Boating with cats can either be disastrous or plain down joyful. The most daunting part about boating with cats is not knowing how they will react, since some cats like water while others don’t.
If you are considering boating with your cat, there are a few things you need to know and some precautions that follow, to make sure you have a successful boat ride with your feline companion.
Here’s the Rundown.
|1. Cats VS sunlight, what is solar dermatitis?|
|2. Cat gear: cooler mats, collars, umbrellas, life jackets.|
|3. Seasickness, dehydration and heatstroke.|
|4. How and what to feed your cat while boating.|
|5. Boating on lakes compared to the ocean.|
|6. 10 Recommended boat ride sites in the US.|
|7. Swimming with cats. Do’s and don’t|
|8. Safety precautions and advice.|
Can my Cat handle sunlight? What is solar dermatitis in cats?.
Cats generally do well with moderate amounts of sunlight. They find sunlight soothing and can use sunshine to regulate their body temperature, however, boating may expose the cat to, too much sunlight. Like humans, cats can also get sunburned.
Solar dermatitis is a disease in cats caused by too much exposure to sunlight. This disease mainly affects cats with white or pale skin also cats with pale patches, although it can happen to all cats. This is caused due to the lack of pigment in the cat’s skin. This disease causes their skin to become itchy and inflamed. Once the cat starts to scratch, it tends to bleed and cause lesions.
If you have a pale or white cat, rather skip the boat ride or maybe prepare well and use a shaded carrier or an umbrella. You can also enjoy your boat ride on a day that isn’t too sunny.
Cat Gear and Accessories.
It’s very important to have all the necessary accessories. Which should include:
- Cooling mates – This mate is activated by the cat’s weight. The mat absorbs the heat from the cat, bringing out a cooling effect. However, don’t placemat in direct sunlight.
- Life jackets – A life jacket is filled with extra air which makes it float. A life jacket is a MUST for your cat especially if the cat cannot swim
- Collar, Leash and Harness – To keep the cat controlled when on board. Cats are very curious and their curiosity can put them into a lot of danger.
- Cat hats – Yes, cats also have hats. It’s a good idea to get one has it can protect the cats head from direct sunlight which can prevent a heatstroke.
- Umbrella – This is a great alternative, for yourself and your kitty. It can protect you both from the direct UV rays. If your cat has pale or white skin, an umbrella is your best bet.
- Scratch post – This is to make sure your cat isn’t ruining the boat. Cats have sharp claws and they may be tempted to put them to use, therefore a scratch post is a MUST.
- Carriers and backpacks – Awesome way to keep them safe while still allowing them to be on board. There is also the two-strap front backpack that allows you to carry your pet at all times. This will give you peace of mind, knowing that your cat is with you at all times. If you don’t have a carrier or backpack, a good alternative is a basket and a comfy blanket. A household basket can be used to carry your cat, provided it is strong enough.
- Litter box – Whether you at home or on a boat your kitty still needs to its business. A little box must be carried so that your kitty can relieve itself comfortably.
If you intend on buying any new carriers, litter box, leashes or collars. Make sure you buy it like a week before the boat ride since it will give you enough time to make the cat get used to it.
Seasickness, dehydration and Heatstroke.
Boat rides can be very rough and bumpy depending on the tides and water body. Seasickness is the same as motion sickness caused by turbulent waters. Trembling, restlessness and vomiting are the most common symptoms.
Cats become very hard to handle and may tend to be aggressive. There are prescription drugs like Acepromazine also natural remedies however consult your vet before using any product.
Dehydration is also something to watch out for since boat rides are often enjoyed in the sun along summer months. The cat may become faint and less energetic. Always hydrate properly both you and the cat.
Heatstroke is caused by prolonged exposure to direct sunlight since the cat’s body overheats. Normally cats body temperature should range of 99.5 – 102.5 Fahrenheit or 39.7 degrees Celcius. In the case of a heat stroke never throw the cat in water. You should wrap the cat in a wet towel and allow the cat’s body to regulate properly.
Cat food and water
Often when travelling or heading out, cat owners normally pack a lot of heavy meals. When boating its preferred that you don’t feed the cat a full meal. Rather treat the cat with snacks, which will help greatly if the cat gets motion sickness.
Another way to feed cats is by feeding them small amounts of quick digesting foods so that they won’t gag. Cats have a well-developed gag reflex and anything that doesn’t sit well will eventually come out.
A full belly of food on a boat ride is probably a disaster waiting to happen. Since the cat is prone to vomit, due to the swift movements in their belly. This is also good advice for you since motion sickness is also very common in human beings.
Examples of quick digestive foods
- Canned foods
- Biscuits and dry foods
- Cat powdered milk
In terms of water, you want to feed them regularly but not too much. Cats are different from dogs, they don’t thirst often since they are able to concentrate their urine, hence the bad smell of urine.
Destination, ocean or lake boat ride?
You can either choose to cruise in a lake or ride in the ocean. However, you choose is up to you.
Ocean boat rides are often rougher and involve more movement. When boating in the ocean its good to put up safety parameters. One swift movement and your little kitty could go flying out the boat. You want to allocate a low area within the boat that is safe but still interesting. Your cat must be able to view the scenic beauty of the ocean.
Lake boat rides, on the other hand, are calm and gentle under normal conditions. Since there are not much current compared to the ocean. Lakes are often good for water sports like canoeing and skiing if that’s your intention. If you just want to relax and spend some alone time with your companion, the lake boat ride is the best choice for you.
Living on a boat with a cat
Some time ago I saw a post on Instagram showing a woman who lives on a boat with her cat, travelling the world. I seemed a bit sceptic until I found out that it was actually true.
I realized that cats are really intelligent and are able to adapt to any change of environment. Cats and water normally don’t go too well, but it’s extremely possible to live on a boat with your cat.
Cats love their owners, they get attached and it’s very difficult to break that bond. Due to this bond that is shared, cats are willing to do just about anything and go anywhere as long as their companions are there.
If you intend on living on your boat with your cat you would want to prepare well, following these tips.
- Stock up on essentials – its probably impossible to carry enough food since travelling is going to be your lifestyle. I suggest you stock up on enough food for a certain period until your next stop. Stuff like food, fresh water , snacks, vitamins, first aid kits and disposable bags.
- Gear, accessories and documents – you want to make sure you have all the right gear for your kitty. Such as litter box, collar, harness, carrier or backpack, kitty hats, medication, swimwear, life jacket, cats tents, bed, blankets, scratch post and toys. You also want to keep all necessary documents such as health certificates, pet passports and identification.
- Teach your cat to swim – since you will be living in an environment that is surrounded by water, it’s crucial that you teach your kitty to swim. In case of accidents, your kitty will be fine.
- Boat care – Makes sure your boat is in good shape. You want to maintain and take good care of your boat regularly to ensure everything is running well. Keep a mechanic on standby in case of emergencies.
- Teach your kitty to fish – you may think that this is absurd and totally bull, but I tell you cats are great predators especially when catching fish. Firstly You want to make sure that the ocean is calm and the tide is down. Try to get a small surfboard so that the cat can sit on it, use a fishing light that attracts fish. Now sit back and watch your kitty devour those fish before your own eyes.
Top boat ride destinations in the US
In the US there are a lot of fantastic boat ride destinations that you can visit. Whether you want to ride on your own boat or hop on a public tour boat, the choice is up to you. Here’s a list of 10 recommended boat ride sites to visit.
- Fort Lauderdale, Florida
- Lake Superior, Michigan
- Lake Havasu, Arizona
- Lake Hartwell, South Carolina
- Delta Lake, New York
- Skaneateles Lake, New York
- Chatfield Lake, Colorado
- Lake George, New York
- The Blue Mesa Reservoir, Colorado
- Maui, Hawaii
Swimming with cats
When deciding to swim with your cat don’t just assume your cat can swim. Be gentle and allow the cat to come in the water on its own. I often see cat owners that just push their cat to swim without even knowing if the cat can swim.
Its good to first test the waters. Hold the cat with both hands and gently allow the cats belly to sit on the surface of the water, see if the cat takes off or not. Some cats that don’t like water may become aggressive and retreat. While some may enjoy the water and take off.
Safety precautions and final advice
Now that you’ve made it to this point, I’m sure you have all the information required. I trust that you will have a good boat ride and that you and your feline companion bond well during this exciting adventure.
When boating always make sure you have your eyes on your cat. There are many cases reported yearly of cats that have drowned, you don’t want to add to that statistic. In America, an estimated 5,000 pets drown annually. That’s too high if you ask me. Please stay safe and guard your kitty while onboard
- Always listen to your cat. Cats are smart and very vocal. If something is wrong they will let you know, it’s up to you to listen. Be observant and alert.
- Make sure the boat you are riding on is safe and not a travel risk.
- Carry your phone for emergencies or any other communicative gadget, however, sometimes there may be no signal.
- Carry disposable bags and wipes for emergencies.
- If you riding on your own boat alone, always share your whereabouts with a friend or family member, so in case of an emergency you now that someone will come looking for you.
- Check the weather properly. Sometimes you may ignore to check up on the weather because everything is looking fine on shore until you head out to sea only to realize that its the total opposite. This is mostly relevant to ocean rides.
- Trust your gut. Don’t take a chance if you having mixed feelings about anything. If it’s your first boat ride, it’s probably the best to go along with friends and family as you may be anxious.
- If swimming is allowed, carry swimwear. You would want to research this information before the day arrive so you can prepare accordingly.
- Carry your cats favourite toy that can keep them occupied.
- Can I teach my cat to swim? Yes, it’s possible to teach your cat to swim. When teaching a cat to swim, it’s preferred to be in the pool inside with the cat in case of emergencies.
- Can cats kayak with their owners? yes, many cat owners have introduced kayaking to their cats routine since cats can adapt to any sort of sport or hobby. Has long as it’s done in a safe and controlled way.