If you take your cat straight onto a boat with no preparation, and it moves around a lot, there’s every chance your cat could panic and then jump off the boat. They likely won’t jump into the water if they know what’s waiting for them, but if they’re spooked then they could easily jump before they realize.
A cat can live on a houseboat with you, but there are a few things you need to consider. Firstly, a cat will likely prefer to have their own private space for their litter tray – will your boat have enough to accommodate that?
Asking whether all cats like being on boats is like asking whether all people like being on boats. Every cat, just like every person, is different. Some would absolutely detest spending any time on a boat. Other cats will be calm and relaxed. And many cats can be gently trained to be OK on a boat.
Yes, a pet life jacket is a real thing. A lot of pet owners like to take their pets to the lake, or on a sailing trip. However, not every pet is the strongest swimmer.