Cats are curious creatures, but they somehow managed to earn a reputation for not appreciating the great outdoors. Numerous pet parents seem to think that cats couldn’t be caught dead traveling, trying different outdoor activities, and spending time outside. Could we tickle your fancy by saying that cats can actually kayak?
Whether you’re looking to enrich your cat’s experiences or spend some quality time doing something you like, you might be surprised to learn that cats are capable of doing many, many different things. Watch out, adaptable and happy-to-visit-new-locations dogs: cats can do everything you can, and more.
Of course, granted that your fluffer’s never left the comfort of her bedroom, there might be a couple of things to consider before venturing outside.
Perhaps you’ve had some experience traveling with your fluffy friend or arranging playdates at the nearest parks. Maybe you’ve taught her how to tolerate water and plunge her little paws every now and then.
Whatever the case might be, we’re here to help you figure out how to get your cat out of the house and headed towards your kayak. Keep on reading to learn everything you need to know about cats and kayaking before trying the whole thing out for yourself.
Kayaks and cats: Do they go together?
Here’s the thing, cats can do whatever they want to do and whatever you want them to do… When you take the necessary precautions to keep them safe and secure. Kayaking can be quite a workout, even for humans. And, kayaking can be dangerous considering the fact both you and your cat can drown.
On a brighter note, kayaking with your cat can be an entertaining way for the two of you to bond. Before you even take her on a kayak cat adventure, chances are you’re going to spend some time teaching her how to be on a kayak, how to wear her gear without getting annoyed, and how to appreciate the view.
Not to mention the fact you’re probably going to spend some time getting your cat accustomed to the water. We’re not suggesting you necessarily have to teach her how to swim.
But, we’ve been getting a lot of feedback on how dogs have been doing that for years. We’re definitely suggesting you make sure your cat knows that. As a matter of fact, one of the most common questions we get seems to be whether cats can be fond of kayaking even when they’re scared of water.
Water sports might intimidate you because you’re worried about your fluffer falling down and drowning (we get that). However, cats can appreciate kayaking, canoeing, or even stand-up paddle boarding when you know what you’re doing.
Who would’ve thought your cat doesn’t even have to touch water to be on the water? Other than that, here are a couple of other things you might want to consider before renting (or buying) a kayak for your cat.
What to keep an eye on before you go?
Now that you’ve definitely decided to take your cat on the kayak ride of her life, you need to take the necessary precautions to ensure both of you are safe and secure. Trust me, there’s nothing worse than ruining your own weekend getaway because your cat decided she wanted to chase after fish.
Other than checking whether you’re comfortable with paddling on a kayak, don’t forget to teach your cat how to be comfortable around water. Purchase the gear both of you need, and get your cat accustomed to spending time on a kayak. Let’s start from the beginning, though.
1. Make sure you’re an experienced kayaker
Maybe we don’t even need to talk about that, but… Don’t take your cat kayaking before you learn how to kayak. We understand you might be looking for something fun to do with your cat over the weekend. However, kayaking should be reserved for pet parents that have been kayaking for quite some time.
There’s nothing more dangerous than trying to figure out how to maneuver the kayak while keeping an eye on your cat and making sure she doesn’t do something that could harm her. “Curiosity killed the cat,” that’s something to think about before venturing out with your fluffy friend.
However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t ever kayak with your cat. Even though you haven’t had the experience of kayaking, you can always try without your cat. Considering getting a couple of classes with someone who’s experienced or going on your own before taking your cat.
2. Check whether your cat feels comfortable around water
“Cats hate water! Cats can’t go kayaking because water makes them freak out and run away!”
While those sound like really good reasons to reconsider taking your cat on a kayak, they shouldn’t keep you from trying. Sure, cats aren’t that fond of water. But, that’s only because they haven’t learned that water won’t hurt them.
Here’s what you need to do, though. Before you venture out, spend some time getting your cat comfortable around water.
Perhaps you can have her hang out with you while you’re showering (to see that you’re comfortable around water). Maybe you can arrange a little bath for her with her favorite toys, too. Also, don’t forget to encourage her with treats when she wets her paws or sniffs the water.
And, we can’t forget about other circumstances. Cats might be frightened when kayaking because of the sounds of running water, paddling through the water, and even the sounds of wind blowing.
Granted that your cat doesn’t spend much time outside, consider taking her to the nearest stream or a lake. Make sure she has plenty of room to roam around the shore and get used to the sounds of nature.
3. Get yourself some quality gear
When you’re thinking about taking your cat on a kayak, chances are you’re only thinking of everything she needs. For example, you’re thinking of teaching her how to stand on a kayak without falling or getting her a little kayaking outfit to make sure she doesn’t get cold.
However, you’re forgetting that you’re responsible for keeping both of you safe. Start off with what you need. Don’t forget to purchase the gear that’s going to make the whole kayaking experience a lot more comfortable and secure.
First off, you’re going to need a kayak and a paddle (which you can purchase, borrow, or rent out). Further, you should get your hands on a flotation device, a bilge pump, a spray skirt, a dry bag (for personal things), a headlamp, and a signaling whistle.
And, you could also bring some clothes, a blanket, water, and food to make sure you won’t need anything while you’re paddling.
4. Get your cat some quality gear
Oh, you’re not the only one going kayaking, are you now? We’re messing with you, but we’re not messing with the fact that your fluffer needs some gear, too. From kitty sunscreen to waterproof toys, your fluffy friend might require a budget much, much bigger than yours.
First things first, your cat can’t go kayaking without a proper purrsonal flotation device. When you’re done daydreaming about how adorable your precious purrincess might look wearing one of those.
Maybe you can try this ChezAbbey life jacket that’s designed for both cats and dogs. Just make sure it fits her to a tee since your kitty needs to feel snug and comfortable while wearing it.
Word of advice, vests for small and extra-small dogs might work, too. Moreover, she’s going to need a harness, a waterproof leash, a backpack or a carrier (for you, but she’s the one that’s going to have to stay there), treats, water, sunscreen, a source of shade, and a blanket.
Oh and, don’t forget to bring her favorite toys to keep her happy when she gets bored.
5. Ensure your cat’s comfortable with spending time on a kayak
We can’t overlook the importance of getting your cat comfortable with spending time on a kayak before you actually allow her to spend time on a kayak. We know what you’re thinking. “How can you teach her to be on a kayak without taking her on a kayak with you?”
While that’s a great question, we have the answer you’re looking for. Teach your cat how to be on a kayak while you’re on dry land. Borrow a kayak from someone or purchase one for yourself (on the off chance that you have more money to spare).
Place the kayak on the ground. Have your cat sniff around, enter and explore the little nooks and crannies, and get comfortable. Make sure you provide her with plenty of treats every time she does something you deem cooperative and advantageous.
Trust me, that’s the best way to guarantee she associates the kayak with something positive, something that brings her pleasure rather than trauma. Clicker training can work great, too.
What to keep an eye on while you’re kayaking?
Oh, you thought you were done with responsibilities? When you’re 100% sure your cat’s ready for kayaking, there are a million other things to take care of when you arrive at the location. We suggest you choose a location that’s appropriate for a first-time cat adventure.
And, we urge you to check the weather before you get there. Furthermore, we’ve gathered a couple of recommendations that should make everything better for both of you.
Use them as a checklist and the whole “kayaking with a cat” should be smooth sailing from there on. Throw a glance and check for yourself!
1. Choose the right location
Come on, you must’ve seen your fluffer freak out over the prospect of hanging out around any body of water. Especially one that’s moving and splashing everywhere. She becomes aggressive and annoyed, her ears flatten, her whiskers go down, and she starts meowing bad words.
Before you even think of getting your cat on a kayak, make sure you choose the right location. Choose a pond, a lake, or a slow-moving river to make sure she doesn’t get splashed by water while you’re paddling.
And, choose a location that’s not beaming with people (or children). Crowded places might make your cat nervous and overwhelmed. Another thing to keep an eye on – find a location that doesn’t allow motorboats or comparable means of transportation.
2. Check the weather
Cats aren’t that great with extreme weather. When you combine extreme weather, water splashing everywhere, and your fluffy friend that hasn’t had the opportunity to hang out with a kayak ever before, you’re bound to experience a catastrophe.
Snowy, rainy, or windy weather wouldn’t work because your cat would hate every minute she has to spend outside. Even with her cute outfit and her warm blanket, she wouldn’t feel comfortable enough to appreciate anything.
Sunny weather would be great, but not too sunny – you don’t want her to overheat, do you?
3. Make sure your cat gets on the kayak when she wants to and how she wants to
By the time she needs to enter the kayak, she should already be familiar with what she’s allowed to do and what she’s not allowed to do.
We’re talking about the extensive learning process she went through before she even got to the water. She thought she was playing around with an odd flotation device. But, she was getting used to the feeling of sitting or walking on a kayak (without falling down).
We suggest you allow her enough time to get on the kayak whenever she wants to. Reward her with a treat. Have a little moment where you cuddle her and show her around. Push her around to ensure she gets the feeling of floating on water.
4. Keep the kayak relatively close to the shore
We’re not trying to be negative Nancies here. But, we wouldn’t count on the chance of your fluffer kayaking away without a word (or a meow) of protest.
Chances are, she’s going to behave while she’s wondering what’s going on, where the two of you are going, and what she’s going to get as a present when she does whatever you want her to do.
Once she figures out she’s floating on water while you’re paddling rather than feeding her chicken nuggets and Puppuccinos, she’s going to lose her mind.
Oh, we’re hoping you remembered to wear a long sleeve shirt. She’s going to scratch you the moment she sees those waves coming toward her. Keep the kayak close to the shore to abort the mission when necessary.
5. Don’t go kayaking for longer than your cat feels comfortable
Don’t kayak for longer than she wants to. She’s going to become stressed out and overwhelmed. She’s going to remember that when you make an attempt to kayak with her the second time.
She should have the liberty of looking around, appreciating the experience, and returning back to dry land when she becomes bored. Trust me, you’re better off spending fifteen minutes kayaking with her than spending two hours trying to amuse her while she’s running away from the water.
Make her first experience with kayaking as pleasurable as you can. Once you do that, there’s nothing stopping her from trying the same thing once more (or twice, or three times…) We’re keeping our fingers crossed the two of you have the best kayaking adventures of your lives. Good luck!