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The only thing separating you from bringing your cat hiking is a little technique and a little patience. Army veteran Stephen Simmons should know. He’s taken his 2-year-old cat Burma on hundreds of backcountry adventures, including to the summit of California’s Mt. Shasta. Here are his best tips for following in their pawprints.
1. Start ’em young.
Find a friendly, confident kitten; expose him to frequent travel. “If a cat grows up on the go,” Simmons says, “he can learn to be comfortable anywhere.”
2. Keep ’em safe.
This is critical, because kitty-eating predators abound. Predators abound. Burma wears a radio transmitter collar while he hikes, sleeps in a carrier near Simmons at night, and explores camp on a 6-foot length of p-cord so Simmons can easily fish him out of whatever tangle of branches or tree he ends up in. Burma sleeps in his carrier right next to Simmons. Also, mind the sky: Eagles, hawks, and even big owls will make a meal out of a cat.
3. Be realistic.
“If you want to get from A to B, you’ll probably have to carry him a lot,” Simmons explains. “Save the wandering for camp.” Burma rides in a soft-sided carrier attached to the top of Simmons’s pack with carabiners (the higher it sits, the more stable it’ll be). How adorable is that?