Pet Safety at the Lake: Your Cat Co-Captain

Photos courtesy of Sintra the Cat, Mero the Adventure Cat and Bryson Burmese Adventure Kitty.

Article co-authored by intern Gabrielle France

Not all felines are ‘fraidy cats’! In fact, a growing number of cats are riding the waves across some of America’s favorite lakes this summer.

If you’re ready to hit the open water with your kitty co-captain this lake season, take a look at these few reminders:

Prepare for Travel

As extraordinary as relaxing on the water with your cat sounds, getting to the lake may be a less than stress-free endeavor. Many pets, particularly cats, hate traveling.

To ease her discomfort and to ensure your pet’s safety, secure your feline co-captain in a carrier that is large enough for her to stand and turn around comfortably. Both soft and hard carriers are on the market today, which is best for your pet is ultimately up to you. 

Soft carriers are easy to travel with, compact and work best for calmer pets. The Sherpa Original Deluxe Pet Carrier is a highly-rated option that comes padded with a soft mat, plenty of space, and mesh sides for your kitty companion to see precisely where she is going.

Available at starting at $35, Sherpa carriers come in three different sizes and colors.

Hard carriers are more durable and protective than their soft-sided counterparts. Starting at $24 on, the Petmate is a solid, two-door hard carrier to consider.

This travel case is made of durable plastic and has two doors for your cat to enter or exit on whichever side she prefers.

There are five different colors to pick from and three different sizes.

Your Cat and Water

It’s no secret that most cats dislike getting wet, but did you know their fear of water is not inborn? Some cats are even natural swimmers, especially those native to warmer climates.

Feline friends who fear water are typically those who have never been properly exposed to it.

It is best to get your cat accustomed to water when he is young to make sure he has a natural curiosity to learn.

Being exposed to water early, such as gradually introducing your pet to a few more inches of water in the sink with each bath, will allow for a more natural and safe transition from tolerating to enjoying.

Eventually, when you decide you’re ready to take your cat to the lake, your pet will know what to expect.

For your cat’s protection, be sure Fluffy has a clear lake entrance and exit available, such as a ladder on your boat or dock, or a climbing rope that will allow him to lock in with his claws and exit the water with ease. 

Also be sure to keep noise levels and splashing to a minimum, and always dry your cat’s ears after exiting the water to avoid serious infection.

Life Purrservers

For added pet safety, consider fitting your feline with a pet life vest.

When selecting which life preserver to buy for your pet, consider purchasing a vest with a handle for quick extraction and under-chin padding to keep your cat’s head above water.

While most animal life vests are marketed for dogs, most are compatible with keeping your cat safe, too.

If you’re looking for a life preserver made specifically for your kitty companion, Paws Aboard is the best choice for you!

These jackets are equipped with both a  handle and under-chin padding and come in bright, easy-to-see red. 

Paws Aboard cat life vests are available for purchase on for about $25. Before you buy, always be sure to know your cat’s weight and measurements for proper sizing.

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