Hiking with cats have become more popular during the last few years. There is a reason why cat owners opt to hike instead of all other adventures since it provides the perfect serene escape for both human and feline.
Hiking with cats is a fantastic way to bond, replenish their predatory instincts and is good to train the cat. It allows time for you to engage with nature, escaping the city life while staying active. It’s a way that you as a fur parent get to interact with your feline in their natural territory.
Hiking with cats is one of the best ways to spend time with your cat and probably the most relaxing way. It does require effort but since you being active your body as well as the cat’s body releases a feel-good hormone that gives you a desirable feeling which makes it worthwhile.
One of the reasons I enjoy hiking is because it provides the perfect atmosphere for me to clear my mind and its a good time to bond with my pet.
Can I Take My Cat Hiking ?
Hiking is completely safe for cats as it provides a relief from routines and freedom that cats crave, just how nature intended. However cats dont really do well with things that are out of routine, but with a little practice and some preparation I’m sure little kitty will enjoy the experience.
While some cats may enjoy hiking other cat breeds may not, therefore you must know your cat and understand their personality and limits before deciding to take them on this mission.
When deciding to go on an hike with your feline there are alot of things to consider. Example
- Does my cat enjoy the outdoors?
- Is my cat leash trained ?
- Is my feline in good health for hiking?
- What accessories are needed?
- Hiking trails that are cat friendly ?
The list goes on, but I’ve got you covered as this guide was written specifically to help you smash your hiking adventure with your little feline.
Why Cats Make Perfect Hiking Buddies?
Cats are the type of pets that are friendly, engaging and also very sociable at times. They love the outdoors and thrive on adventure. Cats feed through the freedom and curiousness that hiking offers, especially when they return to their natural habitat.
Many cat owners complain that their kitty wanders away from home and only return after hours of searching. This shouldn’t be a surprise as cats are apart of the wildlife, although they can be domesticated you cannot deny the fact that these felines are animals and they want to be free and inquisitive, something that nature offers.
Hiking, however, is more about discovering and staying active while still engaging with nature. This is the reason why cats will totally smash hiking like a champ making them the perfect hiking buddies. There is a reason as to why cats have a great sense of smell and that’s for hunting and exploring, exactly what is needed when hiking.
Hiking is what your cat needs rather than being trapped and isolated indoors, while cats may be more protected indoors its possible to create the same atmosphere while exploring trails and venturing the outdoors.
How to Train Cats for Hiking ?
Hiking requires your cat to be leashed trained and comfortable while doing so. If your cat is already leashed trained, perfect! But for those who intend on teaching their cat to walk on a leash here are a few tips that I’ve used which totally helped.
- Start the process early so that it gives your cat some time to adjust to walking while being restricted.
- Get a good retractable leash and a comfortable harness. Finding a good harness can be daunting as it requires trial and error. Before you buy a harness always fit it on for the cat and make the cat walk around to get an idea of your cats reaction.
- For the first few days put the leash on and leave the cat to get used to it. Your cat might bite and try to remove it but after some days they will adjust and show less resistance.
- Once you find your cat has become comfortable with the harness, give a day or so for your cat to recuperate as the harness slowly will remain in the cats daily routine.
- Let your cat sniff the leash and allow it to be curious. This takes time and patience but totally possible.
- Attach the leash and slowly guide the cat around. Kitty will be very resisting and may tend to be aggressive or agitated. At this stage dont use any calming sprays or natural sedatives as you want the cat to get used to the this new addition to its daily lifestyle.
- While the leash is attached to the harness navigate and guide your feline. You can do so at home in the garden or at a park. Any place where your cat is comfortable
- With enough practice your cat will be totally used to the leash and harness. As repetition is what allows the cat to become familiar to a new object or surrounding.
Benefits of Hiking with Cats.
While hiking may be seen as just walking in the bushes I can assure you it’s much more than that. Hiking was meant to be enjoyed in the fullness of nature, whether in the forest or in the mountains. Benefits:
- Great change of environment for your cat, hiking is an awesome way for you and your cat to escape the daily routine. It allows the cat to loosen up and become one with nature. Cats love the outdoors this could be a treat for them to enjoy.
- Great way to bond with kitty, we know that everyone lives a busy life. The average American spends most of their time away from home, working two or three jobs. By the time you come home your too tired to even play with your kitty.
Hiking provides that intimate time that you and kitty can share. It’s a perfect way to bond and reassure your cat of your love. Cats get very attached and once you draw further they fall into a state of depression and isolation. They don’t really understand that you have to go to work. It’s up to you to fill that gap by making sure you have your cats trust.
- Replenish lungs, living in the city is all modern and cool, while the air we breathe is highly polluted. This can cause respiratory problems in humans and felines. Studies show that a quick hike in the woods or along pine trees can greatly help replenish your lungs if done repeatedly.
- Relieve stress, the calm serene environment can relieve tension. It serves as a mental detox which is great for you and your cat. Nature has its own medicine which is able to heal and restore. A healthy mind results in a healthy body.
- Help to train kitty, since hiking involves a lot of partnership, teamwork and companionship this adventure will help the cat trust you more. You can, therefore, train the cat in a more domesticated way. You can also litter train your kitty while in the woods.
- Engage with your cat in its habitat, your cat is always engaging with you in your natural habitat. Why not engage with them in their natural habitat?. Cats are wildlife animals and the outdoors is their natural home. Its where you see them at their best, jumping, climbing and discovering. This is the place your cat will feel free and open to doing any sort of thing.
- Staying active, it’s very important to exercise with your cat. When cats aren’t active they become lazy and denatured. They tend to lose their curiosity which may result in a grumpy cat. When cats exercise a feel-good hormone is released. This hormone is essential to keep the cat playful and active.
Hiking Gear and Accessories for your Cat.
Whether your trail is up on the mountains or within the forest you will need gear. Depending on your location you would want to prepare accordingly. You will need:
- Hiking boots ( kitty & you )
- Disposable bags and wipes
- Cat pouch
- Collar and retractable leash
- A recent picture of your cat
- Food and water
- First aid kit
- Safety weapon
Cat hiking boots and clothing
It may seem weird but there are cat clothing and shoes for outdoor activities. When hiking its very important for cats to have protective wear and shoes depending on the weather and the type of trail.
Cat boots are also becoming more popular as it provides safety when heading out. If you intend on hiking in the snow with your kitty. You probably want to get those boots for yourself and kitty.
Cats also are subject to the cold, especially hairless cats like the Sphynx.
There is a lot of clothing that you can buy that is specifically designed for cats.
Before the hike take your cat to your nearest vet. Make sure the cat is in good health and is able to handle this trip. A full medical examination will be ideal to ensure kitty is ready for the outdoors. Arrange for the necessary vaccines and medications.
You also want to discuss preventative measures for pests like ticks and fleas, which are common when hiking. If your cat doesn’t have fur, invest in a good sunscreen.
Choosing a Trail to Hike on.
When choosing a trail to hike its important that you chose one that fits your active life as well as your cats activity level. If it’s your first time choose something easy that doesn’t involve hills and mountains neither does it involve crossing dangerous rivers and stuff?
While hiking sites are normally quite busy since its always the go-to adventure that schools take their kids too. It’s possible to find a hiking trail that’s more quiet and peaceable.
It’s better to choose a more quiet hiking trail because it will allow the cat to be free and engage with nature more openly. Quiet trails are also better if you want to get away from the city life and interaction.
There are just some things that are locked in nature that is very therapeutic, which can heal and restore the way nature intended.
Best places to hike in the US
|1.||Yosemite Falls Trails, California.|
|2.||Mount Shasta Trail, California.|
|3.||Sea Lion Trail, California.|
|4.||Glacier National Park, North America.|
|5.||Grand Canyon , North America.|
|7.||Pacific Crest Trail, Canada.|
|8.||The Appalachian Trail.|
|9.||Continental Divide Trail.|
|10.||Redwood National Park.|
Before the hike
The day before your hike, rest well and get all your things in order.Get all the directions to the hiking site, arrive early and be prepared. Make sure the map of the trail is up to date and easy to read.
You want to make sure you have all the necessary information like the rules and regulations that must be followed when hiking.Some hiking sites are very strict when it comes to animal faeces, therefore you want to carry disposable bags.
Once you’ve planned and got everything ready you want to do a quick stretch to get your blood flowing, you can also throw in a quick one minute run to help kitty loosen up. Wear comfortable active clothing that is lightweight and stretchy. Make sure kitty is ready and comfortable.
It’s not ideal to use new clothes especially boots since it may not provide the level of comfort you require.When buying kitty hiking boots be sure to do it in advance so that you give enough time for the boots to mould to the shape of your cat’s paws.
During the hike
1. If it’s your first time hiking its probably best for you to choose an easy trail. Depending on your fitness level and the cat’s activity level you want to choose accordingly to what you can handle.
2.You also want to do a little research on the trail before you start so that you can get an idea of what to expect. Remember to choose a pet-friendly trail since in some areas pets are not allowed.
3.During the hike always make sure your cat is wearing the leash. A good option is the 10 feet retractable leash since it gives the cat enough freedom to roam while still being under your supervision.
4.Hydrate properly depending on the weather, you want to make sure you and the cat are well hydrated. Take breaks regularly and don’t force kitty. Take your time and enjoy the journey.
5.Look out for any threats that may show up. Normally in some trails predators may be present which could be harmful, you must be observant.
6.While on the hike you may come across many choking hazards. Always be aware and monitor your surroundings.
7.Certain times your cat will be tired and it will be difficult to carry on. You want to get a pouch or a backpack and head back. Cats can walk for about 5 to 9 miles, be sure to not put any additional strain on your cat.
8.Keep a safety weapon like a pepper spray or a kubotan in case of an emergency
After the hike
Now that you and kitty completed that adventure like champs, its time to head back home. Give yourself a few minutes to rest those muscles before driving back.
It’s also a good idea to arrange for someone to fetch you since your legs may be tired and sluggish.When you get home, give your cat a proper bath using disinfectants and pet shampoo.
This is super important to prevent any pests that may have attached itself to the cat.You also need to take a bath have a protein-enriched meal and rest.
Safety tips while hiking
- Make sure you have a map and learn how to read it, also carry a compass or GPS.
- Stay insight, don’t deviate from the trail.
- Take extra precaution when around cliffs, mountains and water.
- Beware of dangers like insects, pests, poisonous plants and animals.
- Alert a friend or loved on your whereabouts, in case of emergencies.
- Carry repellent for ticks, fleas and mosquitoes, as well as cat-safe sunscreen.
- Bring lots of snacks, since you and kitty will be burning more energy you’ll be feeling more hungry.
- Hydrate more frequently
- Be safe and enjoy the adventure.
1. How far can cats walk? The average cat can walk around 5-9 miles per day however this number varies since some cats may be more active while others are lazier.
2. Is hiking safe for cats? Hiking is generally safe for cats however there are other wildlife and threats that could be lurking within the trails. It’s important that you remain observant and focused.