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Can You Take Your Cat to the Beach: Vet-Reviewed Facts & FAQ

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By Nicole Cosgrove

Calico cat lying down on a beach towel

Vet approved

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Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Maja Platisa

In-House Veterinarian, DVM MRCVS

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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While every public beach out there is open to you, you can’t say the same for your cat. While there are certainly some beaches you can take your cat to, most public beaches are not open to pets.

But how can you find a beach for you and your cat, will your cat enjoy the beach, and what do you need to do if you plan on taking your cat to the beach? We’ll answer all those questions and more for you below.

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Can You Take Your Cat to the Beach?

It really depends on the beach you’re looking at going to. While most beaches won’t specifically market themselves as “cat-friendly,” if you find a dog-friendly or pet-friendly beach, these are usually safe places to bring a cat.

Still, it would be most prudent to be very careful and avoid busy, dog-friendly beaches, as many cats may get quite stressed about the presence of dogs, and it may not be safe for them if dogs are off the lead, even if your cat is on their harness. Be very cautious when choosing a beach, and avoid busy times of the day.

However, if the beach specifically states that pets are not allowed or they don’t mention pets, there’s a good chance you can’t bring your cat there.

Do Cats Like the Beach?

a cat standing on the shore by the beach
Image Credit: dimitrisvetsikas1969, Pixabay

For the most part, cats love the beach. Cats love running and digging in the sand. It reminds them of a large, clean, litterbox. However, while they’ll love the beach, most cats don’t want to head into the ocean.

Moreover, if the sand is too wet or too hot, your cat might not enjoy their day at the beach, and it may not be safe for their paws. Hot sand may easily lead to skin burns. It’s all about finding the right conditions. But if you do, there’s a good chance your cat will love their beach day!

Of course, this is all under the assumption that your cat is used to being walked on their harness and they are used to car rides. Any new experiences and places are stressful for cats, and it’s important to introduce them to it slowly and patiently; otherwise, the effect may be opposite of what you want.

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Things to Know Before Taking Your Cat to the Beach

If you’re planning on taking your cat to the beach, you’ll need to do a few things when you’re there. Because you don’t want to get there and realize what you got yourself into after the fact, we highly recommend reading everything we’ve highlighted below.

1. Ensure the Weather Conditions Are Right

It’s very important to assess the weather conditions in advance and make sure it’s suitable to take your cat to the beach. Hot and humid weather is not safe for your cat from multiple angles. 

Hot temperatures can lead to dehydration and heat stroke, particularly if your cat does not have sufficient shade, ventilation, and fresh, clean water. On those days, sand is particularly hot, and it can seriously damage your cat’s paws. Ensure the sand is of adequate temperature by trying to walk on it barefoot. Excess wind may cause debris building up on the beach or may cause branches to fall off the trees, posing a danger both for you and your cat, alongside the noise that may scare fearful cats. 

Even driving or leaving your cat in a hot car can be dangerous in hot weather. It’s important they are in their safe and secure carrier, as not to endanger themselves or you while driving, and that the car is ventilated and kept at a comfortable temperature. Never leave your cat unattended in the car due to the risk of heat stroke. 

There are many things to consider, and these are just some of the most important ones.

2. Keep Them Out of the Water

cats sunbathing on a roof by the beach
Image Credit: AleksaKras, Pixabay

While most cats are not keen on the water and won’t go in anyway, it’s a bad idea to let your cat get in the ocean. Between the waves and the current, there are simply too many variables that make it far too dangerous for your cat.

Cats aren’t the strongest swimmers, so if you’re taking them to the beach don’t even think about putting them in the water.

3. Clean Up After Them

Part of the reason cats love the beach so much is that it looks and feels like a giant litter box. But while this might make it more enjoyable for them, it all but guarantees they’re going to go to the bathroom there.

Nobody else wants to deal with your cat’s excrement, so clean it up right away. Keep in mind that your cat will likely try to bury it, so you’ll need to keep an eye on them to catch them in the act otherwise you might not even realize it’s there.

4. Ensure They Get Plenty of Water

bengal cat playing water in the bowl
Image Credit: kalyanby, Shutterstock

If it’s hot outside, it’s best to skip the beach day altogether. However, if the temperature is adequate, you still need to ensure some basic requirements for your cat. And while there’s a great big ocean there, your cat can’t drink that water.

To help them stay cool, hydrated, and happy you need to ensure they have plenty of access to fresh water. Simply keeping a water bowl out for them and regularly topping it up with fresh water should do the trick.

5. Keep an Eye on Them

Whenever you take your cat to the beach you need to keep a constant eye on them. This will ensure they don’t wander too far, don’t start messing with other people or their pets, don’t get into the water, and don’t use the bathroom in the sand.

If you’re taking the cat to the beach, it means spending pretty much all your time watching them. There’s nothing wrong with that; just know what you’re signing yourself up for!

6. Brush Them Off at the End

woman brushing a calico devon rex cat
Image Credit: Poppy Pix, Shutterstock

Once you’re ready to leave the beach you want to do everyone a favor and brush your cat with a gentle cat brush. This will clean off any sand that’s found its way into the fur, and if they get into any saltwater, a damp cloth will clean this off too.

Not only will this keep them from making a mess everywhere, but it’ll also help ensure the sand, salt, and other debris don’t irritate their skin.

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Final Thoughts

While you can’t take your cat to every beach out there, if you find a pet-friendly or secluded beach, it can be a great way for you and your feline friend to spend the day. Pick out the perfect day, then follow some of the basic tips we highlighted in our guide here to have the perfect beach day with your cat!

Featured Image Credit: Basje3990, Pixabay

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