Hiking has become a popular pastime for people and it’s even becoming more popular according to statistics. In 2008, about 29.23 million Americans went hiking or backpacking. By 2015, the figure rose to 38.67 million. And many of these people aren’t just going out with their dogs. Cat hiking has become a thing, too!
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Cat Owners Feeling Separation Anxiety?
Not surprisingly, many have figured out that dogs are the ideal animals to bring to a hike. But did you know that cat owners need not be separated from their beloved pets when they go on the trail? In Utah, an animal sanctuary with about 600 cats offers hikers the chance to amble about with a feline for company.
Lots of news reports have featured cats accompanying their owners on hiking and climbing trails. And if you think these stories are hoaxes, there are videos of even blind cats loving a hike too. It’s definitely a real thing.
But it’s not just a matter of going for a hike with your cat with the complete expectation that you don’t need preparation. If you want to make sure everything goes well, here are some hiking tips to follow:
- Before anything else, make sure you train your cat to feel comfortable wearing a harness and walking on a leash. This is an important step, and the training can take a while. We’re not talking about an hour or so of training. We’re talking about maybe a few weeks!
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- Train your cat to also come when you call. The basic principle of this training is to associate your call with some sort of reward, such as food or treats. In the great outdoors, bad things can happen all the time, and you want your cat to come to you right away when you sense some sort of threat.
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- Make sure you bring all the essential gear for your cat and for yourself. That’ll include a harness for your cat, some water and cat treats, a pet first aid kit that’s equipped to treat felines (ask your vet about this), some sunscreen especially if your cat is hairless, a collar with ID tags for your cat (a microchip is also a good idea), and a litter box or a poop bag. And then you should also take a picture of your cat right before you go, so that if she gets lost you have a recent picture to use.
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- You should also make sure your cat is current on all their vaccinations. She should be protected from ticks, fleas, and heartworm. If they’re not protected, then it may not be a very good idea to bring them out in the wild where there are fleas, ticks, unvaccinated animals, and mosquitos carrying heartworm.
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- Pick the right trail for your cat. You should factor in your pet’s fitness level and age when you pick a trail to walk. Rough terrain and long distances are not recommended for elderly cats. The same piece of advice goes for kittens as well, as their still-developing bodies may suffer injuries when they jump or climb too far or go very long distances.Now if you’re new to feline companionship, you should also understand that cats have individual personalities. They don’t all act the same way and like the same things. Some like only flat terrain, while others may prefer inclines. Your cat may only like to go hiking only in certain seasons, or on a very specific type of terrain.
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