When you think about a leashed pet on a hike with you, you always think of a dog. With more people teaching their cats to hike with them, it’s only a matter of time before you see a cat on a hike. But is it safe to bring a cat with you on a hike?
As long as you can make the conditions safe enough for the cat, it’s generally safe to bring a cat with you on a hike. Part of the requirements for safe conditions is making sure that the cat is properly restrained with a leash and a harness and training the cat to be comfortable with the hike.
Before leashing your cat and going out on a long walk, it’s important to learn how to do it safely. This article will explain the step-by-step process of bringing a cat on a hike safely, and some tips to help you ensure that you and your pet are both having fun.
Is It Safe to Bring a Cat on a Hike?
Before buying a leash and a harness for your cat, it’s important to learn if you should even attempt to hike with your cat in the first place.
It is generally safe to bring your cat along on a hike as long as it feels comfortable walking under restraint. If you can’t restrain your cat with a harness and a leash, it’s always safer to avoid walking them over long distances unless thin ey show a reasonable degree of composure walking short distances.
If you’re not a professional cat trainer, making your cat comfortable with being restrained with a leash and a harness may be a very daunting task. With the tips that will be provided later in this article, you’ll learn some of the best tips to teach your cat to walk long distances.
How Do You Train a Cat to Hike?
Most cats are fully capable of hiking, as long as you’re willing to retreat when they’re tired. The only major challenge is the fact that it may be pretty difficult to train your cat to hike safely. Since paying a trainer is rarely an option, this section will be a quick guide.
Before starting, it’s important to understand that some cats aren’t just cut out for hiking. It doesn’t matter how hard you try to train them, they’ll never derive any joy or satisfaction in walking while being restrained to a leash.
The next few steps will help you determine if your cat can train to be a hiker and the exact steps to help train your cat to become a good one.
1. Get a leash and a harness.
To determine if your cat is the hiking type, you need a harness and a leash. Most cats will tolerate the harness, but if yours doesn’t start acting up after being leashed, you can definitely train your cat to hike.
However, some cats will fret at the mere sight of a harness. Couple that with a leash and you’ll have a cat that’s struggling anxiously to slip the restraint away from its body. However, this doesn’t mean the cat won’t enjoy hiking; you may just have more work to do than someone with a naturally calm cat.
And there’s the category of cats that are always withdrawn at the slightest change in routine. If your cat belongs to this group, good luck putting them on a leash and walking them over short distances, let alone over longer ones.
If your cat won’t tolerate a leash, there is no way you can bring them along on a hike. The leash is necessary for the cat’s safety during the hike, and you don’t want to compromise that.
2. Start short walks indoors.
Before attempting to walk your dog in the distracting noise outdoors. If you introduced your cat to hiking outdoors, it may get stressed during the process, frantically trying to escape and hide from the scary outdoor environment.
To prevent this behavior, your cat should start its hiking adventure from inside the home. When walking with your cat at home, you should always let your cat take the lead, while you follow from behind at the cat’s pace.
Since hiking comes somewhat unnatural to cats, putting them in control makes them more relaxed during the process. After some tries, you can try making the cat go at your own pace, but you should ensure that you go its direction.
3. Take the necessary vaccinations.
When taking a cat for a hike, you’re exposing it to more harm than is natural for cats. Therefore, your cat will need all the necessary vaccinations to ensure that it’s safe from all the diseases that might result from the germs she’ll inevitably come across.
All cats should get vaccinations against rabies, panleukopenia, feline viral rhinotracheitis, and feline calicivirus. Even if you’re not bringing your cat along on a hike, you should take these vaccinations once you adopt a kitten.
However, your cat may need extra shots if you’re planning to walk them regularly. You can vaccinate your kittens against feline leukemia and bordetella. These diseases spread through feline bodily fluids which your cat will inevitably come across if you hike regularly.
4. Pick a good trail.
It’s not always about your cat; your hiking destination plays a very important role in your cat’s behavior during a hike. Cats hate unnecessary, and there is nothing more unnecessary than walking on very rough terrain for extended periods.
When bringing a cat along on a hike, pick a trail that they can easily walk. When choosing this, you should put the distance into account; your cat can only walk for so long before tiring out. Having to carry your cat for miles isn’t exactly the dream of someone walking their kitten for the first time.
How Many Miles Can a Cat Hike?
Cats are very fickle. Your cat may act like a hike was its best life experience in a day and refuse to be restrained in the next. This same logic applies to the distance that a cat can hike in one go.
Generally, you should try going at your cat’s pace when it comes to hiking. Once they start to show disinterest in the hike, it’s probably time to call it a day. Most cats can only afford to walk for about 10 to 15 minutes in a go before it starts to get uninteresting.