Maybe you’ve seen the Instagram posts and pictures of #adventurecats – cats that climb, hike, boat, and camp, and you’ve decided that’s what you want in a feline friend. Cats are natural adventurers — curious, playful, and wild at heart. Read on for our tips on how to take your cat out of the (cardboard) box and out into nature.
1. Make them feel safe.
Before you even begin, make sure your cat even has an affinity for adventure. Some cats are indoor cats – they have been their entire lives, and have no interest in exploring the wilderness with you. In the spirit of being a loving pet owner, make sure that your cat’s interests align with your own, and don’t force them to do anything they don’t want to do. Keep them free from risk and danger. If your cat isn’t interested in getting out into the wild, you can still have plenty of fun adventures at home and indoors.
2. Find a harness that works for them.
Don’t be surprised if your cat goes limp or won’t move the first time you put a harness on them. Unless you regularly dress up your cat, they’re probably not used to wearing anything but their own fur. Give your cat time to adjust — start by having them wear the harness indoors for 15 minutes at a time, and build from there.
3. Begin to introduce them to a leash and the outdoors.
Don’t attach a leash to a cat’s collar — it is safer to attach a leash to a harness. There is less chance of a cat escaping that way, and a harness will not constrict their throat. Don’t let your kitty off the leash when you go exploring — that’s a good way to lose her, as many cats do not come when called, especially in unfamiliar places. A leash also prevents your cat from chasing after any wildlife (like a snake) that might harm them!
4. Start slow, especially if your cat has been sedentary for a while.
This is basically a new fitness routine for your cat and they will need time to adjust to new environments and new activity. Start in your yard or a quiet space first, then progress to shorter, less-populated routes. From there, the world is at your feet and your cat’s toe beans.
5. Cats have a different pace than dogs, so adjust your expectations accordingly.
If you’re a cat mom or dad, you already know that cats only do things on their terms. You may have to plan on carrying your cat on your hikes if they decide they are tired or don’t want to move. Plan on having a backpack that your cat can ride in when it’s time for a catnap.
6. Prepare for the uncertainty of the outdoors.
Determine what kind of adventures you’ll be taking your adventure cat on, and be ready. Bring a cat life vest if you’re going boating; bring what they need to stay the night if you are camping. Talk to a veterinarian to see what concerns you should be aware of, and make sure all vaccinations are up to date. Be prepared to scoop your cat up if any danger — a dog, a child, or wildlife — presents itself. Also be sure to pack water, food, and any medications your cat may need during your trip.
7. Reward successes with treats!
Cats respond well to positive reinforcement — just be sure to account for treats in their daily calorie allotment. Primal treats are made of single source proteins and are nutrient dense for plenty of power and energy when your cat is hitting the trail. Plus, they are shelf-stable, so they’re safe to keep in your backpack.
8. Have fun!
Having an adventure cat is all about creating the time and space for you to enjoy more of your cat’s personality and company. Enjoy your time together exploring. And don’t forget to snap a picture of your trailblazing feline and use the hashtag #PrimalAdventureCat so we can see them!