If you want a pet to go hiking, camping, even kayaking, most would tell you without hesitation to get a dog. But many cat owners cry foul to stereotyping our fine feline friends in such a manner. In fact, there is a quickly growing website and Facebook page for cats who love the great outdoors: Adventure Cats.
Laura Moss, Adventure Cats co-founder, knew that other people took their cats camping and kayaking and wanted tips to help train her two cats to also enjoy the great outdoors. However, she couldn’t find a lot of information on the subject.
“I created Adventure Cats to provide helpful information for pet owners who want to safely engage with their cats in nature,” Moss tell iHeartCats.com “On our site, you’ll find articles to help you train your cat to walk on a leash, determine if your cat would be a good adventure cat based on certain personality traits, identify essentials for hiking and camping with your cat, and more.”
Her other reason, was to fight against those pesky cat stereotypes, which she found are still believed by most, according to a Petsmart Charities survey, where the majority of people described cats as “moody” or “aloof” and that 49 percent of people still buy into the “crazy cat lady” stereotype, Moss explained.
“I hope that sharing inspiring tales of cats and their owners hiking, camping, sailing and surfing will help break down negative stereotypes and increase cat adoptions,” Moss says.
Which brings us to her last motivation – getting cats out of shelters.
“More cats are euthanized in U.S. shelters —1.4 million annually, according to the ASPCA — than dogs, and part of the reason that number is so high is because of how we perceive cats and their owners,” she explained.
Starting An Adventure
Ready to take your kitty on an adventure? Your first stop should be the Adventure Cat’s website.
Her website is full of useful information for owners of any type of cat, of any age, that wants to get them out-of-doors safely and in a manner they will enjoy. While it may be easier to get a kitten used to a harness and walking on a leash, Moss assures us that “as long as you go about it the right way, older cats can do just as well.”
In addition, Moss provide the following tips for people who want to start taking their kitty out and about:
- Finding a harness and leash training your cat are two important steps before going on any outdoor excursions.
- Start by finding a well-fitting, comfortable harness or walking vest. Introduce your cat to it and let him acclimate to wearing it. It may take several days or even weeks to get your cat comfortable in the harness, but once your kitty is used to putting it on and walking normally, the next step is to add the leash.
- When your cat is comfortable with the feel of the leash, practice following him around your home. If this goes wells, you can head outdoors.
- If you have one, your own backyard — especially if it’s fenced in — can be the best location. Make sure you pick up your harnessed kitty and carry him outside so you don’t encourage door-dashing when the leash isn’t on.
- It’s likely he’s going to be on high alert when you take him outside for the first time so take things slowly. Stay beside him and let him decide when he’s ready to do a little exploring. Keep the leash loose and follow behind your cat, but don’t force him to venture farther than he’s ready.
- Pay attention to what your cat is comfortable doing. Don’t force him outside his comfort zone. Just like at home, your kitty is the one who’s calling the shots.