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Backpacking with animals? How about a cat?
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Cody Croslow
(Graelb) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Backpacking with animals? How about a cat? on 02/17/2012 15:14:18 MST Print View

So... Looking online, I've seen one guy who backpacked across the us (or europe, can't remember now) with a cat on his shoulders, on top of his pack. I have a bengal, will be a year old in august, and am working on training him to sit, stay, jump to my shoulder, etc. Keep in mind, I will only take him if i know he'll listen to me regardless of the situation. AND I'll take him on a 10' leash attached to a jacket, and keep him with me at all times. Besides just calling me crazy, is there anyone who has seen this done? or suggestions or other feedback?

Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Re: Backpacking with animals? How about a cat? on 02/17/2012 15:18:33 MST Print View

I've heard of people bringing cats on the AT. I wish I could bring my parrot but that would be a disaster.

Edited by sbhikes on 02/17/2012 15:20:47 MST.

Link .
(annapurna) - MLife
Re: Backpacking with animals? How about a cat? on 02/17/2012 15:42:31 MST Print View

Edited by annapurna on 02/17/2012 15:52:02 MST.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Backpacking with animals? How about a cat? on 02/17/2012 15:50:09 MST Print View

I realize that there are a few cats that would tolerate this. Most won't. Dogs are much better on a trail.

I realize that you are fond of your cat, but maybe the cat would be happier if it stayed at home and kept in contact by email.


Nico .
(NickB) - MLife

Locale: Los Padres National Forest
Homeless dude on 02/17/2012 16:10:29 MST Print View

I know this isn't a perfect match, but there was a homeless dude hanging around Santa Barbara for a while who was something of a minor celebrity. He traveled around and did his thing with his pets, who included a dog, a cat and a rat.

The relevant part is that he had trained all three animals to be good travlers and in fact, had even trained the cat to lay across the dogs back while walking and the rat to lay sit on top of the cat (while it was laying on the dog). You can probably google him; apparently the same guy (and his pets) lived in Aspen for a while too.

Sounds crazy and it pretty much was, but I guess that's a round about way of saying it might be possible to train and backpack with a cat...

Hk Newman
(hknewman) - MLife

Locale: Western US
Felines ... On the trail on 02/17/2012 17:14:36 MST Print View

One older backpacker I knew was persuaded by his kids to take a couple kittens on the trail back in the early 70s. He said he sewed stuff sacks on his shoulder straps and they were fine, just they'd poo in the sacks. I'm sure it was an adventure but an adult cat can weigh 10 lbs and up, so not sure there's an ultralight solution. They also sleep most of the day (some ladies I knew did their senior biology thesis watching their cats - might have been lazy cats though). Sounds like someone would need an external frame load monster topped with a heavy mesh cat carrier, most cats are ambush predators so a cat might really enjoy that arrangement with some training/bribery. I won't test it out, however, so take it with a grain of salt (or better yet, try it out in a park or something). I've also read where cats will claw at netting, so maybe no mesh???

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Backpacking with animals? How about a cat? on 02/17/2012 17:24:30 MST Print View

I had a co-worker who trained a cat to dump in the toilet AND to flush. Became a problem with California water rationing.

And I've got a friend with the most extraordinarily trained cats. The come when called, line up for dinner because they know there are consequences for misbavior. But her ex worked with Fisher (the original positive/negative-reinforcement guy), she raised all her kids like that and even trained a goldfish to come when called. I'm not that good or patient enough to put in the hours to turn a cat into a dog.

I suspect you'd also get more pushback from park officials concerned about wildlife predation. And when your cat mets someone else's dog? That might not be pretty.

If you go this route, START SMALL. Proof of concept in the yard. City parks, etc. Don't commit to a week without doing an overnight, etc.

Cody Croslow
(Graelb) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: on 02/18/2012 12:37:33 MST Print View

Oh absolutely start small, I wouldn't even dream of taking him out unless I knew he was okay and comfortable with it. Both of our cats are already trained to use the toilet, but I will not allow them to flush, I'd keep my water bill low, thank you... It's super nice not having the litter around anymore!

I didn't really think about the weight thing. He'll probably be 10-15lbs by the time he's fully done growing!

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: on 02/18/2012 12:40:19 MST Print View

"He'll probably be 10-15lbs by the time he's fully done growing!"

You have to figure that into your base weight, so that knocks out ultralightweight.

Plus, you have to add some extra weight into consumables for cat food. Realistically, you can't expect a cat to eat freeze-dried.


David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: backpacking with cats on 02/18/2012 15:10:44 MST Print View

If you train the cat to hike, and then eat it for dinner, that would actually reduce your skin out weight.

Ryan C
(radio_guy) - MLife

Locale: Alaska
Backpacking Cats on 02/18/2012 22:01:56 MST Print View

My kitty cat hikes faster than I do so the whole idea would be a no go. Forget trying to feed her freeze dried food. It would make for some interesting photography though.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Backpacking Cats on 02/18/2012 22:03:37 MST Print View

Use a feline helmet cam.


Leslie Thurston
(lesler) - F

Locale: right here, right now
"Backpacking with animals? How about a cat?" on 02/20/2012 06:18:16 MST Print View

it can be done, and in fact was done last year by a dude on the AT. to search
i believe the cat was 'sir',
though hikers' name eludes me.

meanwhile i've seen a dogsledding documentary of a woman whom mushes with a maine
coot cat draped 'round her neck!

my cat of 10 years whom i lost last summer
was an ideal backpacking candidate
(though i'm not sure how he'd fare in temp. extremes)

though i'm not sure about a leash...
tug, tug?