As a cat owner and frequent motorcycle rider, I often wonder if I can have my cat join me on a ride. Fortunately, there are a few steps that you can take to make a motorcycle ride safe for cats, but keep reading for factors to consider before you strap a helmet on your cat and hit the road. I also discuss whether cats even like to travel and the tools and equipment that you will need. In short, yes, cats can ride on motorcycles with the right safety precautions.
Do Cats Enjoy Motorcycle Rides?
Unlike dogs, which love to stick their heads out the car window and enjoy the wind as their owner drives on a summer day, cats are not naturally inclined to enjoy leaving the house, whether in a car or on a motorcycle. They usually prefer the safety of their homes, where they know the territory and all the hiding spots. They can become skittish in unfamiliar territory and are easily scared by loud noises, like the ones that can frequently occur while on the road. However, some cats don’t mind riding in the car, so if you have one, they might also enjoy riding on a bike.
How Can I Ride a Motorcycle With My Cat Safely?
1. Get a Carrier and Harness
If your cat is willing to get on the bike with you, the first step is to get a good carrier. It should be sturdy yet provide plenty of ventilation so your pet can stay cool. It should also be large enough that your cat can rest and turn comfortably. If you use a harness, ensure that it’s snug but not too tight.
2. Acclimate Your Pet
Give your cat plenty of time to acclimate to the carrier before you hit the road. Leave it open on the floor so they can go in and out as they explore. If they are avoiding it, place a few treats inside to coax them.
3. Go for Short Trips in the Car
Once your cat is familiar with the carrier and is comfortable inside, you can take them for short trips in the car to see how they react and to help get them used to the sound and motion of the road before going on a motorcycle.
4. Go for Short Trips on the Motorcycle
With your cat comfortable with the carrier in the car, you can try short trips on the motorcycle. These will help the cat get used to the sights and sounds of the road. You can gradually increase the length of your travels as your cat gets used to it.
Cats have sensitive ears, and the loud noise of many motorcycles can potentially damage them. Try to keep the engine noise down while you ride with your cat, especially if they are still getting used to it, and consider purchasing a pair of special noise-reducing earmuffs for felines.
Rocks and dust can also be hazardous to your cat’s eyes, so avoiding dirt roads when possible is a good idea, though you can purchase a pair of cat goggles. However, I’ve found that getting a cat to wear these items can take a while, so a quiet motorcycle on a paved road is a better option.
As I mentioned, many cats won’t enjoy leaving the house, no matter how many steps you take to make them more comfortable. Trying to take them on a motorcycle can be a frightening and stressful experience. So, if your cat shows signs of distress or discomfort, like meowing loudly and excessively, panting, or trembling, it’s important to stop the ride immediately and return home to let your cat recuperate.
If the cat doesn’t seem to get used to it after several outings, you might need to choose a different way to spend time together.
Cats can ride on a motorcycle safely, but it requires a great deal of preparation and caution. Before taking your cat on the bike, ensure that you have a suitable carrier, and let the cat get used to it in the house. Start with short rides close to the home, and gradually increase the length as your cat becomes more comfortable. Use earmuffs and eye protection if your cat will allow it.
Remember that not all cats will enjoy riding, so watch them to see if they seem stressed and uncomfortable, and return home if so.
Featured Image Credit: Jordi C, Shutterstock