Cover photo courtesy of Pet Central.
When you get a new cat, you probably don’t have taking it on a hike at the top of your list. But with the proper gear and planning, this activity can be another adventure that you can have with your cat! Make sure you go into it with the right mindset-- cats won’t be as simple to take on a hike and probably won’t want to walk all the way. You’ll need a backpack so you are able to carry your cat at least some of the way, as well as a good harness and a water bowl to make sure your cat doesn’t get dehydrated. In this article, you’ll be able to find:
To fully enjoy your hike with your cat when you are out in the great outdoors, you need to take preliminary steps to make sure your cat will be not only up for the adventure, but also prepared to hike with you. This can include acclimating your cat to similar conditions as will be the case when you are actually on your hike as well as getting your cat used to wearing the necessary harness that will provide safety and ease of hiking on your hike.
Starting to leash train at home is important to any successful hike in the future. Gradually get your cat used to wearing a leash in your home, and then slowly transition to your yard or somewhere outside of your home. Rather than immediately taking your cat to your favorite hiking trail, these gradual steps will get your cat used to being on a leash.
Another smart way to prepare to take a hike with your cat is to have it trained to come when it is called. While this may seem unusual and more like a training tactic for a dog, it is likely that cats do respond to their name and in situations that are questionable or dangerous, it is best that your cat will listen to your command and avoid dangers on the trail.
In addition to getting your cat used to being on a leash and wearing a harness, which will take time and lots of treats to help them get used to it, it is smart to carry your cat out of your house rather than letting it walk out on its own. This can mean carrying it in your arms with its leash on or in a backpack that you will undoubtedly need on your hike. If you let your cat walk out of the house on its own, it may get used to doing so at times that are less than favorable.
To train your cat, it is best to do so when it is a kitten because it will more easily learn and be able to synthesize the information and process and use the training. But if you have a grown cat and want to teach it to walk on a leash or wear a harness, it is possible to do so. It may take more patience, but do just that. Have the patience and your patience will be rewarded!
Also make sure you get your cat experienced with taking a ride in the car. You will surely need to drive to your destination, unless you live near a trail, and this will mean that your cat will need to be prepared to take a car ride.
As discussed above, to train your cat to walk on a leash and wear a harness, you will need to make sure you have these items! You will also want to make sure to have a backpack for those moments that your cat gets tired or is just not in the mood to continue on a treacherous trail.
You want to make sure you get a harness that properly fits your cat and does not slip and slide around. There aren’t many companies that make harnesses specifically for cats, so a harness for a small dog such as a chihuahua will do the trick. Chest coverage is important so your cat doesn't have too much pressure around its neck.
In terms of leashes, a six-foot leash is best to start out with, so your cat can’t stray too far away. Once it is used to walking near you, you can connect two six-foot leashes so then your cat can wander a little distance from you while still maintaining a safe range. It is also smart to carry an extra leash in case one breaks. Then you won’t have to cut your hike short or be stuck carrying your cat in a pack.
A pack is an important item to have when taking a cat on a hike. Cats don’t have the same stamina as a dog, so you will have to carry your cat some of the way on your hike most likely, if it is a hike of any decent distance. It is best to get a pack that your cat can comfortably lay down in, as well as poke its head out of and look around from.
If you have ever gone on a hike with a dog, your dog most likely keeps up the pace or even leads you along the trail. Taking a hike with a cat is a different experience that will be rewarding if you go into knowing what to expect. Your cat will likely want to explore its surroundings and check out the trail and the flowers and plants in the area. The slow pace may take getting used to, but you are sure to enjoy your cat and its company as you explore the trail.
Make sure you pick a trail that isn’t too busy, and be prepared for the unexpected. Even if it is a trail that says dogs must be on leashes, it is common that there will be some dogs that aren’t on leashes and other wildlife that you may come across. Keep your cat close on its leash and be ready to pick up your cat whenever necessary.
Once you have decided to take your cat on a hike, you are in for an experience and a treat! It is fun to explore with your cat, watching it enjoy the outdoors as much as you do. With the right preparation and gear, a hike a short step away!
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