Hiking With Cats: Safely Explore the Outdoors with A Feline Companion
Apr 01, 2017 04:02AM
By Mary Oquendo
Looking for a fun activity to do with your cat? Well, the next time you go hiking, consider taking your cat along. Cats love the outdoors as much as dogs and there’s no reason why dogs should have all the fun traipsing through the woods.
But … Be Safe
Not every cat is a good candidate for hiking. In order to share Mother Nature complete with other wild animals and poisonous plants, your cat must be responsive to your commands. Will your cat come to you when called? If not, then additional training with your cat may be necessary before you venture out onto the trails with them. Your cat should be up to date on their rabies vaccine and protected with flea and tick preventative. In addition, microchip your cat and activate your account with the microchip company.
Full body harness. Cats can easily slip out of collars. The harness should be snug, but have some give to it. A recommended harness is Come With Me Kitty Harness and Bungee Lead. Galaxy Jackson recommends the Kitty Bolster Harness, which is a full body vest. Cats may need to be trained with leash walking in your backyard before venturing out on a hike.
Cat safe sunscreen. Light colored cats and exposed areas such as ear tips, noses, and bellies may need sun protection. Talk to your veterinarian about cat safe sunscreen. Pet or dog safe does not necessarily mean cat safe.
Cat safe paw balm. As your cat may be walking and jumping on rough terrain, keep an eye on the condition of their paw pads. Apply cat safe paw balm only if the pads become dry or cracked.
ID tags with cell number, landline, address, and name. All phone numbers should include area code. Secure ID tag to the harness.
What To Bring
Add the following to a portable pet first aid kit: flashlight, poop bags, and a laminated photo of you with your cat. This photo can act as instant owner identification in the event of separation and another person finds your cat. The following is not cat safe and should be left out of a pet first aid kit: hydrogen peroxide, alcohol, and triple antibiotic. In addition, add bottled water and trail ready food for both you and your cat.
Pay attention to weather reports as the area you are hiking in may become dangerous without warning.
Do you know which animals may pose a risk to your cat? Wildlife varies from region to region, but here in Connecticut, we have bear, coyotes, bobcats, fisher cats, hawks, eagles and poisonous snakes. That is not a complete list, since you might also encounter non cat-friendly dogs on the same trails as your cat. Chipmunks, squirrels, and snakes may also catch the cat’s eye and create a bolt risk. Be prepared.
Safe hiking with your cat is a fun way to spend time with them that is healthy and active for both of you.
For more information, visit AdventuresCats.com.
Mary Oquendo is a Reiki master, advanced crystal master and certified master pet tech pet first aid instructor. She is the owner of Hands and Paws-Reiki for All. She can be reached at HandsandPawsReiki.com. See ad, page 53.