Before you begin your search for your perfect feline friend, there are lots of thing to consider, especially if that four-legged friend is going to be an Adventure Cat. This is a small list of things to think about before you welcome an Adventure Cat into your life, along with a few things we have learned from our experience exploring with our kitties.
- What types of adventures are you hoping to go on?
Are you an avid hiker? Do you enjoy long backcountry trips or prefer RV camping? Do your trips involve biking, kayaking, swimming, etc? These are all things to consider. Some activities are easier to bring cats along on and others will prove to be much more difficult. Determining ahead of time which activities you hope to bring the cat along for will help you choose what personality type to look for as well as help to narrow down the kind of training you will need to do early on. For example, a lot of cats don’t like water. If kayaking is one of your favorite activities you may want to expose the kitten to water as early and as often as possible.
- Older cat or kitten?
Adopting an older cat with the intent of taking it on adventures is difficult but not always impossible. There are plenty of cats in the shelter and I think if you don’t have super high expectations this is totally an option. It may surprise you and become a natural meowntaineer, or it may just be happy to roam the backyard on a leash. Adopting a kitten will be easier in many aspects, however you may want to adopt a certain kind of kitten… which brings me to my next point.
- If you choose to begin your kitten search, are you willing to adopt an “active” kitten?
We adopted both Fish and Chips when they were quite young. They have very different personalities. We knew from day one Fish would be a natural adventure cat. Chips on the other hand, was a rescue and is more of a “normal cat”. He still loves certain aspects of the adventure cat lifestyle such as car rides, short hikes, riding on the backpack and hanging out in quiet outdoor spaces. However, he is much more timid and not nearly as adventurous as Fish, nor is he as wild. If we haven’t had the chance to get them out for a walk or hike, Chips’ behavior at home generally doesn’t change. He may stay awake for longer periods of time and wander around the house more frequently, but nothing too crazy. Fish on the other hand, goes bonkers. A few days without outside exercise and Fish is constantly climbing the curtains, jumping all over the countertops, nipping at our heels and whatever other destructive activity he can occupy himself with. We knew he would be like this when we adopted him. Even though he was just a tiny kitten he was already climbing pant legs and running around terrorizing his sisters. We thought he was perfect, but not everyone would. It’s super important to think hard about what kind of cat you want before you adopt a kitten. You can’t always tell how they will turn out but often you can. Make sure the personality fits your lifestyle. This also helps prevent cats from ending up in shelters when the cute kitten phase wears off.
- How much free time do you have?
Especially in the beginning, training an adventure cat can take a lot of time out of your week. We would try to take them out to a local park at the very least twice a week and then do a longer hike on the weekend. Make sure you’re ready for this kind of commitment before you adopt. If you’re not, an adventure cat might not be right for you, which is totally ok! There are plenty of cats in the shelters that just want a comfy couch to sleep on and a human willing to feed and care for them.
- Do you have other pets?
This is important to consider before adopting any animal. Getting a second kitten was a great decision for us but it doesn’t always work out. If you have another pet make sure to consider its personality, age and gender before adopting another. There are plenty of great articles online regarding the best way to introduce new pets as well.
This one is a little less obvious but equally important. If you live somewhere mild like we do it’s not really a problem. We can take our cats out comfortably pretty much year round. But if you live somewhere extremely hot or cold you’ll have to consider a) what types of adventures you can safely do and b) what type of cat would be more suitable, for example: long hair for colder climates and short hair for warmer ones.
- How patient are you?
This is HUGE. You need to be patient when training a cat. A cat is NOT A DOG. Repeat that over and over forever. Regardless of all the awesome photos you see on our instagram of our cats doing “dog things”, they are not dogs. They can be insanely stubborn and some days they just will not do what you want. If carrying 15lbs of frustrated cat (with very sharp claws) on your backpack doesn’t sound like something you would be okay with, an adventure cat may not be the right fit for you.
- Are you okay with looking a “little” crazy?
I’m half kidding, but people will give you funny looks. A lot. Some will think it’s awesome and want to take pictures and hear your story, while others may be less amused. We get all sorts of comments. It’s important to be able to laugh at yourself but you also need to be able to brush off some of the negativity. It doesn’t happen very often but we have had people who were less than thrilled with us bringing our cats on a so-called “trail for dogs”.
- Are you prepared?
In addition to all of the items you’ll need to purchase for a “normal” kitten, you will also need to find a good harness. We recommend the “Petsafe Easy Walk Come With Me Kitty” harness for kittens, as it’s the most adjustable and hardest to slip out of that we’ve found. That being said, every kitty is different so find the one that works for you! Food choice is also extra important. All kitties need a healthy diet but be aware that yours will be burning more calories than your average housecat. Unless your kitty is Chips… he somehow still manages to be a pudgy little thing despite his active lifestyle. So make sure to pick out a high quality, high protein premium cat food and research all of the options. Some people may want to feed raw food, which is normally a fantastic option. However, we ended up going with the best dry food we could find instead because bringing frozen raw on our adventures just didn’t seem feasible. Regardless, pick what works for you and your adventure cat!
I hope this helps you decide whether or not an adventure cat is in your future!
Outside Cat Club