kayaking with cat

How to Kayak with Your Cat

Believe it or not, cats can and do love to go kayaking. Take a minute and meet Kitten Spritzer in a post featuring her “dad,” Mitchell.

They first met when she showed up like a kitten on his doorstep. He took her in and they became best buddies from the start.

Because Mitchell lives on a lake, he was always out on the water, and sometimes on a kayak. One day he decided to take Spritzer with him. She absolutely loved the experience and just played around in the bottom of the boat.

Mitchell even explains how sometimes he leaves without her and she meows after him on the dock until he comes back to get her.

This little article talks about the adventure cat lifestyle on a kayak. Rich with tips and hilarious cat anecdotes, you will be prepared to take your own cat with you out in the water. But first, read on for several safety recommendations.

How Can I Kayak Safely with My Cat? 

When you go kayaking, chances are both of your hands are preoccupied with the paddles, your feet are firmly planted into the bottom of the kayak, and you are seated upright with all of the boat’s stability stemming from your core stomach muscles.

Your cat, on the other hand, has the full capability of running about, with little regard as to how leaping onto the right side will cause the kayak to tip.

How to avoid this? Or prepare for this? First of all, know that it will happen. Second of all, let it happen. Freaking out and trying to keep after your cat while kayaking at the same time is going to make for a stressful ride for the both of you.

Instead, make sure you and your cat have the right gear, and right boating conditions, to have a great adventure together. Here is how.

Always be sure to put your cat in a life jacket, as Kristen Bobst explains. While cats are excellent swimmers, they can only swim for so long before exhausting themselves. When this happens and they have nothing to cling to, or nowhere to go, they drown, even right before your eyes.

Most pet stores or marine shops will have dog life jackets. You can get the smallest dog size there is, which should work fairly well.

Just be sure that it had a handle on the top so that you can easily grab your cat should your cat fall overboard, or decide to jump out of the kayak.

The next thing you should have on board is a leash and harness. Especially if you and your cat are going white water rafting, or taking an adventure that is more than just a quiet paddle on a glassy lake, you will want to know that your cat is tethered to the kayak.

In some conditions and environments, it is nearly, if not completely impossible to turn the kayak, or your body for that matter, around. In addition, if other kayakers or boaters are around and do not see your cat, your cat is at risk for being run over.

Tethers and harnesses are easy to come by. And since you hopefully already have a life jacket on your cat, you can also simply tie a rope to the handle, and then attach it to the boat where you can easily reach it (or your wrist if there is no other place, although the boat is much safer).

Finally, you want to be cognizant of the weather conditions, and be fully aware of the type of kayaking you are doing. Are you kayaking in a lake? Down a river with a current? Over rapids? In the open ocean?

Is it leisurely or adventurous? Will you be by yourself? Are there going to be other cats? How long will you be kayaking? Are there ways to get help if something were to happen? Could there be the opportunity for your cat to meet a snake or an alligator?

Answering these questions honestly and to the best of your knowledge will only make the trip that much more enjoyable. You and your cat will be stress-free and floating contentedly, or excitedly, or fearfully, for hours.

Do not forget the cat snacks and water, especially if you are going to be kayaking for a while, and even more so if you have a kitten who gets hungry in the middle of the day!

In addition, be prepared to clean out some poop, especially if you do not plan on stopping onshore for until after several hours have passed.

Five Tips for Kayaking with Your Cat

Number one: laugh at your cat. When you decide to bring your cat along, chances are you are no longer kayaking for the quiet nature experience. Instead, you are eager to play with your cat and maybe take some videos for a blog.

Number two: bring a camera or other photo apparatus. Memories are going to be made. Your cat will probably jump overboard. You may end up in the water with your cat sitting proudly in your seat (so be sure the camera is waterproof).

Number three: wear long sleeves and long pants, especially if this is your first rodeo. Your cat may try to climb you like a tree.

Number four: bring a toy. If your cat gets bored of watching your paddle, or decides s/he wants to try to escape off of the kayak, you will want something to keep your cat as preoccupied as possible, preferably with a familiar toy, and hopefully until you are able to return to shore. If you forget a toy, then hope that your cat finds a lone frog in the bow of the kayak.

Number five: go only as close to foreign lands as you dare. If your cat is looking for a way out, the nearest shore might seem like paradise.

In this case, your cat may jump off the boat, into the water, swim to shore, and find spontaneous tranquility in the jungle. If you want your cat back, you will have to go calling after him while ducking through bushes and brambles.

Cat Anecdotes and Pieces of Advice for Kayakers 

Spritzer is not the only cat who has taken a strong liking to kayak. In fact, there are entire websites, camps, and blogs devoted to, and featuring, adventure cats who love to kayak. Your cat could be another one.

Take a look at Sunny Cove, where Danny probably played a great April Fool’s joke. But in all seriousness, many cats have become successful kayakers.

Emma Dean talks about how she learned how to canoe with her “parents” in Michigan. She loves to look out at the view of the water from a perch on her “dad’s” shoulders. Occasionally, she jumps off to go exploring in the brushes.

She explains that it is best to learn how to cling to the shoulders for shoulder rides around the house first. Then, go for rides on bikes to get used to the movement.

Finally, before going out on the water, walk through puddles and near the water in order to gradually introduce the cat to the water. After all, cats despise water, which does help to keep cats safe in the boat, whether they like it or not.

Meet Vladimir, a cat who is seeing all of the United States National Parks writes Laura Moss. He likes to go out adventuring in good weather, and luckily his “parents” found a cat-friendly kayaking opportunity.

Or, check out these several cats who are pondering the realities of their human owners in a post written by Stacey Venzel.

Some find peace tucked away by their human’s feet inside the kayak. Others are perched on the very tippy bow of the boat. One cat simply fantasizes a kayaking adventure from his seat in a kayak on land.

Two cats took off on the same kayak with “mom.” Still another cat is playing Narcissus as he gazes at his whiskered reflection in the water.

Kayaking with your can be quite the pleasant and enjoyable experience so long as your cat’s personality jives with that of the water.

On the other hand, take a look at some fabulous YouTube videos of cats going on adventure kayaking. As you can see, this is less of a kayaking adventure and more of a “the cat entertains the humans on a kayak” adventure.

With a couple surrounding kayaks, the cat has the freedom to jump ship without landing in the water.

And this cat, Whiskers, go kayaking for the first time and stares curiously over the side of the boat. The cat is relatively safe riding on top of the kayak as the cat is dressed with a leash-looking harness for quick retrieval.

Kylo Ren decked out in a life jacket, rides contentedly on the bow of the canoe down small rivers.

How to Make Kayaking with a Your Cat a Fun Experience 

Cats make such great companions that it is a no brainer to want to bring your cat along for the ride on a kayak out on the water.

When you know your cat’s personality, and have tested the waters (no pun intended), then you know whether the kayaking trip is a good idea or not. To make it even more enjoyable, you could bring some fishing gear.

When you catch a fish, your cat will be very intrigued by the smell and the sight. Cats love fish, after all. Just be sure to not feed your cat any raw fish. This is because raw fish can have parasites that are fatal to cats, according to Petcha.

If you run into any wildlife, like birds, snakes, or alligators, it is a good idea to watch your cat make sure the cat does not try to jump off the boat.

Once you are sure that the cat is still content, then you can move freely observe your cat for any interesting behavior.

Cats are intriguing creatures who are typically fascinated by other creatures. They purr at birds and bat at flies and rodents. Your cat may even take care of a couple of spiders for you.

Conclusion

It is a gorgeous day for a kayak and you decide to bring your cat at the last minute. What do you need to do?! Pop quiz. Make sure you have a life jacket and a harness.

In the event that your cat does go overboard, at least you know your cat will float and that you can retrieve your cat. In addition, it would be a good idea to bring a blanket or a towel that way your cat stays warm and comfortable, even if your cat does not get wet.

Always remember to bring food and water. Your cat might be too preoccupied with all the stimulating aspects of being out in nature to even notice the food, but it is better to have it just in case something happens and you are out on the water for longer than you initially expected.

Lastly, check the weather. If it is supposed to rain, your cat will probably become very angry with you. If it is windy and cold, you might want to take a raincheck, especially if this is the first time you are taking your cat kayaking.

Not to mention, if this is YOUR first time kayaking, maybe leave the cat behind on the docks. Your cat can provide moral support from there. When you take your cat on a kayak, it is best that you know exactly what you are doing.

This will help keep your cat calm, even if your cat would much prefer to stay on land. As always, enjoy nature and be a responsible kayaker by keeping up with your trash.

Record any goofy or amazing moments, and start a cat kayaking blog. There can never be too many.

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