Are you planning on embarking on a hiking trip with the intention of taking your cat along? It’ll be a fun experience, but there are several considerations and risks involved.
Your pet can get injured or, worse, run off, and get hurt. This can, however, be avoided if your cat is well oriented. So, check out the special tips below on how to train a cat for hikes;
1. Understand Your Cat’s Breed
You want to take your cat out to hike, but does she want to? That’s the first question to answer. There are indoor and outdoor cats, and you should figure out what category your cat falls in.
According to Pets WebMD, many cats are trained to be indoor cats because an outdoor lifestyle can reduce their lifespan.
If you have a house cat, you’ll be forced to gradually introduce her to outdoor life if you want to hike with her. Some cats might be scared of the outdoors, and you shouldn’t force them.
Hence, it’ll be best if you got an outdoor cat from the onset. American bobtails, Bombay, Burmese, Abyssinian, etc., are some of the best cat breeds for hiking as they thrive outdoors. Cats that move freely outdoors are prone to a lot of dangers. See this post on how to keep an outdoor cat safe.
2. Get Your Feline Friend Used To A Leash And Harness
Leash training your cat is most important when discussing how to hike with your cat. Your cat must be trained on how to walk on a leash and harness before taking it out on hikes.
Training your sweet cat to walk on a leash and harness is not very difficult, but it’s something that can take a bit of time. This is because it won’t come naturally for your cat, and if you succeed in getting the harness on, you’ll have to go on occasional outdoor walks to make your cat used to it.
It’s important to use a harness that fits securely; Not too tight so it doesn’t choke your cat, and not too loose, so she doesn’t slip off. Furthermore, the leash should be up to at least 6 ft in length. See this blog post on how to train a cat to walk on a leash for more information.
3. Get Your Cat Used To The Car
There’s one thing most cat owners can attest to, and it’s that cats hate car rides. In general, cats don’t like unusual situations and will display their displeasure.
Car training your cat is needed if you’ll be taking her on a hike. You’re likely to drive for minutes or hours to and fro your hiking destination. If your cat isn’t used to car driving, you’ll have problems even before making it to the area you wish to start your hike.
Try to take your cat on car rides as frequently as possible. It doesn’t have to be long distances; car drives to the supermarket, mall, etc., are enough. You might not even drive anywhere; just stay with her in the car.
Begin with 5 minutes, then 10, 20 minutes, and so on. In time, your pet will become familiar with being inside a car.
4. Obtain Cat Hiking Accessories
Cat hiking accessories are important not just for training but also for your cats’ safety. Already, I’ve mentioned some needed accessories, a leash and harness. Other ones include a cat backpack, first aid kit, emergency shelter, litter box, etc.
An important accessory you shouldn’t forget is a collar with ID tags. Should your cat get lost while outdoors, it’ll help whoever finds her in bringing her back to you.
Aside from these accessories, there are other important things to bring along. Some of them include water, food, snacks, treats, sunscreen, etc.
In training your cat for hikes, you need to make her feel as comfortable as possible when outdoors hence the need for all the provisions you are carrying with you.
5. Hike On Pet-Friendly Trails
On your part, you should research for pet-friendly trails. For example, some hiking areas are out of bounds for cats, and you’ll be endangering your pet by taking her there.
It’s best to consider well-defined and narrow trails. On such trails, you can let your pet wander around a bit on its own as they’re easier for your cat to follow.
It would also be best if you didn’t hike on trails that have running water as it is one of the things cats fear the most.
It’s important to check the weather too. Cats don’t like heat and wind. So it would help if you didn’t hike on a very hot or windy day.
Need more tips, see the video below on how to hike with your cat.
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If you’ve been contemplating how to train a cat for hikes, I believe this article has provided you with a suitable guide. The most important thing is to know if your cat breed likes the outdoors, leash train your cat first, then walk your cat on a leash/harness frequently before heading out on the main hiking trip.
Next, ensure you choose a pet-friendly trail without running water or waterfalls so your cat is comfortable all through the trip, and have all the necessary cat hiking accessories at hand to provide for your cat basic needs and also items needed in case of an emergency.
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