You’ve finally decided to bring your loving kitty to your favorite pastime – hiking. But because you’re a responsible pet owner, you first want to find out all the perils and find as many tips as you can, and that’s where we come in.
For the hiking experience to be truly enjoyable for both parties, you’ll need a cat owner that knows the trail and a cat that has the personality of an explorer. You can travel light as you’ll only need a cat harness with a leash; water and food, and an optional cat backpack. A narrow trail that you know well and that has dogs on a leash at a time of day with fewer visitors is the winning combo.
Let’s dive a bit deeper into these requirements now.
Is Your Cat an Outdoorsy Type?
Before you bring your cat for a hike, you should be certain that it’s a personality type that enjoys the outdoors and will feel comfortable in strange new territory away from home.
After all, all cats are different, and while many cats are extroverts, others can be introverts and couldn’t care less about new people or even going outside of the apartment for more than a couple of minutes.
Cats can of course be trained to go on a leash and wander outside with you but whether they’re going to enjoy the adventure is a different story. You really shouldn’t force your cat to go hiking with you if you feel that it wouldn’t enjoy the activity.
What Equipment You’ll Need for Hiking With Your Cat?
All right, so we have a cat that is a great candidate for hiking, let’s see what equipment we’ll need. First of all, you’ll need a harness (like this one). I wouldn’t recommend going for a hike without a harness as there are many dangers lurking that could easily spook your cat to the point of running away or climbing too high to come down.
The first ones that come to mind are dogs, kids, and loud noises. It is much easier to control your cat when it’s on a leash.
You’ll obviously need water, food, and/or treats. You never know how long a hike could last, because of some uncontrollable circumstance. Some folks recommend bringing a backpack (yes these, exist right here) to carry your cat in, but I wouldn’t recommend going for hikes that are so long that your pet can’t walk anymore.
At least not in the beginning.
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What Trails to Choose When Hiking With a Cat?
When you’re first starting out hiking with your cat, I’d recommend that you stick to trails that you know really well and you know what you can, more or less, expect.
Opt to go when there are fewer hikers on the trail until your cat (and you) gets the confidence.
Hopefully, there are going to be fewer dogs there even though it has to get used to them sooner or later.
Choose trails that make owners keep their dogs on a leash to keep the interaction to the minimum. Narrower and well-defined trails are also, better than wider areas with open space.
While hiking with a cat is generally not top of mind for people, it is something can do! It can be a lot of fun, and definitely will make stories to tell your friends about.
If you stick to these recommendations, you and your cat are in for a treat and a fun day outdoors! Having the wrong gear for your cat is like hiking with jeans, it can be done, but just isn’t as fun!