Nature lovers around the world take their dogs for granted on hikes, recreational activities or to the nearby city park. But what about cats, anyway? Hiking with cats is the new hiking trend, which is slowly spilling over from the USA to Europe! Numerous photos show cats in front of breathtaking scenery in green forests or in front of snow-covered mountains. They wear raincoats, pose in cool sweaters or enjoy the view from their cat carrier backpack!
Many cats enjoy going exploring with their humans. Before you explore the world with your cat, you need to check if your cat is suitable for walking. In short, does your cat or tomcat enjoy it!
If your cat loves the outdoors and races to the door or window whenever she can, she’s probably the perfect candidate for cat walking. However, if she’s afraid of the outdoors and prefers to just sleep on the couch, you might be better off leaving your cat at home.
Harness & Leash
First train your cat to walk relaxed in a harness on a leash. For some cats this is already a big hurdle, others walk on the leash as if they had never done anything else. Take your time and don’t overchallenge your cat. Small steps will get you there, guaranteed! To learn the best way to get your cat used to walking on a harness, check out our blog post.
Cats have different personalities! Some cats just don’t want to go outside. Give yourself enough time, don’t force your cat to do anything, and start training preferably at home, in your familiar surroundings.
A safe place
As a safe place when hiking, hiking backpacks are especially suitable for cats. Because while you’re leading your cat on a harness and leash, there’s a chance that something will startle it. Maybe it’s a dog, a strange-looking tree, or other hikers. To make your cat feel safe wherever he goes, you should always have a safe place for him. A cat backpack is best for hiking, biking, and much more. With a cat backpack, you can also carry your cat when its short legs get tired. After all, cats’ legs are much shorter than ours. Cats don’t have the same stamina as dogs! That’s why they need to be carried more often. In the cat backpacks from TARIGS you also have enough storage space for clothes and food.
Besides the harness, a leash and the cat backpack, you should definitely take some things with you. Make sure your cat always has enough water. The same goes for you! If it’s a hot day or you’re planning a long hike, make sure you always have enough water and don’t rely on finding water fountains along the way. Treats, sunscreen or sunscreen for pets, a pet first aid kit and poop bags are all must-haves depending on the hike.
Before you go hiking with your cat, you should make sure that you choose a suitable route. Especially for the beginning you should choose quiet paths. Tours without large crowds and ideally without dogs. Trails which do not pass busy roads and without things that can scare your cat. The less excitement, the better you can concentrate on your cat and its needs.
The less popular the route, the more likely you are not to make any unpleasant encounters. Incidentally, there are far fewer people out and about during the week than on weekends. The same is true early in the morning or late in the evening. When your cat is more confident about walking, people and other animals, you can walk on busier trails.
Cat friendly trails
Check if your planned tour is pet-friendly and especially cat-friendly. Cats are not allowed everywhere (especially outside Germany). There may be animals living in the area that are frightened by the smell of your cat. (This may even prevent these animals from breeding!) Ideally, you’ll only be on trails where leashes are mandatory for dogs. This will help prevent interactions with off-leash dogs.
By the way, don’t be afraid to ask dog owners nicely to call their dog back. Even if you’re in a dog run area. Your and your cat’s safety are the most important!
What hiking trails
Many cats prefer paths that are narrower and well defined, as they can follow them better. They also tend to prefer narrower trails over wide open spaces. On many hiking websites, you’ll find photos of parts of the trail. These will help you decide if the route is suitable for you. Many cats are also afraid of running water. So avoid trails with rushing water for your first few trips. As your cat gains more confidence in hiking, you can hike on trails with more challenges, such as running water or even bridges.
Walking with a cat is slightly different from walking with people and dogs. Give your cat the time to stop, smell a bush or even climb a tree. Give your cat time to explore nature and use it to enjoy the small beautiful things in the world. After all, you should both have fun with your experiences!
Weather & Distance
Every cat is different. Many cats do not like wind. Also, on hot days, you should choose walking paths with enough shade.
As with anything, start small and plan a shorter hike for your first tour. When your cat becomes very comfortable in nature and you begin to develop a walking routine, you can lengthen the trips.
The car training
If you don’t live a few feet from the trail, you’ll need to get to the trail first. Train your cat to drive in a relaxed manner as well. Secure your cat in a carrier or on a harness with a belt. A smooth car ride is the first step to an exciting hike. When driving, the same rule applies: start with short trips.