While dogs are long-time claimants in the role of man’s adventure buddy, the modern cat is starting to stake its claim. The idea of an adventure cat was born on the trail, and the internet has turned it into the dream for every outdoor-loving cat owner.
Searching #adventurecat on Instagram or Twitter will bring up pictures of fearless felines on leashes climbing mountains, hiking trails, kayaking across lakes, and much more. Not every cat is meant to strap on a harness and head out the door, but if your kitty is showing signs of wanting to see the world, here are a few tips to make sure you’re both safe and prepared.
#1 – Visit the Vet
Before you let your indoor cat out the door, you’ll need to talk to your vet about vaccinations and flea and tick prevention. Cats that never leave the house don’t need to worry as much about parasites or deadly diseases like Leptospirosis (a bacterial infection contracted through infected water sources), but adventure cats do. Your cat will also need a microchip to increase your chance of finding her if she gets lost.
#2 – Invest in a Good Harness
Cats are squirmy and can squeeze their bodies into (and out of) places you didn’t think possible. The harness you choose needs to be a perfect fit, and it needs to be comfortable. The popularity of the adventure cat has pushed retailers to start producing more harnesses designed for cats, but you still might have trouble finding one at your average pet store. Look online and choose one that has thick fabric straps. If you decide to try out a harness made for a small dog, be prepared to make your own alterations.
#3 – Take it Slow
A good first step is taking your adventure-cat-in-training to the backyard. If you don’t have a backyard, a quiet corner of the park will work too. Work on getting your cat used to the harness and being on a leash. Leash training can be tricky, but most cats get the hang of it with practice. After your first outing, slowly start exposing your cat to different areas and situations.
#4 – Be Aware of Specific Threats
There is always risk in being an adventure cat. It’s your job to be aware of the possible dangers and stay alert for your cat’s protection. Wild animals will think your cat smells like their next meal, and eagles have been known to swoop down and carry cats away. You’ll also need to be aware of other hikers and their dogs. Dogs should be kept on leash, but that doesn’t always happen. Be ready to intervene if an unleashed dog comes running down the trail.
#5 – Get a Carrier
When your cat decides they’re done walking, you’ll want an easy way to keep moving. A backpack, sling, or even a baby bjorn will come in handy when you’re on a long trail. Besides buying something practical and functional, training your cat to like riding around is the most important part. If you’ve ever tried to hold on to a squirming cat, you know the problem. Start by carrying kitty around the house to get her used to her new mode of transportation.
Like people, some cats simply aren’t interested in hiking miles up a mountain or through the jungle. Don’t force your cat to be an adventure cat when they’d much rather explore the couch to find the comfiest spot for a nap. Taking a cat out before they’re ready or willing will get you both into trouble. But if your cat enjoys being outdoors and does well on a leash, there’s no reason to leave them at home. With the right preparation, you and your feline friend will be ready to see the world together.
Featured Image Source: Facebook/Adventure Cats