The next time you are on a hike in the woods, or backpacking up a steep trail or enjoying a picnic at a park, don’t be surprised if an adventure cat crosses your path.
Yes, it turns out that some felines really enjoy taking in the sights, sounds and smells of the great outdoors in a safe manner. A decade ago, it was trendy to build indoor enclosures called catios that allowed indoor cats to perch on cat trees and safely watch birds and squirrels in the backyard. Catios remain popular ways to provide enrichment to indoor cats.
But today’s adventure cats are felines who welcome being trained to wear special harnesses, leash walk and even calmly ride inside ventilated backpacks deep into nature as well as attractions in the heart of a big city.
Meet Emily Hall of KittyCatGO
And one of the people leading that cat adventure trend is Emily Hall, founder of KittyCatGO. I recently invited her to be my guest on my new national radio show called, Arden Moore’s Four Legged Life. Emily credits her cat, Sophie, born with a neurological disorder, for accidentally sparking her now becoming a go-to expert on safe outdoor adventures with cats.
“Sophie wobbles more than walks, so one day, my husband and I fitted her in a harness and leash and she wobbled all around our backyard and seemed to enjoy herself,” recalls Emily, whose is a music teacher in Macon, Georgia. “Our other cat, Kylo, is also keen on exploring the outdoors safely.”
A few years ago, Emily launched the KittyCatGO site that now includes a monthly livestream show, informative blog posts on training tips, selecting the right cat hiking gear and of course, cool places to visit with your feline pal year-round in all kinds of weather.
In late October, Emily will begin hosting KittyCatGO Adventure Podcast where she will chat with cat experts on various feline topics.
“There is a growing demand for good tips for cats who love to hike, take road tips, camp, ride in canoes and even walk in snowy trails,” says Emily.
Set Your Adventure-Minded Cat Up for Success
Emily offers these tips to ensure your cat widens his opportunities to explore in a safe way:
- Know your cat’s personality and temperament. Cats who are confident, curious, able to quickly recover from something that startles them and who love to learn tend to make ideal adventure cats.
- Start slow and indoors. Emily favors using clicker training and targeting techniques in training kittens and cats to come on cue, sit, paw a target, accept being in a cat carrier, wear a harness and walk easily on a leash.
- Bring healthy treats, collapsible bowls and bottled water. Both of you need to stay hydrated on a hike.
- * Seek backpacks made specifically for cats. Fortunately, new designs with adventure cats in mind are emerging, Emily says look for carriers that have mesh sides, are well-ventilated and lightweight as you will be carrying a cat and backpack. Ideally, the backpack should have zippered openings on the top and sides as some confident, tethered cats like to poke their heads out. For more details on this topic, here is a link to Emily’s post:
If your cat loves to see the sights riding tethered inside a pet stroller rather than hiking in the woods, Emily showcases a growing list of cat-friendly places that range from restaurants and breweries to museums, historical landmarks and even businesses on the website.
“I believe that enriching your cat’s life with adventure, big or small, will help to give your cat a more fulfilled life,” says Emily. Sharing a special activity like adventuring together will grow trust, and trust breeds a stronger bond.”
I agree. Pet Safety Cat Casey, my orange tabby who assists me in my pet first aid/CPR classes with my dog, Kona, leaps in the pet stroller whenever I pop it open. He has traveled in a cat-safe harness by car and airplane to hotels, outdoor eateries and jazz concerts in 13 states. He loves meeting people and checking out new places.
Learn More About Adventure Cats
Here are links to a couple of KittyCatGO LIVE videos that will give you more details:
- Introducing Your Cat to New Situations features cat behaviorist Ingrid Johnson, creator of Fundamentally Feline. Here’s the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xC_wDzXsmFc
- Visiting State/National Parks and Geocaching with Terri Lukens-Gable, who is working with the national parks program to create the MEOW Ranger Program. Here is the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EBzpthOKmEQ
Learn Pet First Aid
Learn more on ways to keep your cats and dogs safe by visiting http://www.propethero.com. Consider taking our veterinarian-approved online pet first aid/CPR course. Enter this code: CPR – ARDEN MOORE and receive a 10 percent discount! And, if you are interested in becoming a Pro Pet Hero instructor, please click on the BECOME AN INSTRUCTOR button on the home page for more details.