Visit your neighborhood park and you’ll spot dozens of dogs happily trotting beside their humans. But exploring the great outdoors with a cat is increasingly popular. With a little preparation, you and your adventure cat can walk, hike, or even backpack together. Sound like fun? Let’s find out how to hike with a cat so you can hit the trail with your favorite feline companion.
Table of contents
- Is your cat an Adventure Cat?
- Is hiking good for your cat?
- 1) Choose the right adventure cat hiking gear
- Cat harness and leash
- Cat backpack
- GPS cat tracker
- 2) Make sure your cat’s vaccinations are up to date
- 3) Start your hiking adventure at home
- 4) Choose a peaceful trail
- 5) Travel safely in the car with your cat
- 6) Take your cat for a hike!
- 7) Put your cat’s well-being first when hiking
- 8) Track all your adventures together
- 9) Relax and enjoy hiking with your cat
Is your cat an Adventure Cat?
Some cats are confident, curious, and revel in novel experiences. Others prefer to stay in their comfort zone and shy away from anything new. You know your cat best, so consider your cat’s personality before embarking on a hiking adventure.
If you’re wondering which type of cat is the best cat for hiking, there is no right answer. With proper training, basic adventure cat gear, gradual introduction to new experiences, and careful attention to your cat’s behavior, almost any cat can be an adventure cat.
Is hiking good for your cat?
Experiencing the sights, sounds, and smells of the great outdoors is mentally stimulating for cats. Cats have exceptionally acute senses, so taking cats to an outdoor environment provides healthy enrichment1.
The exercise gained though walking and hiking helps keep your cat in top physical shape and prevents feline obesity.
Indoor cats can learn to enjoy hikes, but they may need extra time or training to adjust to the stimulation of being outdoors. Just be patient as your cat learns this new activity and you’ll both benefit.
Kittens may adapt more easily to new experiences like leash training, harness training, and adventure hiking, but even older felines can enjoy exploring the outdoors.
1) Choose the right adventure cat hiking gear
Though your cat might prefer to roam freely outside, a leash and harness are important tools for safe cat hiking adventures. A leash and harness will keep your cat close while allowing your cat to set the pace for your hike. Cat backpacks are another fun, safe, and easy way to get your kitty outdoors.
Cat harness and leash
Cats are experts at wriggling out of collars, so a harness with wide padded straps is a better option. The harness will provide a secure attachment for a leash. Many cats dislike harnesses and leashes at first, but you can overcome this by harness training and leash training your cat.
Start by having your cat wear the harness during a normal day at home. After a few days, attach the leash and practice walking together indoors. Give your cat lots of praise and belly rubs when the harness is on. That will make wearing the harness a positive experience that your cat will look forward to.
If your cat doesn’t get the hang of leash training, or if you prefer trekking for more miles than your cat cares to walk, you can still enjoy cat hiking adventures together. A cat backpack allows your cat to be cozily nestled against your back while enjoying the view from a safe space. A cat backpack is also a great way for those little paws to get some rest on a long hike.
Some cat parents prefer a front-facing pack so they can interact with their cat while hiking. In either case, choose a pack that’s large enough for your feline friend to lie down. Because, who doesn’t enjoy a quick catnap during a hike?
Always keep your cat harnessed and leashed while in the cat backpack, and keep the leash clipped to the backpack or held securely in your hand. You want to avoid having your cat leap from the backpack if you encounter a dog or wildlife on the trail.