By Julia Williams
Even though I am a cat person through and through, sometimes I do think about what it would be like to have a dog. Mostly, these thoughts come after reading about some dog and his owner embarking on a fun adventure together. It’s always been my belief that just about every dog is cool with gadding about in the great outdoors, whereas it takes a special kind of kitty to enjoy this. Like, a “one in a million” kind of special kitty. Well, my belief has just been blown out of the water.
It turns out there are quite a few kitties in this world who have what it takes to be an “adventure cat.” Not every cat, mind you, but certainly way more than one in a million. How do I know this? I stumbled upon a website that was all about legions of courageous cats who boldly go places I thought only a handful of felines would – including hiking, biking, camping, canoeing, sailing, kayaking and just exploring the great outdoors.
Kayaking cats; let that sink in. Cats that not only willingly go out on the water in the middle of a lake, but by all accounts seem to really enjoy it. Yep, adventure cats are a thing! And not just a “let’s do this for internet fame” kind of adventure cat, but the real deal.
The Adventure Cats website has really flipped my script on everything I thought I knew about feline behavior. Like I said, I knew of a few seemingly fearless felines who enjoyed being outdoors and even some who did typical dog-like things with their owner such as hiking. One of those is a cat named Rosie who was “adopted” by a husky dog as a wee kitten; she became part of the pack and literally goes everywhere the dogs and her people do. Rosie’s a totally cool cat and her story is amazing. But I never thought there were more than a handful of cats that were suited for an “adventure” kind of life. I was wrong!
The Adventure Cats website features all kinds of awesome cats who seem right at home in the great outdoors. I spent days exploring this site, not only to learn the basics of what being an Adventure Cat entails, but reading all the exciting tales of felines living their nine lives to the fullest. And I have to admit, I’m a little jealous. I’m quite certain neither of my two feline friends have adventure cat in their blood. Far from it. I have the “hide under the bed when anyone comes over” kind of cats. As such, I wouldn’t make them do things I know they wouldn’t like. But a girl can dream, right?
Adventuring isn’t for every kitty, that’s for sure. However, what if you think your feline friend has the right purrsonality to be an Adventure Cat? How do you start? What activities do you choose? You can’t just grab your fearless furball and head outdoors – there are things to learn before you go, because you need to make sure that any adventure is safe and fun for your cat. Here are some things to keep in mind
ID Your Cat
Make sure your cat has a collar with an ID tag. Going on adventures with your cat is not without risk. Sometimes things happen, and if your cat were to get lost in an unfamiliar area, a collar with contact information increases the odds that you’ll be reunited quickly. Having your cat microchipped is also a good idea; if the collar comes off, your cat still has ID.
Leash Train Your Cat
For safety reasons, your cat should be comfortable wearing a harness and leash before you decide to head out in search of adventure. Trust me, your fun will come to a halt if your cat gets spooked by something and darts off into the woods. If you aren’t sure how to go about this vital step, I covered the basics in my article, Tips for Leash Training Your Cat.
Learn as much as you can before you go…because when it comes to your cat’s safety while out and about, there is no such thing as being “too prepared.” The Adventure Cats website has lots of informative articles, such as 7 Tips for Urban Adventures for Cats, A Guide to Boating with Cats, and Prepare Your Cat for a Life of Travel. They also offer advice for beginning adventure cats, including what to expect and what gear to pack to keep your cat safe. They even have a store where you can purchase essential things like leashes, harnesses, water bottles and collapsible cups.
Even the most outgoing feline is going to have some trepidation in a new location or when doing something they’ve never done. Get them used to the adventure cat lifestyle by going on short trips close to home at first. You’ll be able to see pretty quickly if your cat is cut out for all the excitement, and if not, you won’t be miles from home.
Know Your Cat
Your cat can’t tell you when he’s tired or thirsty, or has had enough adventure for one day. It’s up to you to read his body language so you’ll know when he needs a break. Learning to understand your cat will come with time and experience. The better you know your cat, the more you can be sure that going on adventures with you is really his thing.
As I mentioned, not every feline is cut out to be an adventure cat. It’s important to respect your cat’s wishes and not force him to do things he really doesn’t want to do. If your cat lets you know that he’s really more of a “curl up on the couch” kind of kitty, his decision should be honored. But if your kitty takes to adventuring like a duck takes to water, consider yourself lucky. Get on out there to have some fun with your best feline friend!
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