Boating With Cats: Everything You Need To Know

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Want to learn about boating with your cat? Well, You’ve come to the right place! Also yes this is something that people actually do. But why should you even bring your feline friend in the first place? They can keep you company and they can even sense danger while in the waters because of their heightened sense of smell and hearing.

Its even saved peoples lives! It seems like something that wouldn’t go well as a lot of cats don’t really like water but boaters will tell you that it’s a generally positive experience. In fact people have been bringing cats along on their boat rides for centuries. It’s a lot more responsibility but to me I think its worth bringing them along. So lets start learning about cruising with cats!

Do Cats Like Being on a Boat?

Like with any form of traveling or adventuring some cats like the idea of being on a boat and will be ecstatic being on the deck and other cats don’t really like the idea of it at all. It just depends on the type of personality your cat has.

Which Cat Breeds Like Water?

If you are going to have a cat living the sea life it would be a lot easier for you and them if you had one that liked water in the first place. Here are some breeds that actually like swimming in water.

• Turkish Van
These cats are really known for liking water. In fact they are nicknamed the “Swimming Cat” and would be a good choice for bring with you out to sea and their fur is even water resistant.

• Maine Coon
If you want a bigger cat and one that likes water this would be a good choice to go with. They are also known to scoop water with their paws.

• Abyssinian
These cats are some of the oldest cat breeds in the world and they are known to turn on faucets and play with the water.

• Bengal
Bengal’s are really adventurous cats so naturally they are going to like water because of this. This breed would be a really good choice for a boating trip if you are going to go on one.

Personality Traits Of A Cat That Will Not Enjoy Cruising

Not all cats will be fit for this type of adventuring so how do you know you can bring your cat along? Here are some personality traits that will help you decide.

• Is Afraid Of Everything
You cat will not like this type of lifestyle if they are the type of cat that hears your friend walk into your door then hides under your bed until they are gone.

• Doesn’t Like Traveling
This is also a bad sign that your cat will not like cruising. This can be fixed but if you tried training them to ride in the car with you and they didn’t like it even after a long period of time chances are they won’t like your boat either.

• They Only Like Being Outdoors
If you have an outside cat and they really hate being indoors this won’t really be something they will not like doing.

•  Old Age
I would not recommend bringing your cat on a boat or adventuring with you in general if your cat is really old.

Can Cats Get Sea Sick?

This is something you should really think about before even considering boating with your cat. If you’re pet is the type that is prone to motion sickness they are probably no suitable for getting on a boat with you.

You might be able to prevent this if you keep them away from the lower deck but then again fresh air can only do so much. If you want to get around this there are medications that can prevent motion sickness which you can talk about with your vet.

Get A Life Vest

This is something that you should definitely invest in as there is a chance they may accidentally go overboard. I also wrote an article on life preservers and which ones that I think are the best to use while at sea here “Best Life Jackets For Cats That I Recommend“.

Most of the ones I listed are for dogs because you cant really find any that are specifically designed for cats. The good news is that a lot of boaters will also tell you that they work just fine for cats so as long as you get the right size of course. You can also get life vests for kittens if you have them as well.


You are going to be out in the open sea with your cat and naturally you are going to be exposed to a lot of the sun so its a good idea to get sunscreen for your cat. This is especially true if they have short hair or no hair at all.

Can Cats Eat Raw Fish?

Feeding your cat raw fish is something I would not recommend doing especially fish from the sea. Carnivorous fish such as swordfish and sharks have higher traces of mercury since they eat other fish with mercury and because of this they can be potentially dangerous for cats.

Canned tuna is however safe for them to consume. You only want to feed them fish with low traces of mercury and only when it is fully cooked as they could get parasites from ingesting it.

Another thing to consider is that raw fish destroys thiamine which is an essential B vitamin that your cat needs. Bones should also be removes because they can cause damage or obstructions in your cats throat or gastrointestinal tract.

If you give your cat fish you want it to only be a fraction of their diet. Fish is not very nutritional for cats believe it or not. Cats do not eat fish naturally in the wild as well as their ancestors with the exception of certain non domestic breeds. However it is a good source of protein for them if they eat small amounts.

How To Teach Your Cat To Swim

If your cat is an area where there is water it just makes sense to teach them how to swim. There are incidences where cats can go overboard and you want to prepare them for this just in case it happens. You really don’t want them to accidentally drown so I would put an effort on doing this. It adds another layer of safety when out at sea or even away from the ocean for that matter.

I’ve heard many stories where peoples pets have accidentally fell in the pool and they couldn’t get out or didn’t really know how to swim and unfortunately died as a result.

The thing is however it can be very tricky to teach them as a lot of cats hate water and not all cats can be taught to begin with. If you have a breed of cat such as the Turkish Van this will be much easier to do. This also can take a lot of time but with a little patience they will get used to this experience.

• Carefully Carry Them Into The Water
The best way to teach them would to be in a pool. Do anything you can to keep them calm. Hold them close, Turn them away from your body and hold there lower feet as this will prevent them from scratching you

• Avoid Getting Scratched
This is the part where you will have to put them in the water. Do not pull them away from your body or you will have to deal with getting scratched by them. To avoid there claws you want to kneel down into the water that way it way less likely that they will leave you with scratches.

• The Lesson Begins
Once the cat is in the water make sure to have a grip on their body so they do not go underwater. Do this for a while and work you way to where you don’t have to hold them at all.

If you did everything right you should have yourself a swimming cat!


You really also want to invest in a rope ladder or a steel ladder so if an event like this were to happen they can climb there way back on the boat. Some people wont use these and will just use a long towel instead. Another way to get them in the water is using a net. Doing this will allow you to easily scoop them out of the water.

Before Bringing Your Cat On The Boat

Before you get your cat cruising you’ll want them to get used to the smell of the boat first. You’ll want to bring clothing, blankets, cushions or whatever you have laying around and let your cat get used to the smell of them. This will create a positive association to the boat and will make it easier for them to enjoy cruising with you.

Let Them Get Used To The Boat

Before you go on some huge boat trip you want to make sure your kitty is used to being on the boat first. This can also take some time. Cats get freaked out about traveling. While the boat is fully docked let them get on the deck and smell around so they are accustomed to being on the boat.

You will know they are comfortable being on the boat when they can lay around and take a nap and do what they usually do when they are at home. Once you are at this point where they are very relaxed take them on a short boat rides and see how they react.

They might get startled by the movement but in most cases they will adjust to it. If your boat is really loud make sure someone is holding your cat, you have them somewhere safe or you have them on a harness at first so they don’t try to jump off the deck or accidentally fall into the water.

If you see any type of fear and it doesn’t seem to change over time your kitty might not be suitable to boat with you and I wouldn’t bother trying after that point.

Litter Box

This should be obvious but your cat has to go somewhere. You don’t want them going to the bathroom all over your boat so you want to invest in one of these.

Make sure to get the enclosed type of box so the litter doesn’t fly around when the boat is moving. You will also want to get really good litter that block as much odor as possible. You really don’t want bad odor lingering around in a small confined space.

One of the best litter boxes for this and the one I use is the “Nature’s Miracle Silver Oval Hooded Litter Box (click here for the link)“. This cat litter box is really good at concealing odor and this is a good thing for a confined space like a boat.

Always Keep An Eye On Them

Especially if you are living on a boat with your cat. If you don’t watch what they do they will not stay on your boat and will wander onto other docks which your neighbors will not like at all so you really want to avoid this.

They can also get lost which you also do not want to deal with either. If your cat is on deck tethering them to something would be a good idea as they will not go somewhere off the deck and get into trouble.

Kayaking Or Canoeing

If you are on a camping trip you could also go kayaking or canoeing with your cat. If you do something like this they should be in a harness or lead and you need to make sure that when you are on the boat that they don’t jump off into the water because that can be potentially dangerous for them.


Boating for your cat might be kind of scary at first for not only your cat but you as well but if you give it time there is a good chance they will grow to enjoy it.