Are Cats Allowed on the Beach?

woman sitting on a beach

Understandably, some owners want to share more of their lives with their pets. 

But cats aren’t dogs.

And you may find that yours isn’t very adventurous at all and that it doesn’t want to leave its territory. It may become anxious or distressed at having to get into a carrier or a car.

But what about the other types of cats: the ones who like tagging along; whose curiosity and sense of adventure means they’ll chirrup and hop right into a harness or carrier? Why wouldn’t we want to indulge these kinds of pets in the same way that we do with dogs?

woman sitting on a beach

It depends on the beach. If you see a dog-friendly or pet-friendly beach, then you should be fine to take your cat to it. Beaches that don’t allow dogs or have signs saying ‘no pets’ won’t be suitable for you feline.  You could be liable for a fine if you get caught.

It’s always worth double-checking before arriving by asking the relevant authority in that area if you’re unsure.

It’s not just about the pet-friendly status of the beach, either. You should consider any potential challenges or threats to going to certain beaches at certain times.  For example, there can be dangerous tides or wildlife; the temperature may get too high or too low; you might also find that it’s harder to get down onto the sand, pebble or shingle at certain times of the year.

Do Cats like sand?

Yes, most cats love sand. Think about it – the beach is a giant litterbox! And its texture is pretty similar. Providing it’s not too wet or too hot when they walk on it, most cats will be right at home walking on sand. 

Should I take my cat to the beach?

Nothing is stopping you taking a cat to a pet-friendly beach but that doesn’t mean that you should.  Some cats love being outdoors and adore spending time on the sand in the sunshine but lots aren’t like this. 

As owners, we need to be careful when introducing our pets to things that we enjoy but which could be distressing or unnerving to them. Most of the time, your cat will be happier staying at home.

Remember that it’s your vacation, too.  How relaxed will you be if you’re having to look after them making sure they’re safe and well?  You’ll have to ensure they’re not too hot and that they’re in the shade.  You’ll need to keep an eye on dogs and other beachgoers.  You’ll have to check they’re secure and unable to escape when you’re not watching and that they’re not eating or drinking something they shouldn’t be. If they make a mess, then you have to clear up after them, too.

It may be worth putting them in a portable outdoor enclosure either in your garden or in a park before hitting the beach to see how they manage before committing to a long day out by the sea.

Things to consider before taking your cat to the beach

  • We’d recommend thinking hard about whether or not it’s worth taking your cat to the beach. Most cats probably won’t thank you for it and it’s a big responsibility: keeping them safe and secure when you’re meant to be enjoying yourself.  Often, it’s kinder to leave them behind.  If you’re interested in taking your cat then we’d suggest thinking about a secure carrier to transport them in. This could be a more traditional hard or soft carrier or it could be a cat backpack that you wear. You’ll need to think about the journey to the beach as well as how you’ll get them onto the sand when you’re there. If you’re traveling by bike then you can also buy front bike baskets for cats and even bike trailers.
  • You’ll want somewhere where the cat relax out of the sunshine in.  This could be a carrier or an outdoor enclosure. You need to make sure that it’s a cool environment for the cat to relax in.  If they’re happy lying in a harness you could put up a small tent to keep them in the shade.
  • Make sure you pack fresh cold water for them to drink from and you may want to take food or snacks.
  • Make sure the cat is up-to-date with flea treatments and vaccinations.  You should also protect them against ticks and worms where necessary.
  • Your cat should also be microchipped.
  • Find a quiet spot to sit in at a time of the day when there are fewer people.  You’ll need to keep an eye out for increasing temperatures, incoming poor weather, the tide, and other beach users including dogs.
  • Cats can easily become anxious about unfamiliar smells and noises so be vigilant about changing weather and tidal patterns as well as general beach noise and others people.  It may be best to keep them close in a carrier or tent rather than to have them walking up and down on a harness.
  • If you’re particularly nervous about your cat escaping, then you can buy cat tracking collars for peace-of-mind.  But if you’re very worried about them getting loose then we’d advise you either don’t take them or you keep them secured in a carrier.

Cat friendly beaches near me

You may not see cat-friendly beaches labelled as specifically as that.  You’re probably looking for pet-friendly or dog-friendly.  In the UK, you can use the Beach Guide to find which beaches are suitable for pets.  The Vacation Idea website has recently posted about the 25-best dog-friendly beaches in the US that may be helpful. We’d recommend finding out the name and location of a specific beach and then contacting a local authority or researching online to find out more about whether pets are allowed.

Cats are allowed on pet-friendly beaches but taking them isn’t something we’d advise to everyone.

Our cat would probably find it too overwhelming (at least initially), and we think she’d be happier staying at home where she feels safe and secure.  You’ll find plenty of people who do take their cats with them, however.  As we wrote in the introduction, it does depend on the cat’s personality.  

There may be other ways to introduce some stimulation into your cat’s life other than hitting the sand.  You can walk your cat on a leash around the neighborhood or take them with you in a motorhome and use a portable cat enclosure.

If you don’t think your cat would enjoy a little time by the sea, then you could just introduce more things for them to interact with inside or outside the home.  Stay-at-home cats might appreciate a good scratching post or window perch more than a vacation by the ocean.