How We Go Biking With Our Cat (with @oliverscatventures)
If you’ve been wondering ‘can I go cycling with your cat?’, we have the answer for you. It’s a huge YES and more importantly, your cat can enjoy exploring the great outdoors with you on two wheels! Want to know how? We spoke to community experts Joyce and Ahmet who bike around the Netherlands with their cat Oliver. They shared their top tips on how best to get started and how to keep bike rides fun for your cat.
Scroll down for the chat highlights or watch the full episode on our YouTube channel.
Oliver is a sweet and curious tabby cat who was adopted by Joyce, Ahmet and their two children. Initially, they wanted a cat that they could keep indoors but Oliver had his own plans! From a very young age, it became apparent that indoor life wasn’t for Ollie so Joyce and Ahmet harness-trained him so he could enjoy the outdoors safely. His zest for adventure led them to explore bike training him so he could join them on family trips and he loved it! Now you can catch Ollie riding around the Netherlands, taking in the sights; he even picks the children up from school!
How to take your cat on a bike ride
It’s really important that before you get on a bike, your cat is a confident harness wearer. Harness training your cat will allow you to safely navigate the outdoors with them. Once they are super comfy exploring in their harness, you can elevate their skills to include bike riding (in a basket or carrier… they’re not doing the peddling!). Speaking of baskets or carriers is also super helpful to make sure that your cat is carrier trained and feels secure in this safe space.
Related: How To Backpack Train Your Cat
Why would you cycle with your cat?
If you’re like Joyce and Ahmet, cycling might be part of your everyday life, so it makes sense to take your cat with you, especially if a bicycle is your main mode of transport.
“We travel a lot by bike around our village, it was a local thing to do, to take Oliver with us.” – Joyce
In the Netherlands, much of the country caters to bike riding and has many incorporated bike lanes in its road systems. When adventure calls, it’s much easier (and greener) to hop on the bike and go!
Related: Biking with Cats: How to Take Your Cat on a Bike Ride
Do cats like bike rides?
Yes! Cats can learn to enjoy bike rides like many other things. What is important to remember is that a slow and steady approach is always the best approach. Before heading out on long bike rides with Oliver, Joyce and Ahmet introduced him to his bike basket indoors. He got used to using it before it was ever attached to the bike. Then, when he was super relaxed in it, they attached it to the bike.
Their initial journeys saw them meander around their village…
“Its really important to read your cat’s body language” – Joyce
By being in tune with your cat and how they are feeling, you’ll soon recognise their comfort level. You should tailor your training so that you are always working within your cat’s fear tolerance. Making sure they have fun, positive experiences is a sure way to help them love new experiences.
How to keep your cat safe on a bike ride
Other than the aforementioned harness, carrier and bike training, there are other things you want to consider when planning your cat-cycle journeys.
“What is the route we’re going to take? What are the rules and regulations about dogs? How many people will we meet? What’s the weather going to be like?” – Ahmet
It can be super helpful before heading out to plan your journey. This way you know what the expect when you head out with your cat. Reconnaissance trips help you to identify potential hazards ahead of time, and they can aid your decision in picking routes or places at different times of day when traffic and footfall are lower. This is especially helpful if your cat is still new to bike riding. Favourable conditions and a pleasant experience are more likely to help your cat feel relaxed and enjoy the ride.
Of course, it’s also really important to make sure that all of your cycling equipment is cat-safe too.
What’s the best thing about cycling with your cat?
If you are a lover of cycling and your cat loves it too, the best thing about cycling with your cat is that you get to share that experience together. Outdoor adventures with your cat are a great way to mentally and environmentally stimulate them. It adds valuable enrichment and can strengthen your bond.
How do you keep bike rides fun for your cat?
You can keep bike rides fun for your cat by creating a routine for them. Cats love routine naturally so, if you have a fave cycle path, stick to it! Your cat will love the predictability of the journey and feel confident as they know what to expect.
“I really love the Oliver Uber [school] pickup… Ollie knows where we’re going; he knows the route; he knows exactly when we get to school and we have to wait for the kids to get out, then we go back”. – Joyce
Another way is to keep them short and sweet. That’s not to say that your cat might not enjoy a long bike ride but, find joy in those shorter trips too. Adventure can be everywhere! Maybe you need to run some errands or just fancy a lap around the block – considering taking your cat along. Short, regular trips can help to build your cat’s bike confidence, and little trips that end on a high will leave your cat wanting more!
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