Hiking with cats might sound like a strange phenomenon, but it’s one that has grown in popularity in recent years. And while you invest in one of the best cat harnesses is a must, there are a few other things to keep in mind to ensure your kitty stays safe while exploring the great outdoors.
While we often think of hiking as something we would do with a canine companion, don’t be too quick to rule out some of our more fearless feline friends. In fact, not only do some cats love hiking, there are several Cat breeds that like water too – which is good news if you want to combine a good walk with a dip in a lake or ocean.
If you have an inquisitive, confident, adventurous cat and enjoy the great outdoors yourself, you’ll find that with a little preparation, you can soon be hitting the trails together. Below we walk you through everything you need to know about walking cats to ensure your kitty stays safe and has fun.
1. Respect your cat
Before you head out with your little furball, it’s really important to think about their personality. If you have a cat that’s shy and reserved and loves nothing more than being curled up in your lap, trying to get her to accompany you on a hike might be too much to ask.
Many cats find being away from home very stressful, but there are some breeds like the Bengal, Abyssinian and American Bobtail that love adventure and would probably be very upset if you tried to leave them behind! Orientate yourself with your cat, and if you think nature would be more of a burden than comfortable for her, don’t force her to join you.
2. Invest in a good harness and leash
While it will likely never be their favorite piece of clothing in the world, you’ll find that most outgoing cat breeds are happy to wear a harness and leash if it means they can come and explore the great outdoors with you.
We recommend that you start harness and leash training a few weeks before your first adventure together as this gives your cat a chance to get used to the feel. There are a few Types of cat harnessso you might want to try a pair and see which one is most comfortable for your kitty.
3. Consider a cat backpack
A harness and leash are essential if you want to give your kitty a little freedom to explore when you’re out on your hike, but have one for those times when they’re too tired to keep walking best cat backpacks with you can be a real life saver.
There are different types of cat backpacks, so it pays to shop around to see which one you think you and your kitty will prefer. Some have windows in the front that your cat can look out through, while others have open tops that allow your cat to stick its head out and get a closer look at its surroundings. Others are front-facing, meaning you can interact with your cat while walking.
Some pet parents have asked, “Are cat backpacks cruel?‘ but the good news is they are no different than a cat carrier. In fact, a backpack is a great way to give your cat’s paws a rest while ensuring they stay safe and secure. Just make sure they stay in their harness and the leash is attached to the backpack to make sure they don’t try to escape!
4. Practice at home
Even if you have a cat that can’t get enough of being outside, it’s still a good idea to practice with her in your own yard first before trying to take her further away. Start by putting them in their harness and walking them around your yard, observing their behavior to see how they react.
If this exercise goes well, the next step would be to take her to a local park to get her used to being around other people and animals. You could start by having them in a backpack to make them feel safe and secure, and then slam them on the ground with their harness and leash for a short time.
Again, watch them closely for signs of stress, such as dilated pupils or tail flicking. If they seem curious, confident, and content, then those are all good signs that you’re both ready to hit the trails.
5. Train your cat to drive
When it comes to traveling with a cat, Preparation is the key to success. Even the most sociable and outgoing kittens don’t particularly like being in cars, so we recommend giving them some time to acclimate them to the feeling of a moving vehicle.
While you can stash them in the car with just their harness and leash, we recommend buying one of these for safety reasons best cat carrier as this will ensure your cat stays safe in the event of an accident.
Just like with harness training, start slow when it comes to teaching your cat to drive. Get them used to the car itself by leaving the doors open and allowing them to explore the interior at their own pace.
Once they are comfortable in the car with the doors open, get in with your cat and close the doors. Spend some time playing together in the car for short periods over several days. You can then proceed to slip them into their carrier and place the carrier in the car.
If all goes well, you’re ready for the final step – getting your cat used to being in a moving car. You can start by simply backing your car to the end of the driveway and then backing up. After you’ve done this a few times, take a few short rides around the block.
As with any type of training, you’ll find plenty of positive reinforcement in the form of praise, affection, and the like best cat treats will help your kitty associate the car with good things. Once your cat sees the car as a fun and entertaining place, you’re all set for your first ride together.
6. Choose a quiet path
When it comes to your first hike, it’s best to choose a quiet trail so as not to overwhelm your cat. It’s also a good idea to look for one with a narrow track, as these are easier for cats to find and follow, and if you can opt for one that makes it mandatory for dogs to be on a leash, it will this also help your cat to feel more secure.
7. Buy a GPS tracker
Invest in one of the The best pet trackers may feel like an extra expense, but if you do a lot of hiking with your cat, they really are wonderful at giving you that extra reassurance.
Most pet trackers are lightweight, easy to carry, easy to customize, and provide up-to-the-minute data on your cat’s location. If you become separated from your cat for any reason, a pet tracker is a quick and easy way to locate them.
8. Make sure your cat’s vaccinations are up to date
Before you go hiking with your cat, it’s worth stopping by your veterinarian and having your kitty checked to make sure they are in good health. You should also ensure that you have received all required vaccinations before hitting the trails and that you are using one of them best flea remedies for cats to protect them from pesky parasites, including ticks and mosquitoes.
9. Be sure to pack enough supplies
First things first: make sure you have enough food and water on hand to give your kitty the energy they need for their hike and to avoid dehydration along the way. If you’ll be gone all day that best dry food for cats It’s a lot easier and less messy to carry around than wet cat food, and you may also find that a collapsible water bowl is easier to carry than a regular one.
We also recommend taking a decent pet first aid kit with you in case you injure yourself along the way. If you’re not sure what to include, speak to your veterinarian who can advise. It’s also worth having your vet’s phone number with you in case of an emergency.
10. Expect the unexpected
While your time exploring the great outdoors with your beloved Moggy will hopefully go smoothly, it’s always a good idea to be prepared for anything that may happen. Snakes, mountain lions, coyotes, and hawks are all predators that pose a risk to your kitty, so it’s important to be aware of this if you’re hiking in an area where they are common.
It’s also worth noting that not everyone follows the rules when it comes to hiking, and this is especially true for leashed dogs. Many owners let their dogs roam free or run when they’re in a fairly quiet area, so it’s possible that at some point your cat will run into another ball of fur who might decide to come up and say hello.
Always follow your cat’s cues and watch their behavior closely. If they suddenly become stressed, agitated, or panicked, it could be that they’ve already sensed a potential threat that you can’t see yet. At times like these, it’s best to pick your cat up and put her in her backpack until you can figure out what caused her behavior to change.