Adventure catting, it’s a thing
October 23, 2017
From out on the town to out on the hiking trails, cat adventures are fur real and are happening right meow.
Cat owners across the country — and here in Vail — are taking their feline friends outdoors for adventures, squashing the idea that all cats really do is eat and sleep. Now, no one has quite mastered the art of voice command for cats, so cat-specific leashes and harnesses make it safe to paw, claw and purr outside.
Laura J. Moss, author of "Adventure Cats" and creator of http://www.AdventureCats.org, looks to connect enthusiasts of "adventure catting."
"If you're a cat lover who also is active outdoors, it's a great way to get your cat involved in your active lifestyle," Moss told the Associated Press. "But the No. 1 reason to do it is because it's good for your cat."
Leo In Vail
Jenny Lane, of Vail, saw Adventure Cats on Instagram and was interested in taking her cat Leo on some adventures with her.
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She got Leo just over a year ago from the shelter in Summit County, and he is her first pet of any kind. Working long hours makes it hard to have a dog, she said. When she adopted Leo, the forms from previous owners stated he was an indoor/outdoor cat.
"I could tell that he would want to go outside, so I figured I'd give it a try and he seems to like it," Lane said.
Lane tried a small-dog harness, but Leo prefers the cat-specific gear and looks more than comfortable strolling the town of Vail during the farmers market or out on Vail Mountain trails.
"He seems to be happy whenever we go out on walks, and I can usually tell when he wants to go outside," she said. "I think he's getting a little upset that it's getting colder."
Last winter, Lane tried taking Leo out in the snow.
"He wanted no part of that."
Climbing, paddleboards and more
Moss says not all cats are up for adventures, and the ones that are usually prefer a couple of activities — not all adrenaline-pumping excursions.
"Is your cat interested in watching the world outside the window? Is your cat a door dasher? Does your cat have a lot of pent-up energy?" Moss asked. "At the same time, you can have a cat who's extremely courageous and always up to try something new but who may not feel comfortable outside. You can also have a cat who's very timid and hides when somebody comes over but loves to walk around the backyard."
The Associated Press tracked down cat adventure owners across the country.
Craig Armstrong takes his rescue, Millie, rock climbing in Utah every weekend. He also takes Millie on frequent car rides and. Moss says determining if your cat is prone to motion sickness is important and also advocated for using a leash at all times.
Sushi lives in New Hampshire with her human, Georgina Saravia, and is a beach-loving cat who goes everywhere — except the woods for fear of ticks. Sushi doesn't like to get wet but enjoys looking in the water.
In Michigan, Kim Randolph and her fiancé take their cat Ruger snow hiking, along with their German shepherd. Randolph initially got a cat in college because dogs weren't allowed, and she started harness training almost immediately. Ruger gained confidence with trips around the backyard.
Kenneth Lambrecht is a veterinarian in Wisconsin and proud dad to four cats. While some of them are experienced adventures, the younger ones are still learning. He takes them paddleboarding and warns that cats like Bug, a 6-year-old rescue, are one in a million.
OK to Pet
For Lane, she always has Leo on his leash and carries a travel bag just in case. She also carries water, although Leo doesn't like to drink while out on adventures. She'll carry food with some hydration in it and put water on his coat for him to lick.
"Most of the time whenever people see us, they say 'Oh my gosh a cat on a leash' or 'I've never seen that before,'" Lane said of taking Leo out in Vail. "Then they usually come and ask to pet him, and he's fine with strangers, and then they'll ask about him."
Not all responses are friendly, though, but Lane keeps Leo under her control at all times — even at the dog park.
"He interacts with other dogs. My sister has a dog and we take them to the Stephens Dog Park. My sister's dog is like his little body guard," she said.
To see Leo's adventures, follow him on Instagram at @leothemtnkitty.
Entertainment & Outdoors editor Ross Leonhart can be reached at 970-748-2984 and firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Instagram at colorado_livin_on_the_hill.
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