Going outdoors for a hike or an overnight camping trip it's best to be ready for the expected and the unexpected. When you go on adventures with your cat, you need to be twice as ready.
Making sure you plan for both you and your cat is key to keeping your adventure fun and safe. There's nothing more frustrating and scary than realizing that your cat's needs are not being met and having little to no resources to fix it.
Also, this list is the list I use for myself and my cat Mia, but you know your cat and your adventure better than anybody so modify this list to fit both your cat and your adventure needs.
Leash Walking Your Cat
Don't take your cat on adventures without a leash, it's dangerous for both of you. If your cat is not used to a leash, start by getting them comfortable with it at home in a safe and controlled environment.
The rule of thumb is that if you believe that there might be dogs or predators where you are hiking, your cat must be on a leash. That means not letting your cat off the leash in areas where there are people, cars, other animals, or anything that could hunt down or scare your cat.
Your cat needs to have a properly fitting harness. A lot of adventure activities will require that your cat have a harness.
There are many different types of cat harnesses out there. If you don't know which one to choose, take a look at this video to learn which one is our favorite:
If your cat is not comfortable in a harness, do not force them. You can teach your cat to walk on a leash by following these steps.
After lots of research, I decided there was no harness that would meet everything a cat needs, so we started a journey to design the best cat harness. I believe we achieved it. Find all about it in this video:
You also will need a leash. I like using a leash made out of climbing rope. It's more durable and more tangle free.
A minimum length for a leash is about 6 feet but I prefer using a longer one so that the cat can have more freedom to explore. The one that I use is 14 feet.
I never go on a night adventure without a led light. They are small, lightweight and you can find them for under $10.
As soon as it starts getting late, way before dusk, attach the led light onto your cats harness. This will help you see your cat and also make your cat more visible to others.
Collar ID Tag
Your cat needs to have a collar with ID tags on it at all times when they are outdoors. If your cat got lost, a microchip won't do it as the first thing somebody will do is look for a collar and tag. Make sure to include your phone number and name.
Keeping Your Adventure Cat Safe
If you're going to be hiking for more than a few hours, you're going to need to bring along a backpack for your cat. They will need a place to rest and unwind in case they get agitated.
Also, in case you encounter a hawk or some predators on the hike, you might want to put your cat inside so that they have a harder time seeing them and targetting them as prey.
Cat backpacks can be very bulky so I prefer using a small soft sided carrier. They are lightweight and easy to carry inside my hiking backpack.
Cat carriers can be very soft and foldable. When going on a hike, you won't need a fancy carrier, something lightweight and breathable will do.
The carrier should be big enough for your cat to stand up and turn around in, but no bigger. You want it to be small enough so that your cat feels secure.
Keeping Your Aventure Cat Warm/Cool
Cat Sweaters / Jackets
Weather can change fast and cats have good tolerance to low temperatures but as a rule of thumb, if we are cold using a sweater, they are cold as well. There's plenty of cat sweaters and coats available on the market that will keep your cat warm on a cold day.
An emergency shelter is a good idea to have in case you get stranded overnight. I like to use a tarp and some paracord and you can have an emergency shelter in just a few minutes. They are lightweight and easy to carry.
Bring some extra blankets to keep your cat warm in case of an emergency.
Getting Your Cat to Listen Outdoors
High Quality Treats
Your cat will need treats when adventure walking. They are great for positive reinforcement and keeping your cat's attention on you.
I like to bring along the highest grade of treats that I have, freezed dried chicken. Your cat will have a lot of competing stimuli outdoors and a cheap treat will just not cut it.
Some cats have such a strong connection with their secondary reinforcer (Clicker) that they will come running when they hear it.
A clicker's click is very unique and can be heard from afar. If your cat got lost, using the clicker to capture their attention can come extremely handy.
Meal Time With an Adventure Cat
Water and Water Bowl
Just like you, your cat will need water when they are adventure walking. I like to use a portable water bowl that attaches to my backpack. This way I never have to worry about where my cat is going to get water from.
Food and Food Bowl
Your cat will also need food on the trail. I like to bring along her favorite food but also some kibble so in case we get stranded, I have extra food that won't go bad if we are exposed to hot temperatures.
Leave No Trace
Leave No Trace applies to kitty waste too. Cat feces can contain harmful parasites like T. gondii so it’s best to clean it up and carry it out.
This way you protect the environment and keep the trails safe for all. Not doing so can cause authorities to regulate the trails and potentially forbid the presence of cats alltogether.
If your adventure cat prefers to use a litter box, there are many disposable and foldable options available.
The problem of going on a hike with a portable litterbox is that you need some litter. Clay litter can be very heavy so try to go for a corn or tofu litter instead as it's lighter as well as biodegradable so in case you spare some on the floor, it will be reabsorbed by nature.
Stay Wild, Stay Safe, See You Outdoors!
Albert & Mia