Hiking with cats is extremely popular among outdoor enthusiasts. While the idea of walking a cat on a leash would once have been laughed at. It is now a method that is gaining popularity. Some breeds are easier to train and more active, making them the perfect companion for your walk.
The best cats for hiking are:
- Cornish Rex
- Egyptian Mau
- Japanese Bobtail
Keep reading as we’ll go into more detail as to why these cats are an excellent breed for hiking and other outdoor activities.
It’s important to say that you can’t train any cat to hike with you – it depends on their breed and personality – but many cats will enjoy exploring the great outdoors, and with a little bit of training, you’ll be well on your way.
The reason why Abyssinians make great hiking buddies is two-fold. On the one hand, they are an extremely active breed that loves to play around, learn new tricks, and show their agility.
On the other hand, these loyal felines don’t like being left alone for too long, so allowing them to accompany you on a hike provides the best of both worlds.
The Balinese are descendants of the Siamese thanks to a genetic mutation in the latter; these two breeds have much in common. A Balinese is a curious, playful, and friendly cat, and thanks to their high level of intelligence, they are easier to train than many other breeds.
Positive reinforcement works well for the Balinese, so plenty of treats for good behavior will encourage them during your hike.
A Bengal may look exotic, but they are a pure domestic breed who love to be around people. They have a few “wild” qualities but are easy to train and will happily go for a walk alongside you.
Sometimes called “the greyhound of the cat world,” the Cornish Rex is a speedy and agile breed with a sleek appearance and a characteristic galloping run. This breed is intelligent and adventurous, so it will love learning new skills and exploring outside with you.
The Egyptian Mau is the fastest domestic cat breed in the world and can reach speeds of up to 48 km/h. They are an active and curious breed making them the perfect travel companion, and their adaptable nature means that they are easy to train.
This breed will love to explore the great outdoors with you and will enjoy jumping up onto high surfaces with the help of its powerful legs.
The main characteristic that makes a Japanese Bobtail ideal for hiking is that they are incredibly friendly and love to be around people. So not only will they love going on an adventure with you, but they’ll enjoy spending time meeting other people as well.
This tailless cat is extremely playful and active and will often tire out its owners due to its athletic skills and boundless energy. For this reason, they will love to accompany you on a hike and won’t tire as quickly as other breeds.
Plus, hiking will provide a suitable outlet for their energy, so they don’t get bored or destructive of your home.
The Ocicat is another wild-looking cat that possesses entirely domestic DNA. Its unique spotted appearance makes it look similar to the ocelot which it was named after, but this breed’s personality is entirely domestic, with its friendly and sociable nature.
That being said, it is one of the most powerful and fast breeds on the list, but if you’re up for the challenge, an Ocicat will love spending time with you and accompany you on a hike.
The Savannah is a cross between a domestic cat and a serval, and it’s this latter ancestor that provides the breed with its lithe and athletic characteristics. This breed can climb and jump into high places, and they love to explore the great outdoors.
This breed is one of the most talkative and active felines, and though they have a reputation for clowning around, they love to learn new tricks. Sure, they may be a little silly and playful along the way, but they’ll train in new skills quickly and have enough energy to keep up with you.
As the long-haired version of the Abyssinian, the Somali is just as easy to train as its cousin. In addition, these cats are affectionate and active, making them great companions for a hike – not only that, they’re very easy to train on a leash.
How Do I Prepare My Cat For A Hike?
The breeds above are all suitable candidates for a feline hiking partner, but you can’t just dump a trek on them one day and hope they’ll take to it (most definitely won’t!) Instead, you need to train them in smaller tasks before taking a proper hike.
The first step in preparing your cat for a hike is getting them used to wearing a harness and walking on a leash. As far as the harness is concerned, it needs to fit their body snuggly so that they cannot escape from it, but not be so tight that it’s uncomfortable for them.
It’s also a good idea to purchase a brightly colored harness or add some LED lights to their existing one to make them easier to spot if they happen to wander off.
Importantly, check that your walk is suitable for cats and that the weather will be comfortable for your feline. Shorthair cats may struggle if it’s too cold or too sunny – for the latter, make sure you apply a layer of sun cream to their body.
Longhair cats may struggle in the heat, and as many are banned from swimming areas, you’ll need to think about how you’re going to keep them cool.
What Vaccinations Does My Cat Need To Go On A Hike?
There aren’t any specific vaccines that your cat requires to go for a hike, but for any cat exposed to outdoor elements, keeping up to date with standard vaccines is incredibly important to prevent diseases from other animals.
Most cats receive their vaccines every four weeks between the ages of six and eight months. Once they are adults, they’ll only need booster vaccines every three years. Ensure your cat is up to date with vaccines before taking them on a hike.
- Rabies – to protect your cat in the event of a wild animal bite.
- Panleukopenia – is spread by the body fluids, feces, and fleas of other animals.
- Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis – protects against feline influenza, coryza, and pneumonia. This is particularly important if your feline spends a lot of time around other cats.
- Feline Calicivirus – this is another vaccination that is important for cats in the regular company of other felines.
- Feline Leukemia – This is essential. If your cat is exposed to this at a campsite, it could be deadly without a vaccine.
How Long Can I Hike With My Cat?
The optimum distance to hike with a cat is around one to two miles, though some cats will walk further. You’ll be able to tell when your cat is getting tired as they’ll become sluggish and unwilling to follow you any longer. At this point, you’ll want to have a cat carrier on hand to transport them the rest of the distance.
Many people consider cats an unlikely walking companion; however, many breeds will love to join you for a hike in the great outdoors. Start small and work your way up to longer walks assessing how far is enough for your kitty and whether or not it’s something they enjoy.