If you are a cat parent, I am sure you have wondered if you can take your fur baby to the beach with you. Hello, summer!
The answer to this question lies in your cat. And other cats just don’t. Is your cat adventurous? Does she gladly jump into the car or the cat carrier?
Some cats like visiting the beach and spending some time there with their owners. Others just don’t.
Do Cats Like Sand?
The million-dollar question.
Majority of cats like sand. Just put a playing outdoor sandbox and watch how fast your cat will turn it into a litter box.
Furthermore, the texture feels good to their tiny paws and can be used to eliminate on, bury things or just walk on.
Sand is also really good at eliminating smells and thus their scents. It is no surprise to see that most types of litter at the pet store imitate the texture, feel and covering feature of sand.
Also, cats are originally desert animals. And what’s in plenty in deserts is sand.
This may be why most cats tend to like sand.
We have prepared a list of tips to do before going to the beach, on the beach day and after visiting the beach to help you decide if you will take your cat to the beach.
What to do Before Going to the Beach
Depending on the nature of your cat, that is if they would freely enjoy a trip to the beach, and if you want to introduce her to the beach, there are a few things you will need to do beforehand.
- Research Your Beach
We cannot emphasize this any more strongly: Google is your friend!
Find out if the particular beach you plan on visiting is cat friendly.
The words to look out for are “Pet friendly” or “dog-friendly”.
If not, you may find that a beach does not allow pet companions for guests and may even be asked to leave.
In addition to this, ensure the weather for the said day is not on the extreme side of things.
Extremely cold weather may make your cat have hypothermia and extremely hot temperatures may trigger dehydration.
Just take a glance at the weather forecast. This will protect your cat from trauma as she will be enjoying travelling with you rather than dreading a trip to the beach.
Cat-Friendly Beaches Near me
Beaches around the world will not clearly say “cat friendly” but will have labels to indicate things like “dog-friendly” or “pet-friendly”.
The Beach Guide will provide a database to find beaches suitable for pets in places like the UK.
In the US, review sites like Yelp! are resourceful. The best thing to do though is to find a specific beach and do a little online research or call the authorities to find out if they allow pets.
- Properly Leash Train Your Cat
This is an essential step in getting your cat ready for travel. This will make the experience at the beach smoother for you both.
Here’s why. Throwing a leash and harness over your cat’s body for the first time at the beach is not such a great idea.
It is a new environment that may cause stress for your cat. You also don’t want to keep your furbaby in the carrier the whole time you are at the beach.
This is an equally bad cat experience that you do not want.
With leash training, you are able to walk the shore and pier without worrying because your cat is confident on the leash.
- Pack The Essentials For The Beach Trip
Just as you have packed all the beach trip essentials for yourself, you will need to pack for your cat as well.
This will also depend on the number and type of places on the visiting list.
While packing, it is important to think about potential problems the cat may experience at the beach.
If for instance, it is too sunny during the daytime, sunscreen and/or sunglasses are a must; if it is too cold in the evening or night, then pack blankets to keep her warm. Another important thing is water.
The beach will probably be hot and your cat will get thirsty, as will you. So be sure to carry enough water for you both.
To keep tummies full, pack some food and snacks for your cat.
You might want to stay away from a new food product for your cat. Nothing is worse than having to cut your trip short because your cat reacted badly to a new packet of dried fish treats you bought on vacation.
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This, after realising you forgot to pack her treats and food.
Another thing that is a must-have is a bug repellant. The beach is part of nature and there are lots of organisms out there including sand fleas.
These common bugs can be a menace. Because you own a cat, you probably know how difficult treating fleas is.
To avoid this, have a bug repellant applied to your cat.
This should wade off a variety of bugs and will most definitely give you the peace of mind you are looking to have during your stay at the beach.
- Other Things To Do
Ensure your cat has received all her vaccine shots. You don’t know what ailment could be out there on the beach and having to worry about it is a lot of work.
Cats are small animals that can easily get lost in new places.
Have the vet install a microchip on your cat to keep track of her if she wanders too far. Also, ensure that her tags are properly worn and include all relevant information like your phone number and her name.
Pack an appropriate litterboxfor the beach. It could be a disposable litter pan usable right out of the box.
Or it could be a little waste bag that you carry around to clear up after your cat.
Once at the beach, your cat might think of the beach as a big litter box.
She might do her business there and, on most beaches, this is how you will be asked to leave. So be sure to carry a spade to dig up her litter.
On The Beach Day
- Bring A Cat Carrier To The Beach
Carrying the cat carrier to a place outside the house is a must, and the beach is no different.
As you’re driving to the beach, you want to ensure the cat is safely secured in her carrier. This doubles as a traffic safety measure.
The size will also need to be big enough to give the cat room to wiggle and stretch around.
To make the carrier more friendly, include some of your cat’s belongings like an old t-shirt or a big blanket she likes.
This helps sate anxiety and stress.
Most importantly, line the carrier with pee pads or something to achieve the same.
- Ensure It Is Not Windy
If you live near the beach, you know how much noise crashing waves can produce when there are strong winds.
Visiting the beach at a time when there are extremely strong winds may make the experience frightening for your cat as compared to a calmer time.
Wind will also blow sand around making it harder for the cat to hear or see which will unnecessarily add to her stress.
Just to be sure, check the weather forecasting before leaving for the beach with your cat.
- Check Comfort Levels
Once at the beach and you notice any level of distress from the cat, the kindest thing to do is to go back home.
That’s the least fun for you but is best for your cat. Similarly, if the cat is enjoying and basking around the shore, then, by all means, let her explore their horizon and get their senses invigorated.
You may carry along an umbrella to create some comfortable shade for both you and your cat.
If your cat loves water and will want to take a swim, be sure to check the temperature before they go in.
Avoid warm shallow and grassy lake beds because they may have leeches that will gladly attach to you or your cat.
Also, try and have a location where your cat can easily retreat whenever they are uncomfortable or scared.
A Kittie backpack is most ideal for this.
Be sure to never leave your cat unattended at the beach.
- Avoid The Crowds
A beach with lesser people will make the experience much calmer for you and your cat. Given that cats are not frequent visitors to the beach, this may draw attention and fellow beachgoers will point, stare or even want to take snaps of the whole thing. Now, this may take one of two routes.
Your cat may get agitated and scared or she will love it and steal the show.
Unless you are sure your cat loves extra attention, it would make a better experience to visit a beach with no crowds on it.
At The End Of The Beach Day
- End The Trip On A High Note
After a day at the beach, everyone is probably relaxed and feeling good.
As you are packing to head home, make sure to have the experience end with something enjoyable for your cat.
If she likes dried fish treats, give her some and tell her how good they have been.
You could also let her play with dirt in the backyard for an extra 15 minutes or let her snuggle with her favourite toy.
The idea is to let her enjoy something she loves doing.
This little reward system will make your cat associate going to the beach with nice rewards.
And what’s more lovely than your cat excited to be at the beach? Talk about a warm furry tradition!
- Going Back Home
After a day at the beach, the cat will certainly have sand all over their body. Gently remove the sand using some feline-friendly wipes or give your cat a nice and quick bath to clean off all the sand.
Pay extra attention to hard-to-reach areas like under her tail, behind the ears or in between the paws.
Have water in her favourite bowl to take care of any dehydration your cat may be having after a day of being in the heat.
Bottom Line: Should I Take My Cat To The Beach?
In all honesty, there is no hindrance to taking your cat to the beach with you, as long as the beach is pet friendly. Some cats will enjoy basking in the sun and playing in the sand, others may not.
This is not to say that you should always carry your cat to everything that may be an adventure for them. At the back of your mind, it is true that as the pet parent, it is your responsibility to be careful when introducing new things to your furbaby.
You don’t want to do it too fast too soon that it distresses and thus traumatizes them.
A lot of cats are happiest in familiar places like their favourite corner in the house.
Remember, if it is a vacation, you are there to relax.
And so important questions to ask yourself as you consider taking your cat to the beach include how relaxed you will be if you’re constantly looking out to ensure your furry friend is safe; keeping an eye for beachgoers and dogs.
If they make a mess on the beach, you will also have to clean up after them.
That may be a lot of work to handle while on vacation or a day out at the beach.
But to prepare beforehand, keeping your cat in an outdoor enclosure out in the park or your garden may help you see how your cat would act in an outdoor environment and gauge if it is wise taking them to the beach.
But of course, if you have access to a private beach, a lot of the worrying disappears.