Cat Owners: Let’s Go Hiking! Cats: Yawn

Vladimir has seen more of the U.S. than most Americans. For the past two years, he has visited 50-plus national parks, traveling in a renovated 1989 Toyota motor home with Cees and Madison Hofman and their infant son.

He goes kayaking, hiking and rappelling. Between adventures, he naps, eats and watches the passing scenery out the RV window. He never has to pitch in for gas. As the Hofmans’ cat, Vladimir is excused from sharing the wheel or any other chore of road travel.

American pet owners are taking their cats to the great outdoors, packing kibble, litter boxes and a leash with the rest of the camping gear. For them, the road dog is the family cat.

While most pet cats seldom stray from the comforts of home, these so-called adventure cats are finding their way back into the wild.

To make sure curiosity doesn’t kill the cat, adventurous owners tuck their pets in hiking backpacks—some specially made for pets—or stow them in the prows of kayaks. The most important accoutrement is the leash and harness.

Trying to leash train a cat is tough, time-consuming work, as anyone who’s tried knows. Yet it is a threshold skill for adventure cats, which are prone to darting off trail if left to wander untethered.

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