Leon is an adventure kitty who has enabled his humans combine their love of the outdoors and him, and discover new exciting trails.
Leon loves going on adventures in nature.
He loves his catnip stuffed squirrel made by Kong. He also loves the six dollar cat tunnel from a grocery outlet, and an upside down Kirkland Brats box from Costco.
What kind of adventures does Leon go on?
We go hiking on the local trails, have been to the Oregon coast and the Columbia Gorge, and to the top of Mount Spokane.
Leon has also been camping, skateboarding, kayaking, and stand up paddle boarding.
His favorite things to do are chasing bugs and rolling in dirt.
Tell us about your most memorable adventure.
One of our most memorable adventures was a 6 hour road trip to Portland Oregon, and then three days at the Oregon coast, then hiking in the Columbia River Gorge. We stayed with a friend and in a cat friendly motel.
Why did you decide to train Leon?
I live in a tiny 320 square-foot house. Definitely not big enough for a cat to be happy, so I knew I needed to get him out side somehow.
At the time I didn’t know there were such things as catexplorers, so I thought I was one of the first people to ever harness train a cat. Boy was I wrong!
It has been awesome to connect with other catexplorers and their people from all over the world on Instagram. I have been inspired to do a lot more with Leon then I initially thought.
How did you train Leon?
I used to train horses, and it’s really not much different.
Go slow, reward the good, make it fun. Know when you can push a little harder and know when to back off.
I started by putting the harness on Leon and then tempting him with his favorite string toy which he, as a kitten, could absolutely not resist. Pretty soon he was chasing it all over the house and discovered he could move just fine with a harness on.
I put the harness on for longer amount of time every day.
The first time I took him out side with a harness and leash we went to the back yard and sat in a chair. He never got down.
By the end of the week he was confidently exploring the entire yard so we went on our first big trail adventure to a golf course that had shut down for the season and had lots of perimeter trails.
What has been the most rewarding part of having a catexplorer?
One of the coolest things to happen is that I have discovered all kinds of trails in my area that I didn’t know existed before.
Leon has a lot of energy so I try to take him out as often as possible. Although I’ve always liked hiking, and even climbed Mount Adams last summer, it was not something I did for fun on a regular basis until I got Leon.
I love adventuring and trying new things and hiking with a cat definitely accomplishes of those two things.
What has been the hardest?
One of the hardest things has been knowing that there is no fool proof harness that a cat couldn’t get out of it they really tried.
Aggressive unleashed dogs also make me nervous.
I feel like the level of danger taking my cat hiking is outweighed by the benefits and quality of life.
What advice would you give other humans training their catexplorers?
When you start taking your cat out on trails, the most important thing is to find a quiet one with the least amount of traffic.
Cats like small narrow trails that go through bushes or the woods or rocks, they don’t like being in open exposed spaces. It is much easier to get your cat to walk on a trail than a say in a park.
I take a backpack with me on trails to put Leon in when he doesn’t want to walk anymore or when he gets scared.
We have had to adjust our schedule a lot since summer began because of the heat. Leon really struggles in warm and hot temperatures and will start open mouth panting which is somewhat terrifying the first time it happens. I have a cooling collar for him which seems to help a bit, and I also put an ice pack in the backpack. I always take water and a small compact water dish.
Is there another Catexplorer that inspires you?