Does the title seem strange to you? Is it really possible to hike with your cat? Well, you’ll be glad to know that it is not only possible, hiking with a cat has become a common event nowadays.
It is a common idea among cat owners that cats love to sit on the couch and sleep all day long. It may be for some cats, but there are also cats who love to explore the unknown territory. If your cat is one of that kind, she’ll definitely love hiking with you.
Hiking with a cat isn’t only refreshing for your cat, it has many other benefits too. Walking with your cat can be an awesome exercise for your cat. I have also heard stories that hiking eases body pain in the cat. Some cats suffer from a critical condition known as Manx syndrome. It affects the muscle and spinal cord of the cat. Research showed that regular hiking will keep this disease away from cats.
Now that you know hiking is a pretty much common event for cats, you are probably thinking about hiking with your cat, right? Well before you do so, make sure your cat is in good health and used to with hiking safety guidelines.
Tips to make hiking with your cat more successful:
Though hiking is very beneficial for cats, your cat might show reluctance at first. You’ll have to train your cat to hike with you. Here are some tips to make hiking with your cat more successful:
1. Start as early as possible:
It is better to start hiking with your cat as early as possible. The earlier she gets accustomed to hiking rules, the more she will enjoy it. Moreover, cats tend to learn many times faster when they are at a young stage. That’s why it is important that, if you want to hike with your cat, start the training process as early as possible.
2. Always keep her safe:
This step is very critical for the safety of your cat. Always keep in mind that when you are traveling, you are in a wild place where predators are lurking everywhere. So, if you are not attentive toward your cats, chances are that she might get attacked by the predators. Never let your cat get out of your eye-sight when you are hiking.
3. It is better to be realistic:
Don’t keep your expectations in the sky when you are hiking with your cat. Cats generally don’t like to walk a lot. So, if you want to go from one place to another, you might need to carry your cat for the major of the time. Keep most of the hiking around your camping place. it is a good idea if you can carry a cat carrier with you when hiking with your furry friend.
Training cat to hike with you isn’t a very straightforward job. You need to apply techniques and be patient. It takes time. Just keep on making your cat used to with hiking and soon she shall start to enjoy it.
Things to consider before you start hiking:
Is your cat trained for hiking?
This is the first thing you should check if your cat is used to with the rules and techniques of hiking. Trained for hiking means your cat is used to with harness and leash. If your cat isn’t trained, you need to start training her at first.
When it comes to training cats, the best approach is to advance gradually. First practice your cat to wear harness and leash. Once she is comfortable with a harness and leash, take her out and walk on with her. This will get your cat ready for a big hiking trail. If your cat is not trained, don’t take her for a professional hike. Take your cat outside each day and walk her on a leash for some time. Increase the amount of time each day. After a couple of months, your cat shall be fully trained for a professional hiking trailer. You can start the training in your backyard and gradually advance it to outdoor.
Another important thing to teach your cat about hiking is coming to you when she is called. Accidents may happen anytime. You’ll always have to be prepared for a sudden accident. And if unfortunately, an accident occurs, you need to ensure that your cat will come to you when she hears your voice.
Take the right gear with you:
Right gear doesn’t only include boots and leash and harness for your cat. There are many more safety gears that you should have when hiking with your cat. These gears will come in great help to you if any problem occurs. Here are the gears:
- Make sure you have plenty of drinking water for you and your cat. If the weather is warm, you’ll never guess how quickly you can get dehydrated. Before no time, you may find out your water supply is nearly at the end if you don’t find enough drinking water. In some situations, lack of drinking water may become very fatal for you and your cat. Along with bringing plenty of water for you and your cat, also get a collapsible water bowl for your cat.
- Hiking requires a lot of calories. So, when you are hiking with your cat, you may easily get tired and out of energy. In such cases, nutrition such as power bars come in handy a lot. Bring lots of snacks, dried fruits and bars for you and your cat when preparing for a hiking. Bring more food for your cat than she’ll normally eat on a regular day.
- Always take a map and compass with you when going to travel. You may never know when these come in handy. They are great for pinpointing the position of yourself on the map and determining which direction to go. If you are not used to with reading maps and compass, spend an evening learning it. Knowledge is power when you are alone in the woods with your cat.
Safety items you should take for hiking:
- It is always a smart idea to bring along a first-aid kit with your whenever you are hiking. Even if it is a short hike, you can never know when an accident might happen. Always prepare yourself for the worst possible case. A first-aid kit can primarily treat you and your cat if any accident happens.
- Always think of sun protection when you are hiking. Sun protection includes protection against UVA and UVB rays of the sun. you should get a sunscreen cream that can protect you from the maximum of the UV rays. If your cat has light fur, she may need something for protection against sun too!
- Always bring a source of fire with you when going on a hike even if you don’t have any plan for camping. Bringing match in a water-proof case can be a pretty good idea.
- It might get late when returning to home from hike. In such cases, you need a source of light the most. That’s why you should always carry a source of light (i.e. flashlight, lantern etc.) with you when hiking. I recommend getting a good headlamp as it keeps your both hands free which is crucial for safe hiking.
Items You Must Have
- A pocket knife or multi-tool set can come in handy in such ways you can’t even imagine. You may need it for cutting bandages to taping water bottle and so on.
- Even if you don’t have any plan for camping, always take a portable tent with you for emergency cases.
- Whenever you are heading out with your cat, she must have a collar ID with a tag on her. This is a must for hiking too. It will help you to find her in case you can’t find her.
- A good harness and leash is the first safety gear for your cat when hiking. Never leave for hiking with your cat without a good set of harness and leash.
- It is always recommended to carry a recent photo of your cat on your mobile. In case she gets lost, you can show the picture to the locals to find her.
- If you can, carry a portable litter box with you for your cat.
Did you vaccinate your cat?
When you are hiking with your cat, she might get exposed to all kinds of unvaccinated animals, ticks, fleas, mosquitos and other parasites. That’s why it is important to vaccinate your cat before hiking.
Does your cat have any identification tag with her?
Never leave for hiking with your cat if she doesn’t have any identification tag. Either get your cat microchipped or get a decent collar with ID tag for her. This will be crucial in case your cat gets lost.
What is the condition of the trail?
You should choose the trail depending on the age and health condition of your cat. If your cat is older and has health issues, then it might not be a good idea to choose a track which includes long distance or rough terrain.
If you have a kitten, then don’t expect to hike for 1 hour long as kitten are not used to walk for that long. They’ll get tired and drained out of energy. If your cat is used to walk for one hour long, don’t choose a trail that needs 2 hours to cover.
Is the weather good for hiking?
Hiking in rain is never enjoying. It is also very stressful for your cat. So, it is not a good idea to go on a hike with your cat if the weather seems moody or there is a possibility of rain in the forecast. It won’t be fun if rainwater soaks you and your cat while hiking, will it?
Things to look out for on the trail:
Always keep your cat on a leash and harness:
I can’t stress the importance of a good leash and harness enough. It is a must item that you need to have for hiking with your cat. Never ever leave for hiking without a leash and harness, or you’ll face the loss. I have heard countless stories of cats getting lost on hiking just because the owner was too ignorant to get a decent leash and harness.
There is so much treat on a wild terrain for your cat that you can’t even imagine. She may drink water from a pathogen-filled water source, gets bitten by dangerous mosquitoes or attacked by parasites. There is also the possibility of lurking wild animals. You need to keep your cat safe from all these threats during a hike. The best way to do is using a harness and leash.
You might need to carry your cat:
Even if your cat is used to hiking for hours, always keep prepared that you might need to carry her on the hike. Suppose you are hiking and you saw a portion of the trail which is dangerous for your cat. In such cases, it is better to carry her with you than walking her. It is the safest option.
Also, if the weather is too hot or the trail is rough, carry your cat for some time. It is not a good idea drain all of her energy. A cat carrier backpack may help you a lot in this case.
Always bring plenty of drinking water for both of you:
Dehydration is the number one enemy when you are hiking. Never ever forget to bring plenty of drinking water for you and your cat. Familiar yourself with the sings of dehydration in cat and if you see any in your cat, return home immediately. Never let your cat drink from an unknown source of water as it might carry thousands of unknown parasites.
Take little breaks:
If the trail is particularly very long, it is always better to take little breaks whenever you can. It will help you and your cat to replenish the energy. It is also a good idea to fuel yourself and your cat with snacks at this time. Don’t forget to bring some of your cat’s favorite treats with you.
Never get out of the trail:
Too much of anything isn’t good. If you break out of the trail for ‘too much adventure,’ then various unknown dangers may hammer you down. It’s never a good idea to wander out of the trail, especially when you have a cat with you.
Leave no trace behind:
Experts always recommend leaving no trace behind when you are hiking. So, whenever you are ready to head from one place to another, take all your trash including kitty waste with you. It is better to keep a light portable litter box for this purpose.
Cat Carrier for hiking:
Benefits of using cat carrier for hiking:
- A carrier makes the hiking very easy for you and your cat. Moreover, you don’t have to worry about the safety of your cat if she is in a carrier. if you have an older cat that gets tired easily or has joint pain, then carrying her in a carrier backpack is always preferable. You should also use a carrier backpack for your cat when you are crossing an unfamiliar or risky trail.
- A carrier lets you enjoy the hike without any kind of restrictions.
- It creates a closer bond between you and your cat.
- Carrier backpacks are more secure than a leash and harness. You can have total control over your cat’s movements in a carrier backpack, so she is far much safer in this. Moreover, your cat can easily break or snap the leash. So they are not as reliable as a good carrier backpack.
What to look for when buying a cat carrier backpack:
- Look for a carrier backpack that has a simple design yet high-quality construction. It should have adjustable padded shoulder straps for easy carry. there should be a removable pad inside to make the carrier comfortable for your cat. The material should durable too.
- Ventilation is another important aspect when choosing a cat carrier backpack. The more ventilation a carrier has, the more comfortable your cat will be inside the carrier. it also lets your cat enjoy the outside view with you.
- Check if the carrier has good security. It should have locker zipper system for ensuring your cat can’t escape out in any way. Many carrier backpacks have an internal leash which you can attach to the collar of your cat. These measures will prevent any kind of unsupervised escape of your cat.
My favorite cat carrier backpack for hiking:
My all-time favorite cat carrier backpack for hiking is CozyCabin’s travel carrier backpack. The carrier has a simplistic design yet very convenient to carry when you are hiking. With this carrier backpack, you’ll get:
- High-quality leather and canvas make this carrier very durable and last for a long time. It is also comfortable for your cat.
- It has a large component inside the carrier backpack for storing important items such as your cat’s food, treats, medicines, leashes, and other things.
- There is an inside hook with the backpack to attach it to the collar of your cat. it will eliminate the chance of any escape of your cat.
- High resilience material of the carrier provides it all types of protection against the toxic environment.
- The carrier comes in three sizes: M, L, and XL. So, you can choose anyone according to your cat size.
- 5 available colors to choose from Blue, Rose, Green, Black, and orange.
- The carrier weighs about 14.4 ounces.
One thing that I find a limitation of this carrier backpack is, it can’t hold very large cats. Other than that, I think it is a great cat carrier backpack for hiking.
So, this is my complete guide on how to hike with your cat. I hope the next hike with your cat will be successful and enjoyable for both you and your cat. let me know if you have any questions in the comment box below!
Happy hiking with your cat!