Saturday, February 16, 2013
Hiking with Cats
Now dogs are a no brainer. Other than slobbering all over everyone you meet on the trail, and barking at everything that moves which scares all the wildlife away, dogs are relatively easy to train to walk with you. Some even carry their own little packs.
Now I can just see my cat Mingo walking on a leash. I would estimate his speed at about 0.001 miles/hour. You see, he has to stop and sniff everything, which is an improvement over barking, if you ask me.
Next, his belly just about drags the ground. Yup, you guessed it: he has that most dreaded of all feline conditions: gravy belly. So putting a pack on him wouldn't work too well. He's already carrying one underneath. The good news is that his incredibly soft belly makes a wonderful pillow at night, and it's even self-plumping! You can't beat that for comfort.
But Mingo's also terrified of strangers. So we'd have to find a pretty unpopulated trail to walk. Or crawl, as the case may be. If we did come upon another hiker, I'd have to put a sock over his head, so he wouldn't freak out. 'Course, that might speed him up a little, although it would probably be in reverse.
And that's the other good news. Cats are much lighter than most dogs, so they're easier to carry in your backpack when they get too tired or spooked to continue walking on their own, which is frequent. I challenge the owners of German Shepherds, or Old English Sheep dogs, or Dobermans to transport their dogs in a backpack.
Cats, being much smarter than dogs, can fake fatigue quite nicely, earning them a free ride in your pack.