Updated: Jan 18
I’m sure you’ve been waiting for this day for a long time! After all that harness, leash, and outer environment training, now it’s finally time for some EXCITING cat adventures!
Are YOU ready?! Let’s go!
I still remember the first time I ever brought Archer to our favourite trail, he was quite an inquisitive and bold cat by nature; but there were often times when he was suddenly spooked by his surroundings for “no reason”. For instance, when a bicycle swiftly passes by, he would show signs of fear by puffing up and hunching his back with a fluffy tail. I immediately knew that the real cat adventuring will take more time and training. As a result, I decided to continuously but slowly introduce Archer to our familiar surroundings to help him conquer his fear.
Cat adventuring is a test of your patience and awareness of your surroundings, as there could be a series of unknown circumstances that may come your way. But do not worry! That’s why we need to be prepared for our adventures when uncertainties arise.
Let me provide you with a list of essentials to prepare for the unknowns of cat adventuring ahead!
Breakaway Collar & Name Tag
Other Essentials (Litter Bag, Cat Wipes, Treats)
Breakaway Collar and Name Tag
Imagine that there was a sudden and unfamiliar sound nearby, and your cat gets spooked by it. There is a natural reaction of fight or flight instinct, which will leave your cat attempting to flight the scene and escape to the unknown. Of course this was just the worst imaginable case possible!
That’s why it is critical to attach a name tag which contains your cat’s name and your contact information to ensure you could be contacted, in case of a lost cat.
Next, your cat also needs a breakaway collar to attach the name tag. A breakaway collar is a collar specialized for cats. The neck collar can be easily snapped off with slight force, in case the cat gets its collar caught in a stressful situation; like getting stuck at a fence.
There have been two types of breakaway collars which I have tried with Archer. One is the buckle style which has a buckle connecting the collar, and the other is an elastic style which is made of a stretchable material.
I personally prefer the elastic style as Archer tends to bite the buckles style collars and then, unfortunately for me, breaks the plastic buckle in half. I know, he can sometimes be quite a destructive cat! Thus in my opinion, the elastic collar is more durable and longer lasting, due to its stretchy nature, compared to the buckle style.
As cat adventuring shall always be supervised, the harness is the most important attire to ensure your cat is close to you at all times. Of course, I wouldn’t want to miss all the fun Archer is having near me!
I have mentioned in my previous post on harness training, and recommended beginner cat adventurers to start with the H style harness. Now let’s talk about the two harnesses Archer has tried, and what are the pros and cons of each.
The H style harness is consisted of two loops with one hole wrapped around the chest area, and the other hole wrapped around the belly; which forms an H shape once it is put on a cat.
Provides the least constraint and maximum mobility.
Easy to put on or remove.
Very breathable during the summer.
May be susceptible to choking if the cat tends to pull the leash while walking.
May be easier to partially slip out of the harness.
The Mesh style harness is a one piece full body harness which secures the entire chest and belly of your cat. You can put on the harness by slipping the front hole through the neck, and then buckle the harness on the back.
Provides the most chest support by reducing the strain on the neck as the force is evenly distributed throughout the chest area.
Harder to slip out of the harness.
At the beginning it will be difficult to slip in and out the harness through the cat’s head.
As for Archer, I do prefer the mesh style harnesses as he tends to pull the leash or dash towards a direction. I would recommend the RC Pets Kitty Adventure Harness and RC Pets Moto Control Harness as an option.
Finally, each cat may prefer a different type of harness depending on the way they prefer to walk. Either they tend to pull the leash, or stay in front or behind you, would indicate the type of harness which are most suitable for their needs.
There are many options to the leash you could use but notably the most important features to look for are it must be light in weight and secure in your hands.
I frequently use two styles of leashes, fixed or flexible style, depending on the location I visit with Archer.
The fixed leash is a leash that is fixed in length but may be different in the width. I often use this style of leash when we visit an unfamiliar environment, and Archer would have the tendency to pull away, dash to explore, or chase animals. It brings me comfort knowing that I am able to keep him close to my proximity to ensure his safety.
The flexi-leash is an extensible leash which allows extension or retraction depending on the leash’s length. I usually prefer this style of leash when we are visiting a familiar surrounding without too many obstacles and more open space. The flex-leash provides Archer with more freedom to explore without much restrictions from me, and he LOVES it when I run in front for him to follow closely behind.
Now the most interesting topic, perhaps the most difficult choice for so many cat adventuring pawrents is a backpack. Why? Because you would be taking this backpack everywhere you go throughout your adventure, AND it will be the safe place for your cat.
There are quite a few options for cat backpacks available on the market these days, I would recommend you to take a look and decide which option is the best for you depending on the following considerations.
Do you feel comfortable while strapping the backpack on your back? Is it providing you with enough back support?
Does the backpack fit your cat’s size and weight?
Does the backpack have compartments for other cat adventuring essentials?
Does the backpack provide top surface if your cat enjoys to ride on top of the backpack instead of staying inside?
It is critical to find a backpack which is comfortable for both you and your cat, as you would be accompanying each other throughout the journey. Your cat’s safe space would be the backpack, and you would be the carrier of his/her safe space.
If you have not been able to find the perfect one for you, don’t fret! You can look around and try out the different cat backpack options.
We currently have the PetsFit Cat Backpack. It has a large interior which allows Archer to sit inside if he chooses to. At the same time, there is also a wide top surface, which allows him to rest on top if he does not want to miss any interesting things ahead. In addition, there are also two small compartments on the side of the backpack which allows me to put some personal belongings and other cat essentials inside.
I still remember the time we visited Tobermory and hiked up to The Grotto. The entire hike was a total of 15KM, and I carried Archer for, perhaps, 10 KM or so. Thankfully I had the backpack which he was able to stay inside and sleep while being chauffeured around! That’s definitely a life saviour and benefit for the both of us!
Since you have all the key essentials for a cat adventure, it’s never bad to over-prepare for any unexpected situations.
As a responsible pet owner, always bring some litter bags in case your cat has the nature’s calling. Funny enough, Archer is the type of cat who can go anywhere he goes. He’s chosen to do a number two almost anytime we go outside!
Cat wipes are extremely helpful in case you are walking on a dirty or wet trail; it would definitely save you the chore of cleaning your car if you could wipe the little dirty toe beans before your cat gets into the car.
I remember there was one time, Archer slipped into a pile of dirt when the path was quite dirty. He was certainly displeased with the outcome that he became a dirty kitty! Luckily, I had prepared the cat wipes in advance, and was able to come to the rescue to save him and the interior of my car.
The last thing is bring lots and lots of treats to reward your adventure companion! As you two are embarked on the journey of exploring the world, give your cat some treats to let him/her know that they are doing an excellent job. Trust me, they would appreciate it!
Now, you have a list of essential items which are critical for cat adventuring, let’s see how we could better prepare our feline companion for winter adventures. Stay tuned for my next post!