Here's a Brief of What You Will Learn From Here
- 1 1. Be prepared with the right gear
- 2 2. Pay attention to how your cat is coping
- 3 3. Make sure you train with your cat before hand
- 4 4. Be aware of the common dangers along the trail
- 5 5. Get your cat vaccinated before hiking
- 6 6. You must be prepared to pick your cat up at any time
- 7 7. Bring along, some cleaning materials
- 8 8. Prepare for the weather
- 9 9. Always stay on the hiking trail
- 10 10. Prepare yourself for hiking with your cat
- 11 Final thoughts
Depending on how you handle the situation, hiking with cats maybe more or less difficult than hiking with dogs.
You may be asking yourself the question; can I really get my cat to hike with me?
The answer is yes!
With some little patience, and training, your cat will enjoy exploring the outdoors with you. Just like any other new activity, you need to be prepared to teach your cat to hike with you, and the following tips and ideas can help;
Image Credit: mentalfloss.com
1. Be prepared with the right gear
The first questions you should ask yourself is; Do I have the right gear to hike with my cat?
If you don’t prepare with the right gear, your hiking adventure may not be successful. You should consider bringing the following gears at least; make sure you bring enough water for yourself and the cat.
You must never allow the cat to drink from any natural water along the hiking trail. Natural waters like springs, lakes and streams harbor dangerous parasites and bacteria.
Include your cat’s favorite food or snack in the pack. Hiking helps cat burn calories quickly, likewise you need to refuel too. Make sure your veterinary doctor is consulted for the most suitable cat snacks for hiking. Include a cat-friendly bug repellent in your pack, these include; flea, tick and mosquito repellents. Do not assume that there will be no bugs along your hiking trail, therefore you must a repellent to protect your pet.
Microchipping your cat is highly recommended or at least include a collar or ID tags in your hiking pack. If you have a short-hair cat like mine, you should consider a cat-safe sunscreen. In Addition to sunscreen for short-haired, no-hair or fair-haired cats, you need to get a cat-pack for your cat. There comes a time your cat will be too tired to walk, a cat-pack will be needed in such instances.
For urgent medical needs, you need to include a first aid kit specifically designed for cats. Finally, you must be prepared to pack your cat’s poop by including a litter box in your pack.
With all these items in place, you can rest-assured of the safety of your cat during hiking expenditure.
2. Pay attention to how your cat is coping
Veering off your hiking trail will not only tire out your cat easily, it will expose you and the animal to many hazards. Keep in mind that your cats will be exposed to poisonous plants, predators and rough terrains.
I also discovered that my cat’s trampling feet becomes hurt in slippery and thorny environment. Make sure you stick to your designated hiking trails at all times, it will help you complete your hiking in time and also save energy.
Cats are fond of giving signs whenever they are in distress. They may choose to stop abruptly during hiking and start whining. These signs may mean they are feeling some discomfort and need attention. Never ignore any sign your cat is showing you while hiking.
3. Make sure you train with your cat before hand
Don’t expect your cat to be transformed into a hiking expert overnight. You need to train the pet with lots of treats in order for her to obey and follow you on the trail. You can make use of a leash to train your cat in the act of obedience, at home, for several weeks before the hiking day. You need to train your cat before hand because accidents do occur without warning.
Anywhere around the home can be used for training but the backyard is usually the best. Make sure the cat becomes used to the harness and leash, as well as you command. Your cat must be conversant with commands such as “Come”, “Go”, and “Sit”. Training your cat on leash will drastically reduce the risks of accidents.
Training your cat also involves the preparation of the animal for different physical activities. You should train the cat to crawl through narrow spaces, walk through muddy waters and many more. Physical exercises will help in boosting your cat’s resistance to adverse hiking conditions. Encourage the cat by giving her some threats after each accomplishment.
Just like humans, cats can make use of certain skills they learn to survive difficult terrains. You should also prepare yourself by exercising your body for at least 30 minutes a day. You may want to indulge in jogging, running or lifting weight to boost your fitness levels.
4. Be aware of the common dangers along the trail
I had hiked long before I took my cat along the same hiking trail and It helped me familiarize with the dangers along the route. Nature can be fun and at the same time very wild. I have discovered that the commonest enemies are the parasites, Coyotes, undomesticated dogs and biting insects. Other dangers along most hiking trails are the snakes, and eagles, therefore it is important to b prepared to face these risks.
One rule you need to adhere to strictly when hiking with cats is that you must keep them close always with your leash. Another danger you must look out for is dehydration. When your cat becomes dehydrated in the course of hiking, she will show signs by trying to get water wherever she can find some. Don’t allow your cat to drink from streams, ponds and lakes.
Bites, burns, heat strokes and exhaustions can cause your cat to lose interest in hiking. You should watch out for signs of slowing paces. Make use of the cat pack to help her rest occasionally. Apply pet-safe repellants occasionally on her exposed body to soothe insect and bug bites. Do not allow you cat to climb hilly slopes, it can cause the cat to slip and injure herself.
5. Get your cat vaccinated before hiking
If possible, you should get your cat vaccinated before embarking on hiking. This is particularly important when you have missed out on previous vaccination routine. Do not take the risks of taking your cat for hiking when she is not vaccinated against un-vaccinated animals. You should be wary of ticks, fleas, other insects that can transfer heartworms into your cat.
I started taking my cat out for hiking at a tender young age, and that is why I always stay updated on her vaccination. I have also discovered that the earlier you start exposing your cats to different hiking conditions the quicker they get used to it. I ensured I took my cat out for hiking once in the summer, springs, fall and winter, and we are both used to such right now.
6. You must be prepared to pick your cat up at any time
You must be prepared to pick your kitty up especially when the cat has become fearful when she sighted a threat. Cats can become fearful when they see a leashed dog, or an excited toddler along the hiking trail. Cats usually feel safer when they are held up in your arms and they have that visual advantage.
You must also be prepared to give her a lift especially during hot weather conditions. Your cat may be used to exploring your yard or garden but a hiking trail is a different condition. Occasionally you should seek shelter for few minutes under a shade along your hiking trail. If you have a big backpack, you can allow your cat to nestle on it, if you don’t want to carry it for a long time.
7. Bring along, some cleaning materials
Do you know that a simple cat hair brush can help you eliminate toxic substances that get stuck to her fur? Insects can perch on the fur of the cat, so also are those plant materials such as small leaves and seeds. You must be prepared to get rid of these things from the pet’s fur before they irritate her skin and cause bruises, scratches and bleeding.
Some insects can quickly work down through the cat’s fur, deep into the skin to bite your pet. For this reason, the best time to clean the fur is when your pass-through areas with lots of grasses, and shrubs. Make sure your cat does not climb trees or run into the woods. Perhaps heavily forested areas are places where you need to use the leash more.
8. Prepare for the weather
It is unsafe to take your cat on hiking trips in extreme weather conditions. Excessive heat, or cold can badly affect your cat during and after the hiking adventure. A weather may not be extreme for you but can be very dangerous to your cat. You need to ensure your cat gets used to the weather before you expose her to a long period under the weather. For instance, during the winter season, you should walk your cat around the yard for up to 1 hour a day for several days.
While the coat of your cat does a good job in protecting her against extreme weather, but can hardly workout in snowy conditions.
Extremely hot weather can quickly dehydrate your cat. It is often advisable to take your cat for hiking before 12 pm because the hottest time of the day is between 12 and 6pm. To avoid the heat wave, indulge in an early morning hiking. If you are not the morning individual you should hike with your cat not earlier than 4pm. If you are hiking in the evening, please keep in mind that it becomes harder to your trails when the sun goes out.
9. Always stay on the hiking trail
It is easy to get distracted from your hiking trail especially when you discover a fascinating area you are tempted to explore. Staying on the marked path of your trail comes with lots of benefits for you and the cat. It can take more than an hour to get back on a track and some people don’t even get back on track again.
It is always important to stay on track for safety reasons. When you stay off track it becomes difficult to get emergency medical attention for yourself or the cat. You can learn more about staying on track when hiking with your cat on tuxedo-cat.co.uk.
10. Prepare yourself for hiking with your cat
Every preparation you make should not be about your cat. I have discovered that in the process of preparation, I forgot to prepare myself. One of the mistakes I made is to bring some old, rugged run-down boots for hiking and I suffered dearly for the mistake. Don’t make the same mistake by preparing less for hiking with your cat.
Make sure you bring along proper boots, they are the most important safety items for hiking. In addition to hiking boots, you need to wear proper clothing for hiking. Consider thick pants such as jeans, and the top could be a loose or thick material depending on the weather. In hot weather conditions, make sure you wear breathable clothing or light fabric such as cotton. You should consider extra jacket in cold conditions.
In addition to comfortable clothing, you should bring other items such as sunscreen, water, backpack, food, and a small weapon such as a knife. Make sure you pack a separate bag from that of your cat, for yourself. Keeping your cat’s bag separate will prevent confusion or mix-ups. You should also consider bringing your power bank to charge up your phone, just in case the battery runs down.
Planning for a hiking adventure with your cat is like planning for a vacation- it will definitely take a lot of planning and energy. Planning ahead of time will ensure that you avoid trouble during and after the hiking. I decided to pack all necessary items some 2 weeks before the hiking and it pays off because I had enough time to add anything I forgot to pack. Don’t forget to stay mentally alert during hiking, it will help you make decisions faster. Perhaps, buying your cat’s hiking needs ahead of hiking expenditure can help you save money on such items.