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10 pieces of gear to keep adventurous cats safe and comfortable when they're outdoors

by Dylan M Parkin 2 months ago in cat
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Lately, a new breed of pet parent is leading the charge to introduce formerly homebound cats to the wide world of adventure. Every cat explorer is a little different. Some love to hike, backpack, and kayak in the wilderness while others prefer walks around the neighborhood, visiting local parks, and taking road trips. No matter how they experience the world beyond their front door, the stimulation and exercise these cats get out of their adventures is invaluable.

To come up with our list of essential adventure cat gear, we consulted seven courageous kitty parents across North America. They guided us through the products they and their adventure cats love — from harnesses and leashes to adventure packs and life jackets — and gave us tips on how to keep cats safe, warm, and hydrated while outdoors.

Here are 9 things to turn your house cat into an adventure cat:

A secure harness your cat won't wiggle out of

There are three types of harnesses for cats: webbed "H-style," vest style, and jacket style. Which will work best for your cat? That all depends on them. "Our cats prefer the H-style harness," said Jen Lauer, parent to adventure cats Noodle and Spaghetti. "The H-style is much more comfortable for them and they can move more freely."

Megan Ferney's feline explorer Leon, meanwhile, does well in RC Pets' Adventure Kitty Harness. "You can adjust the neck and the rib cage straps, which you can't really find in other vest harnesses," she explained. If your cat hasn't worn a harness before, learn how to introduce them to one in our guide to the best cat harnesses.

A leash to keep your adventure cat on the trail

While Vancouver-based Selvynna Tang uses a lightweight six-foot leash on most of her urban adventures with Teddy, on hikes she prefers a 16-foot retractable lead. "He follows better with the long flexi leash," Tang explained. "He can see that I am walking ahead so he should follow me."

Alix Lizaire, an adventure cat parent in Edmonton, Canada, also likes a retractactable leash when exploring with her kitties Sirius and Draco. "We prefer the retractable leashes for adventures because we can keep them closer to us and lock the leash short when they are riding on or in their backpack," she said.

An adventure pack that's comfortable for cat and human

For her smaller adventure cat, Duchess Meow, Rachel Reynolds likes Mr. Peanut's Backpack Carrier. "It fits her perfectly, is able to convert to a carrier with a separate strap, and is airline approved," she explained. "I personally like that her backpack has an extra strap across the chest for added back support."

That added support is essential to Ferney when out on hikes with Leon. She loves the Lyra Cat Pack, which has an adjustable hip belt, adjustable interior shelf for Leon to sit on, and a place to put snacks. "It's by far the best," she said.

A stroller for smooth rolling in urban environments

"Strollers can be a great way to get your cat outside if you are not comfortable wearing a backpack or carrying them," said Lauer. A stroller can also make some cats feel more secure than a backpack.

"A stroller is great for cats that are a bit more skittish or even don't like to walk much," said Sarah Olewski Klassen, parent to explorer cat Gibson. "It's a safe way for them to go around." Gen7Pets Regal Plus Pet Stroller comes with an easy-open, zippered mesh canopy and folds flat for storage.

Cozy layers to keep your adventure cat warm

Fit is the most important thing to look for in feline outerwear, said Tang. You want a sweater or jacket that will cover a pet's whole body and fit comfortably around the chest. For milder winter weather, she likes the RC Pets Baseline Fleece. "For cold winter days, I use the Hurtta Extreme Weather Warmer," Tang added. "It is very well made, very long and reflects the cat's heat back to their body."

To make sure you get the right fit, Lizaire recommends visiting the store to try them on your adventure cat. If that's not possible, carefully measure your kitties before ordering online.

Liquids for hydrating on the go

Several of the adventure cat parents we spoke to mentioned that, although they carry a collapsible bowl to offer their pet water while exploring, they rarely, if ever drink it. To make sure they get the hydration they need, Reynolds, Olewski Klassen, and Tang all offer their cats tasty, lickable treats instead.

"We have found that bringing creamy tube treats like Inaba Churu provide the moisture they need," Reynolds said. When it's hot out, freezing them into cold "Churu pops" can be an added bonus, said Olewski Klassen.

Flea and tick medicine to prevent parasites from hitching a ride

A feline flea and tick treatment is important for keeping cats parasite free during and after their adventures. Lauer, Olewski Klassen and Tang all apply Revolution Plus Topical Solution to their kitties monthly and we chose it as the best topical flea preventive, too.

"I have never seen or pulled a tick off of either of my cats, but they get tick checked after every adventure [and] again the next day, just in case," said Lauer. "I have found ticks on myself though [so it] seems to be working very well for us."

A life jacket for safety on the water

More than one of the adventure cat parents we spoke to uses Travfurler's Baltic Cat Life Jacket when out on the water with their kitties. Janelle Leeson, mom to Atlas and Lyra in Portland, Oregan, likes that the brand tailors their personal flotation device specifically to the dimensions of a cat. The bright vest has reflective tape, adjustable webbing, a handle for lifting, and plenty of buoyancy to keep an overboard cat's head above water.

A first-aid kit, just in case

"I think carrying a first-aid kit is super important," said Lauer, who is studying to become a vet. She makes her own version for Noodle and Spaghetti with staples like alcohol wipes, sterile gauze, and scissors but said that there are plenty of great premade kits available for purchase. Tang even carries one made for humans for her furry explorer, Teddy. If you don't have time to pull your own together, Kurgo's Pet First-Aid Kit is stocked with 50 different items, including tweezers, an ice pack, disposable gloves, and bandages.

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Dylan M Parkin

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