The Joy of Kayaking with Your Feline Companion

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Video cat in a kayak

Are you ready for an unforgettable adventure on the water? If you’re a cat lover, kayaking with your feline friend can be an exciting and enjoyable experience. Many people assume that because cats dislike water, they won’t enjoy kayaking. But you’d be surprised to learn that while they may not like getting wet, they often find being on the water quite relaxing.

Before you embark on this thrilling journey with your furry companion, there are a few essential steps to follow. Ensuring both you and your cat are prepared will make the experience safer and more enjoyable for everyone involved.

Before You Set Sail

1. Master the Kayak

Before you introduce your cat to the kayak, it’s crucial to become comfortable with it yourself. Don’t let your first time kayaking be when you have to handle your cat’s safety too. Take a few trips on your own to familiarize yourself with the kayak’s maneuverability. This way, when you bring your cat along, you’ll be ready to provide a smooth and secure experience.

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2. Familiarize Your Cat with Water

The sound of running water and wind may make some cats nervous. So, before you go kayaking, acclimate your cat to being near water. Take them to a nearby stream, pond, or lake and let them explore the shoreline. Start with smaller bodies of water and reward your cat for their bravery. Remember, it may take a few visits before they feel completely comfortable.

3. Gear Up!

To ensure your cat’s safety, invest in a properly fitted life jacket. Although many small dog life jackets work well for cats, there are options designed specifically for feline companions. Additionally, gather other essential items such as a harness, waterproof leash, backpack or carrier, treats, water, cat-safe sunscreen, and a source of shade. Take the time to introduce your cat to each gear item gradually to avoid any surprises on the day of your adventure.

4. Let Your Cat Get Accustomed to the Gear

Don’t wait until you’re out on the water to put the life jacket on your cat. Introduce it slowly, following the same training steps used for a harness. If you’re using a new backpack or carrier, ensure your cat is comfortable inside it. And don’t forget to test the cat-safe sunscreen before your outing, just in case of any adverse reactions.

5. Introduce Your Cat to the Kayak

If possible, introduce your cat to the kayak on dry land first. Let them explore and sniff it at their own pace. Reward them with treats to create a positive association. Unfortunately, if you’re renting a kayak, this step might not be as convenient. However, some rental companies may allow you to inspect the boats before renting. In any case, make sure to confirm with the company if cats are allowed.

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It’s Time to Set Sail!

1. Choose a Serene Location

For your cat’s first kayaking experience, select a quiet location like a pond, lake, or slow-moving river. Avoid areas with motorboats to keep the environment peaceful and stress-free for your feline companion.

2. Consider the Weather

Take a look at the weather forecast and choose a sunny or cloudy day with mild temperatures and no wind. Avoid kayaking in rain, strong winds, or extreme temperatures that could make your cat uncomfortable.

3. Familiarize Your Cat with the Kayak

Before launching the kayak into the water, let your cat inspect it while rewarding them with treats. This will help create a positive association with the kayak even before they step paw on it.

4. Secure Your Cat in Their Carrier

Moving the kayak can be noisy, so it’s best to leave your cat in their carrier during this process. This will prevent them from getting scared by the commotion.

5. Board the Kayak First

If you have a helper, settle yourself in the kayak before having your friend hand your cat down to you. Keep your cat securely in their backpack or carrier until you’re both ready to set sail.

6. Unleash the Adventure

Once you’re out on the water, unzip the backpack or carrier and let your cat decide when to come out. Some cats may prefer to stay inside, and that’s perfectly fine. Allow them to explore at their own pace, using treats as encouragement.

7. Stay Close to Shore

Since it’s your cat’s first time on the water, stay near the shore in case you need to return quickly. Being close to the trees along the shoreline will also provide shade, keeping your cat comfortable during the trip.

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8. Keep It Short and Sweet

To ensure a positive first experience, plan to keep your kayaking sessions short. Gradually increase the duration of your trips over time. The goal is to build your cat’s confidence and make each outing enjoyable for both of you.

Enhance Your Knowledge with KittyCatGO LIVE

If you’re eager to delve deeper into kayaking with cats, check out Episode 8 of KittyCatGO LIVE. This informative episode features guest Gabrielle Vachon, who shares her experiences and provides tips on clicker training, cat-safe sunscreen, staying cool, and navigating smaller canoes and kayaks.

By following these guidelines and taking the necessary precautions, kayaking with your cat can become an extraordinary bonding experience. So, grab your gear and prepare for an unforgettable adventure that both you and your beloved feline will cherish forever.

Kayaking with Cat

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