Raise A Paw has been out of action for a bit but is back with a bounce despite the toasty heat wave we’re having here on the east coast. If I currently didn’t need a job to survive, I would be on the beach all day every day soaking up the rays from a float in the ocean watching the pooches play in the sand and relaxing under trees. The only thing missing would be beach cats. I mean, does such a thing even exist? Why if pups are (seemingly) allowed on the beach (though often not here in New York) don’t we see felines frolicking in the sand? Raise A Paw is curious to know, Are Cats Good Beach Buddies?
Well if I were a cat (I seem to start a lot of sentences that way…) I imagine I would think of the beach as one great big litter box for me to frolic in. However now that I have actually typed that sentence out it has occurred to me that a litter box is actually their toilet and who wants to hang out and play in their toilet? That seems really unhealthy.
As always what your pet likes and dislikes are up to the pet itself. My cat Arthur happens to love hopping on top of the shower door every morning and playing with the shampoo bubbles and getting a little bit wet while I’m rub-a-dub-scrubbing. My other cat Henry, finds this ridiculous and the mere thought of water seems to send him directly under my bed where he silent protests until an apartment drought has been declared.
So there are a few things to consider when actually taking your cat to the beach. Issues about whether or not cats like water aside (as the question isn’t Can Your Cat Surf? it’s Do Cats Make Good Beach Buddies? Please do note the difference) to start off you actually live near a beach or are you going to have to drive to one? And if you have to drive to one is your puss one that loves a good Sunday-drive? Most cats don’t adore a drive in the car so please don’t shove them in the vehicle simply because you think taking them to the shore would be cute.
Secondly, is your cat an indoor or outdoor cat and are they comfortable with a harness? If your cat is always indoors and doesn’t know the first thing about the sights, sounds, smells, bells and whistles of the great outdoors then most likely the roar of the ocean, flying seagulls, screaming children in the sand and other various smells are most likely going to send your kitty in to over-drive and they will want to run and hide. Which, at the beach tends to be difficult to do as beaches are typically vast open stretches of land with little to no cover which is what makes them so appealing for humans and probably pretty traumatic for cats who spend the majority of their time squeezing themselves in to a tight box or hiding under any kind of shelter.
Additionally if you cat does not typically wear or is not used to wearing a harness adding that element to what has now become an already stressful situation is most likely not a super idea. The harness is a new feeling for them and when they can’t run because they are attached to a leash it will probably cause them to panic.
So far this beach trip with your cat has been borderline dreadful for you and probably full blown terrifying for your cat.
However if the above elements of having your minx on the margin don’t apply and they are perfectly fine being harnessed and are used to that environment here are a few items to keep in mind when at the shore with your cat.
Probably don’t take your cat to a crowded beach. It’s better to err on the side of caution and keep them segregated away from a more crowded area with a lot of children or drunk hipsters running around who won’t see your cat or on the flip side will want to spend all day petting your cat which could also stress them out and frankly can be irritating. If your cat is keen on dogs and you are comfortable taking them to a beach for small dogs, start with that.
Keep them harnessed at all times. Unless you actually live on the beach in a tent and your cat is used to all the different creatures milling about (gulls, crabs, sand bugs, etc.) they will most likely want to chase after them. Beaches can be very long with dunes to hide in so you don’t want Felix to run off in search of crabs never to return. If they are comfortable with a harness, keep them in it.
Don’t go from the hours of 11am to 2pm. This goes for humans too. Those are the peak heat hours and unless you plan on dragging along your portable air conditioner it is way too dangerous for an animal to be out in the heat during those hours. Even if you have plenty of water and an umbrella it’s just plain dangerous so just don’t do it. You are putting your cat at risk for heat stroke among other dangers brought on by heat that could kill them so just say no to the hours of 11am to 2pm.
Bring an umbrella and plenty of water and something for your cat to lay on. You know exactly what it’s like when you walk on the sand without your flip flops on. That motha’ is hot and that’s with people feet. Your puss’ paws are even more delicate so once you’ve carried your cat to your secluded spot on the beach be sure to put your umbrella up and towel down so that they have somewhere comfortable to rest with you. Let your cat determine for themselves if they want to venture out in the sand. And of course, keep that water fresh and change it every hour so that it’s nice and cool for them.
So there you have it! While cats probably won’t be running wild and free on the beach, if yours is the kind who can handle it (though most aren’t) give it a go just be very careful and really make sure you know your cat before attempting something like this. Frankly, my cats would rather hang out in my nice, cool apartment than hit up the coast which is fine with me because at the end of the day after I’ve had my time on the beach and they’ve had their time soaking up the a/c we reunite for a mellow evening of sound sleep both purrrrfectly content.