a good urban option.
- Schwinn Rascal Bike Pet Trailer – This more rugged choice looks great for outdoor pursuits. It has a secure internal leash and bug screen to keep your kitty’s eyes free of critters.
Introducing the Bike
To begin, it’s best to introduce your cat to the bike slowly, and without trying to put them on it straight away.
Try leaving your bike somewhere in the house, so that your kitty can explore on their own terms. They can have a good sniff of the wheels & the gears, and—hey—they might even hop up themselves for a closer look!
Once they seem comfortable and curious enough, you could lift them up and place them around the seat or a basket if you have one, so they get used to the height and sensations. Of course, be careful they don’t wriggle too much and end up hurting themselves as that wouldn’t leave a positive association!
If your furry adventurer seems happy, then put on their harness and leash and place them in the basket or trailer and begin to gently move the bike. If they react well, perhaps reward them with a few treats and then try the same, but outside. Start by simply walking beside the bike, then graduate to sitting on the seat.
Once your cat is comfortable with you on the bike, then it’s time to try a small cycle. Stick close to home, maybe just a quick ride around the block, preferably start on smooth ground first. You can gradually build up to longer, and more adventurous rides if your cat seems comfortable and happy!
Your main goal here is to follow your fur friend’s guidance. Always go at their pace and be sure they are 100% comfortable before moving forward. It will be worth it in the long run!
If using a backpack – make sure your cat is happy and comfortable with the backpack first, using it for a few short walks, before moving on to longer journeys. Then build the backpack into the steps above.
How to Safely Carry Your Cat in a Bicycle
As well as using the equipment suggestions above, there are a few other things to bear in mind to keep your kitty as safe as possible while out on the road.
I’d advise always using a leash or harness to secure your kitty to their seating arrangement. Both so that they can’t just jump out at any point and so that if you need to stop, you have a way to keep your cat safe.
Avoid Instagram Moments
While taking pictures of your cat while cycling, or having them up on your shoulder, is super cute for the ‘gram, in the interest of safety keeping them in a carrier and keeping your hands on the bars is obviously more ideal!
If you really want to capture those special moments on the road, consider using a go-pro securely attached to the front of the bike as a hands-free option.
On a bicycle, you are at the mercy of the elements. So be sure you have a comfortable, warm, and potentially waterproof set up for your cat, should the weather tackle a turn. (Some ideas to help with this are listed below.)
There are probably going to be a few bumps along the way on your ride, so any actions you can take to absorb some of this shock for your kitty is a good idea. again we’ll have some ideas for this below!
Using a GPS collar is a great way to put any worries of your cat escaping during your travels at rest.
Check the Laws
To be sure you aren’t going to pick up any fines, it’s a good idea to check your local area’s regulations. Some destinations have laws stating that a bicycle rider must have their pet secured in a certain way, so being aware of these laws is a great idea before you set out.
Bring Your Documents
If you are traveling across states or countries, be sure you have all your cat’s important documents with you for a smooth trip.
Have an Emergency Plan
Being on the road is an amazing experience, but it never hurts to plan for an emergency. Research local vets on your route, and have a plan for if your bike breaks down in any way. Either having a taxi number to hand or local pet-friendly hostels marked along your route can give you peace of mind if things don’t go to plan.
Cat Biking Accessories
- Lining – You might want to add a comfy lining to your basket for extra shock absorption and warmth. I like this super absorbent and machine washable option from Pet Kennel Pads.
- Cooling mat – If the weather is on the warmer side, you could swap out your lining for a cooling mat, like this one from NACOCO.
- Travel bowls – To ensure your kitty stays hydrated and happy, a travel bowl is a great idea. I love these super cool Collapsible Silicone Bowls.
And the Last Bit?
If you love to explore on two wheels with four paws, we’d love to see a picture! Tag us on Instagram @fluffyyoda or share in the comments below. 🙂
SAVE THIS CAT BIKING GUIDE TO PINTEREST!