Want to take your cat along on your next beach trip? Then read on! We’re sharing our best tips to help you safely take your cat to the beach with you.
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Ask any person around, and they’ll probably say that cats hate water. And while this stereotype does have some stark evidence, it largely remains that – a stereotype.
There are many cats, such as the more adventurous cat breeds, who actually enjoy the water. Some are competitive swimmers, some kayak with their owners, and some even surf real waves!
Water activities and adventures are not for all cats, though. Our Yoda, for example, doesn’t enjoy the sound of ocean waves. So we are slowly training him to go to the beach with us. (Watch our video! 🙂 )
Through this process, we’ve learned a few tips and tricks to train your cat to go to the beach.
Here are our best tips for taking your cat to the beach!
1. Use a Cat Backpack
Using a cat backpack to take your cat to the beach will make life a little easier. Don’t use the same carrier you use to go to the vet! Try to use a special travel backpack or carrier to differentiate between scary vet trips + fun outings.
You’ll want your cat to be well-trained to ride in a cat backpack before attempting to go to the beach together.
Make sure you use a spacious and comfortable backpack like the one we have for Yoda –> The Fat Cat cat backpack (Get $10 off or free shipping with our discount codes inside the article).
2. Pack Water & Treats
Always pack a special bag for your cat’s necessities when traveling, hiking, or taking your cat to the beach.
Remember to pack:
- Water bottle
- Collapsible food/water bowl
- Your cat’s favorite treats and/or food
- Harness and Leash
- Any ID tags
- Optional: Cat grooming wipes
The most important items to take with you to the beach for your cat are 1.) water and 2.) treats for rewarding.
I also bring along a pack of wet cat wipes to clean off Yoda’s paws, fur, and tail as they trap lots of dirt and debris from exploring around. The wipes also help cool him off if it’s a little hot out.
3. Start Slow
Let your cat be the one to decide if they’re ready to go out on a fun beach trip! It’s important to be flexible and not force your cat if they’re feeling unwell or sleepy.
Always make slow transitions. Be slow to leave the house, ride in the car, or walk calmly to the beach (if you live really close by). Not rushing the process will help calm your cat.
4. Go for Sunrise or Sunset
Avoid the heat of the day by going to the beach with your cat either for sunrise or sunset.
Not only will the beach have fewer people and thus be calmer, so will the waves (usually). Smaller waves are better, especially if your cat doesn’t like the sound of them crashing on the shore.
Plus, enjoying a beautiful sunrise or sunset with your feline friend is the best way to start or end the day!
5. Find a Quiet, Private Spot
Don’t go to the beach with your cat to plop yourself in the middle of a busy beach under the sun.
Instead, find some shade (very important – even if you bring a beach umbrella). And always start out by sitting at the back of the beach, farther away from the water.
You can always adjust to your cat’s preferences. So if you have a water-enthusiastic kitty on your hands then, of course, you don’t need to stay in the back. It really depends on your cat’s personality!
6. Let Your Cat Adjust to New Environment
One of the most important tips for taking your cat to the beach is just letting your kitty adjust to the new environment.
The beach offers new sounds, smells, new scenery… There’s a lot to take in. And for cats, that can be quite stressful. Especially if it’s windy or if the waves are loud, or if there’s too many people, dogs, and birds circling around, etc.
7. Reward + Give Pawsitive Cues
Training your cat without rewarding with positive gestures would be extremely hard.
Always give small treats for your cat whenever trying something new – like taking them to the beach.
Reinforcing a positive experience is the best way to train your cat to travel! Treats, food, cuddles, whatever your cat responds to best is what you should use.
8. Be Careful of Your Surroundings + Dogs
A beach is a wide-open space, which means you need to be extra careful.
A wandering dog or another animal can approach you quickly without you noticing. (This happened to us!)
Other things to watch out for:
- vehicles on the beach (like four-wheelers),
- loud groups of people,
- off-leash dogs,
- high and low tides,
- potential hazards in the sand like glass shards, stinging insects, etc…
9. Keep Your Cat Close
It’s best to keep your cat close to you, either in front of you, on your lap, or in between you and a friend.
When cats get scared, they tend to dart off. And the beach is an unpredictable place, especially if it’s your cat’s first time. So always keep your eyes peeled, stay cautious, and keep your cat close to make them feel more comfortable.
10. Always Use a Harness/Leash
Using a harness and leash is the best way to keep your cat secure while exploring in a new location.
But even so, sometimes cats react so quickly that the harness or leash can slip from your hands. In this case, you can use a second tethering leash from the cat backpack to tie your cat’s leash. That way if you accidentally drop the leash, your cat will still be connected to the backpack.
Some cats explore off-leash at the beach, which is entirely fine but know that doing this is risky if you don’t know how your cat will react.
11. Provide Water & Food
Take the opportunity to provide water and treats/food frequently to your cat.
You might find your cat won’t be interested, but it’s important to offer it anyway. Cats need to stay cool and hydrated while out exploring – especially at the beach where the weather is often more humid, hot, and salty.
12. Turn the Backpack into a Retreat
A cat backpack is great for not only transporting your cat but for providing a “safe place” for your cat to take cover in.
Yoda will voluntarily go back inside his cat backpack anytime he feels overexposed or unsafe (even if he is completely safe).
Having a location where your cat can retreat to in times of discomfort is especially important.
13. Keep it Short & Sweet
If you take your cat to the beach, make sure to keep it short and sweet. Don’t stay out for long periods of time – it’s not the moment to bask in the sun or touch up your tan.
Shorter beach trips will make for better positive experiences for your cat. You don’t want to spoil your cat’s impression of the beach by staying out too long.
Always plan your beach trip to be less than an hour – especially for first-time beach trips with your cat.
14. Wet Your Cat’s Fur if Overheating
Cats sweat primarily through their paws, but they can also pant if they overheat or become stressed.
If you evaluate your cat is overheating, take some fresh water and pat your cat down gently.
Lightly wet the back of the ears, the nose, forehead, paws, and neck area to cool your cat down quickly.
It’s also a good time to offer water again to your cat. If they won’t drink from the bowl, dip your fingers in and let your cat lick the water from the tips.
15. Don’t Force Your Cat Near the Water
Overexposing your cat to “enjoy” the water – whether at the beach or somewhere else – is a really bad idea.
Always be respectful of your cat’s dislikes and likes and never force them to enjoy something because then, they truly never will.
Avoid overexposure by training your cat to enjoy the beach in incremental steps.
16. Don’t Go When It’s Windy
Strong winds at the beach create a whole new experience for your cat compared to when it’s nice and calm.
The wind blows sand around, makes it hard for your cat to hear, and creates more stress than necessary.
Always check the weather conditions (beyond just the temperature) whenever you want to take your cat to the beach.
17. Observe Comfort Level
If you see your cat is absolutely hating being at the beach, then turn around and go home. It might not be the most fun, but it’s the most kind.
Likewise, if your cat is loving the beach vibes and atmosphere, let your cat expand their horizons and invigorate their senses!
18. Look for Signs of Stress
Not sure if your cat likes the beach or not? Then look out for these common signs of stress:
- Heavy belly breathing or nostril flaring
- Sweaty paws, damp tail, or dripping nose (signs of stress + overheating)
- Frequent meowing
- Tensed or frantic movements
All of the above are indicative that your cat is stressing out. If so, let your cat take shelter in the cat backpack until they calm down or until you are able to pack up and head home.
19. Let Your Cat Lead the Way
Cats who love the beach will want to get out of their carrier and explore.
If this is the case with your cat, let them lead you around on-leash. It doesn’t matter which direction they choose to go (as long as it’s safe), just let them explore on their own time. Of course, redirect your cat if they’re heading to unsafe waters, unstable rocks, or dirty parts of the beach.
20. Avoid the Crowds
Taking your cat to the beach without crowds is going to make the experience better for both you and your cat.
Crowds draw attention to anything “out of the ordinary” and let me tell you, a roaming cat on-leash at the beach is something people like to point at!
Avoiding the crowds will help your cat stay calm, especially if they don’t like the extra attention. But then again, your cat may love it and be a superstar. 😉
21. End the Day/Trip with Something Your Cat Loves!
Whenever it’s time to pack up and go home, make sure to end the experience with something pleasurable for your cat.
If that’s a half can of tuna, rolling around in the dirt outside, or playing for 15-minutes with their favorite toy, give them the opportunity to enjoy whatever it is they love to do.
Doing so will show your cat that trips to the beach end with nice rewards. Then, your cat might be up for going to the beach with you again on future trips! Now that would be a cool furry family tradition, wouldn’t it?
Final Thoughts: 21 Tips for Taking Your Cat to the Beach
We hope with these tips you are now able to safely and confidently take your cat to the beach with you on your next beach trip!
If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below. We are always happy to hear from fellow cat travelers. 🙂
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