Hey travelin’ feline friends! Skye Blake here, biker cat, ready to ride with you!
Ok, so you love a good bicycle ride on a warm, sunny day… or rumblin’ down the road on your motorcycle, wind in your hair, the motor revving beneath you.
You also love doing things with your feline friend. But can you bring your cat with you on a bike?
- Getting Your Cat Ready to Bike
- Carry Cat Supplies
- Bicycle & Motorcycle Cat Carriers
- Get the Right Size Carrier
- Properly Fitting a Bicycle Carrier
- Properly Fitting a Motorcycle Carrier
- The Balance Factor
- Examples of Bicycle Carriers
- Examples of Motorcycle Carriers
- Related Pages of Interest
- List of Sources
Getting Your Cat Ready to Bike
Is Your Cat the Adventurous Type?
Start by determining if your cat is an adventure loving purrsonality. Find out how at “You & Your Traveling Cat“.
Keep in mind that many cats are homebodies… happy in their safe world watching the birds.
Most cats don’t like change in their territory, so this is an important step.
Check the Laws
Check the laws in your local and destination areas about cats on bicycles.
Some areas are very strict and don’t allow them at all, while others have no restrictions. You don’t want a surprise fine!
Safety is Key!
Obviously, when you assume the risks of riding for yourself, you’re also assuming them for your cat.
Even a small accident on a motorcycle can be devastating, so it’s wise to keep your cat as safe as you can, while allowing him to enjoy the wind in his fur.
Yes, it’s fun to have a cat draped around your neck while cruising down the road, but if your cat starts to lose his balance or is suddenly startled or frightened, those claws will instinctively grab onto your skin, causing you to lose control of your bike.
Not a good scene!
Be Comfortable Riding a Bike
Be sure you’re very comfortable riding a bike or motorcycle.
If you’re nervous, wobbly, or have a hard time balancing, you’re not ready to bring your cat.
Cats can easily feel your unsteadiness, so you may need to complete your own training before attempting to take your kitty.
If you’re just not good at balancing on a bike, you’ll both be better off finding another mode of transportation.
Once you’re able to balance and ride well with confidence, your cat will feel secure and comfortable riding with you.
Training My Cat – Seriously?
Start right away because it can take some time but is well worth it as it’ll come in handy the rest of her life. You might even save her life!
It doesn’t take more than commitment, patience, and a bit of time each day for great return on investment. Go at her own pace…
Make sure she’s familiar with how you look in a helmet so it doesn’t startle her.
If your cat doesn’t recognize you, she can get scared, which can ruin the experience for you both.
Get her used to the helmet the same way you trained her for the carrier (Cat Carrier Wars – How to Get Yours to Love It!).
Each step of the way, it’s important to watch your kitty’s reactions and adjust your training accordingly.
Carry Cat Supplies
Be sure you can carry all the necessary supplies for your cat as well as yourself. Limited space on a bike requires efficient packing.
Some carriers have attachable water and food bowls and extra pouches for food, treats, etc.
Bicycle & Motorcycle Cat Carriers
Part of preparing to go biking with your cat is investing in the highest quality carrier you can afford.
Whether you’re on a bicycle or motorcycle, the carrier has to be comfortable and supportive for your cat, while being structurally able to protect him.
It should enclose your cat, have good air circulation, be easy to clean, and attach firmly to the bike.
If it needs extra support, consider getting a separate bike rack to put on the front or back.
No cat will be happy in a carrier that slides around, tips, or is otherwise insecure. Not only will his footing be unsure, but he might also get motion sickness.
There are a few different types of cat carriers for bikes. The most common are either open baskets or enclosed hard or soft-sided carriers.
Any carrier you use should be made for cats, not just dogs.
Anything that says, “pet carrier” usually means “dog”, so be sure it will work for your cat as well.
An open basket lets your cat feel the wind in his fur but has its risks.
Your cat could fall or jump out of the basket so it’s best to have him in a harness that can clip to rings in the basket.
An enclosed carrier is safer in some ways, but it’s very important that there’s good air circulation for breathing and cooling your cat in warm weather.
There are harnesses that strap the cat to your front or back, but this can cause problems when he moves around, and the harness can loosen while you’re riding.
Cat backpacks are becoming popular and have mesh or a large plastic bubble that allows your buddy to see outside, have good air circulation, and stay protected.
Occasionally, some people use dog trailers attached to the back of a bike, especially for more than one animal, but experts don’t recommend them for cats, since you can’t monitor how they’re doing.
Cat carriers for motorcycles often are adaptations of dog carriers simply because there aren’t many hog lovers in the feline world (yet)!
These carriers have to be even tougher and sturdier than bicycle carriers, so open baskets aren’t recommended!
Cat backpacks are a good possibility but can be hot and uncomfortable in the summer.
They also require you, instead of the bike, to bear the weight, which can be difficult on a long trip.
See more about carriers at “What Are the Best Cat Carriers?“
Durability & Safety
Durability contributes a lot to safety. Fabric must be tough, ideally non-fading, and able to handle claws, teeth, and the weather.
Seams, zippers, clips, etc., must be strong and claw resistant. The sturdier the carrier, the more protective if it hits the ground hard.
Metal reinforcing bars give extra strength for better safety. Zippers, latches, etc., must be lockable or otherwise able to prevent loosening.
We felines can be quite sneaky and get things open that we shouldn’t!
Some carriers have a sliding internal leash mount and short leash to attach your cat’s harness so she can move around but not escape or fall out.
If you’re interested in learning about carriers that have been crash tested, check out the “2015 Carrier Study Results” from the Center for Pet Safety®.
Weather Resistant vs. Weatherproof
When choosing a bike carrier, it’s important to know the difference between weather resistant and weatherproof material.
“Weather resistant” means water is repelled but will eventually get into the material and cause damage.
“Weatherproof” means that it’s able to withstand water punishment without being damaged or allowing it to get through.
Some carriers have extra features that come in handy when traveling, especially hiking or biking…
- Removable leakproof absorbing bottom pad – Leakproof to keep accidents off your bike… absorbs to keep your cat dry
- Travel bowls for food and water in an attached pouch
- Attachable handles for carrying as a backpack
Get the Right Size Carrier
Let me state an obvious point that may not be so obvious… be sure the carrier fits the size of your cat.
The rule of thumb for sizing a carrier is that it should be 1-1/2 times the size of the cat (not including the tail).
She should have enough room to stand up and turn around while still being able to touch the sides for security.
Check the inside of the carrier before buying it. Often there are rough edges, staples or other sharp, uncomfortable things that a cat won’t like.
If you still want to buy it, be sure you can remove these problems.
No matter what carrier you use, be sure to introduce it slowly and train her to get in on command. It’s worth the investment to have a happy biking cat.
Properly Fitting a Bicycle Carrier
Choosing a cat carrier for your bike is more than just picking a cute basket to stick on your handlebars.
It must fit the style and model of your bicycle. Some bicycles can’t fit a carrier unless you attach a special rack.
For example, racing bikes are not made to have pet carriers attached.
A good carrier has a sturdy bottom that won’t sag, strong construction, fits well on the handlebars, and is securely set on the front wheel cover.
Check with the bike or carrier manufacturer if you have questions.
Properly Fitting a Motorcycle Carrier
Fitting a carrier to a motorcycle is basically the same as a bicycle.
While people sometimes come up with strange things in which to carry their cat on a motorcycle (like a very large hamster ball!), the safest carrier is made specifically for attaching to a motorcycle, not a bicycle or car.
The carrier is the most important piece of safety equipment for your buddy.
Backpack carriers are a good option but require the load be carried by you instead of the bike and can be uncomfortable in hot weather.
Hard plastic will keep him safest in case it hits the ground hard.
Soft carriers offer no protection but should have firm structure such as a metal frame to keep it secure while you’re riding.
Test any carrier with your cat on a short trip before using it for a long one.
Start with walking the bike a short way and work up to getting him comfortable with you riding it.
The Balance Factor
Balance is a major factor for both bicycles and motorcycles.
Using a carrier or backpack will add weight to your bike, depending on where it’s attached, and affect your balance, so be sure you can adjust and steer without a problem.
Your cat will not take kindly to wobbling and tipping over because you didn’t prepare for the change in balance!
Put some rocks in the pack to approximate the weight of your cat and go for a test drive.
The rocks should be able to shift around the way your cat will as you take corners, etc.
I make a small commission on some of the links below… and I get to share profits with qualified cat rescues!
Check descriptions and reviews carefully for any products you wish to buy… quality, sizes, colors, etc., can’t be guaranteed by anyone but the manufacturer.
Examples of Bicycle Carriers
Examples of Motorcycle Carriers
Related Pages of Interest
Sources used on this website are either primary or secondary.
Primary sources are always preferable and have the most reliable information because they’re original and directly referenced.
Scientific abstracts and data are good examples of primary sources.
Secondary sources are weaker because they usually consist of opinions or articles that give no sources of their own.
However, sometimes they refer to primary sources.
When I use secondary sources, most are those with some authority, such as veterinarian or cat behaviorist books and articles.
List of Sources
“How to Take Your Cat on A Bike Ride“, by Cat Explorer
“How to Take Your Cat on A Bike Ride“, by Vivien Bullen, How Stuff Works
“Motorcycle Pet Traveling Guide“, by Vivien Bullen, How Stuff Works
“Top 5 Motorcycle Pet Carrier for The Budget”, by Editor Team, Caring Cat Guide, January 23, 2021
Updated July 10, 2022