Where does your kitty like to hang out at the weekend? For most cats, the answer probably involves a couch and a good deal of napping, but this black and white feline has a different idea.
Paul is a 2-year-old cat, from Aurora, Colo., who loves to go hiking and climbing with his parents, Russ and Andrea McMillen. This summer, the three of them conquered Colorado’s Grays Peak, whose summit reaches to 14,278 feet.
This amazing cat made it up the mountainside on his leash, taking occasional naps inside a mesh backpack the McMillens turned into a “catpack” for Paul to rest his paws. Apparently he had no problem with the altitude, which is certainly not true of many hikers.
There are 54 mountains in Colorado with summits over 14,000 feet. I have made it up just one of them, Longs Peak, and it was a pretty arduous climb. I can’t imagine doing it on all fours and in a fur coat!
Photo Credit: Paul the Cat
How easy is it to train a cat in the ways of hiking and climbing? As I know from experience, many cats hate the very idea of a harness and a leash. At the age of 10, my son managed to get our cat Snowshoe into a harness, but then couldn’t get her to budge from her spot on the doorstep.
So what tips do Paul’s parents offer?
They started training him early on, teaching him whistle commands and how to adjust to a leash.
“He gets distracted by things that scurry or fly … he simply wants to explore. We can get him back on track with a quick whistle,” says Andrea. “He is still young so he likes to explore a lot, we take him everywhere from [Colorado] open space, to vacations in the mountains and even Utah and Wyoming.”
She also urges owners to be endlessly patient, and to remember that cats are unique: “They aren’t dogs. They are going to want to check out everything and move a little slower.”
Paul explains it all himself on his Facebook page:
Yes, I hike 14ers with my people. Other people think they are crazy but I love expanding my territory and seeing new places! Plus, they carry me in my backpack when I’m tired so I can see new places without breaking a sweat.
A little history and how I became such an adventurous cat. I was born on the streets, in an alley to be more precise, by the Platte River in Denver. My dad found me when I was 8 weeks old, I was the last surviving kitten in my litter.
My favorite adventure is camping and exploring the mountains with my parents. Don’t worry my parents are very careful (they ruin everything fun) and never let me out on a lead too long or let me off the leash because I have a tenancy to want to explore in the hardest to reach places and I am not always aware that there are bigger dangers lurking in the woods.
I hope you like seeing my adventures as much as I like going on them. .
What do you think? Is it a good idea to take a cat hiking? Would you take your kitty on such an adventure?
Photo Credit: Paul the Cat