Life Jackets and Buoyancy Aids to Ensure Cat Safety on the Water
The floating felines of the world
Do cats really need life jackets or cat buoyancy aids?
Some cats can swim fine without a flotation aid. Cat life jackets (cat buoyancy aids) are not necessary and maybe excessive and uncomfortable for them; however, a pet buoyancy aid is very useful, more comfortable and has enough buoyancy to keep your pets afloat.
Do cats like to be in the water?
Cats are not big fans of water. However, there are examples of cats that love to swim, and it is brilliant to watch when they do. We have seen more and more examples of cats floating along on kayaks and joining their owners on their boats. We see this more than you would think around Southampton.
As more people are travelling and adventuring with cats, we are seeing them being surrounded by water more often than they were ten years ago which is why we have seen the rise of cat life jack…sorry I mean ’buoyancy aids’.
If you go back more than 10 years, you can start delving down into the history of cats being on sail boats. It gets quite interesting to find out that is where they truly did belong at one point. They served a great purpose to many.
Did ships have cats?
The typical ship mascot has been around for a long time and that mascot would typically be the ships cat. Ship born felines came from early Egypt. Grains and other food types were stored away ready to be handled in trade exchanges and rats, gerbils and mice would appear and this in turn attracted more cats.
As they were favoured more and more it brought about the domestication of the Egyptian wildcat for a very good reason. The cats would join the Egyptians when trailing across the Mediterranean on the boats which were involved in trade.
Rodents were a huge problem on the ships when they would gnaw through ropes and wood which were the fundamental materials of the boats, and guess who would solve this problem? The connoisseurs of comfort – cats! Hence the term 'the cat mascot'.
Can cats naturally swim?
Ever heard of the fishing cat? It comes from Sri Lanka and is well adapted to water to catch its meals in the form of fish. It is twice the size of a domestic cat and has webbed feet so ok it is not quite the same as a domestic cat, but it belongs to the cat family.
Yes, cats can swim but one of the biggest things which puts them off the idea is the cold. Cats can quickly be negatively impacted by being wet and cold.
Turkish Vans – The Swimming Cat
They are rare but if you have one then you have the best starting point for teaching them to swim.
Have you seen some of the cat swimming videos on YouTube?
With a little training and care and if the water is reasonably warm then your domesticated cat could swim too. This leads us nicely on nicely to the questions surrounding cat life jackets and buoyancy aids.
What is the difference between a buoyancy aid and a cat life jacket?
Most people refer to all items that attach to you like a vest as a ‘life jacket’. A gas compact life jacket will only inflate if you manually pull the cord to inflate it or if it is an automatic life jacket then it will automatically inflate when you hit the water.
Buoyancy aids are foam filled. They will provide very good protection if you or your cats were to hit the water when wearing them. Most buoyancy aids must give you 50 Newton's of buoyancy which is plenty to keep you afloat, so a cat would need nowhere near as much as a person would.
One of the biggest features of the buoyancy aid is it allows freedom of movement. The slightly more comfortable pet buoyancy aid protects your pet from the cold and any objects they may hit and it provides a little warmth to your pets should the worst thing happen. It is an essential if you take your pets out on to the water.
Can a cat drown?
Yes, cats can drown just like people can. Being trapped or being exhausted can put cats in a situation where they cannot recover. Do not put you or your cats in this position and if you are going to take even a small risk such as going on a boat or kayak with them, then consider what outcomes could occur and ensure they are wearing a cat buoyancy aid.
What buoyancy aid do I need for a cat?
The Baltic Cat buoyancy aid is a good option. As we are by the sea, they are tried and tested by us too. Other cat life jackets and cat buoyancy aids are available.
The Baltic is reflective, it has a grab handle, it uses clips instead of Velcro and is separate to the range of Baltic dog jackets. The reviews on our site speak volumes for the jacket.
How should a cat life jacket or buoyancy aid fit?
The Baltic Cat buoyancy aid needs to fit comfortably. You would want a cat harness and leash to fit well and this is something that needs to fit for any emergency scenarios. The last thing you want is your cat slipping out of the vest or being so tight it causes them discomfort through rubbing.
We have received many enquiries from people who have tried a dog life jacket on a cat and the outcome was exactly as you would expect, not great.
How do I get my cat out of the water in an emergency?
You need to ensure the cat buoyancy aid / cat life jacket has a ‘grab handle’ which you can easily grab to rescue your cat from the water should you need to. Should your cat end up in the water when it is dark, or the weather is bad then you need to ensure the cat life jacket is a bright colour which is easy to see in difficult conditions.
How do I get my cat into a cat life jacket?
Make it an enjoyable experience.
Try it on multiple times (weeks) before you head out to the water.
Use treats to entice them to the jacket.
Let them wear it for short periods of time.
We look forward to seeing many pictures of your cats out on the water!