Hiking In The Rain With Adventure Kitten

Willow's Mom

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We get more rain than snow here in the winter. I wasn't sure what Willow would think about it, but decided not to cancel our Sunday hike since she showed curiousity, rather than fear, about a damp place in one of our regular haunts and didn't seem to mind getting her feet muddy.

It was just a brief introduction, but she did fantastic! She's comfortable wearing clothes, so she had no problem with my putting a raincoat on her when we stopped for lunch. I was concerned about kitty claws damaging my own raingear, but something about the texture didn't appeal to her or something so she didn't dig in and used the same velvet paws that she does on naked shoulders.

She walked for a bit, sat on my shoulders for a bit, and when she had enough, she was perfectly fine being put into the cat sling under my raincoat for the trip back to the trailhead and was even purring and making biscuits on my chest.

I'm wondering if anyone else here takes their cats hiking in the rain and can give me advice about rain gear and how to keep this fun for Willow. I'm not sure whether booties would be more trouble than they are worth. I do have an astronaut style backpack on order from eBay that could keep her dry for short hikes if I can get the dogs to carry some of our gear but I'm concerned about her getting enough exercise and mental stimulation if we go that route.

We have a similar style of carrier that fits over my shoulder like a purse and she did fantastic exploring a new town in it. She knows that it is her "safe place" and got back into it when she felt uncomfortable on leash.

I've mostly had indoor-only cats before. This kitten is taking to an adventuring very easily and needs to adjust from being outdoor-only. I appreciate your advice.
 

Purr-fect

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What a wonderful experience that must have been for the two of you.

My boys are ok with snow, but not so happy about rain. Although it would take a loooooong time to soak thru their fur.

As for advice on back packing them or carrying them....no advice there either....they are too darn heavy to carry far.

We will just have to enjoy your stories.
 

CreamsiclePuff

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First let me just say you are awesome for taking your little girl out, and especially out in the rain! Adventure doesn't need to stop because of a little weather in your face. Bring along a towel to smooth her coat and wipe away some wet from time to time and take breaks to allow for cleaning under the protection of a large umbrella for two and bring along some of her favourite nibbles, maybe some dried liver treats or another favourite and stash them along the trail from time to time. That will make her adventure really interesting for her when she finds these tasty treasures along the way and she will really look forward to it, no matter the weather. As far as clothes, the raincoat is perfect, and the sling is great. The bubble window backpack carrier types are good if it starts to really pour, and allows enough room for her to lick her coat dry while she's in there. If she likes string you could dangle some as you walk and let her have a bit of a chase here and there. My boy gets two walks a day and he will not let me forget about it, he absolutely Loves his leash and sits beside it meowing incessantly until I put it on him. He doesn't care about the weather the slightest bit but then he grew up in the wild before he came to me and so I guess he's well used to all sorts of weather. Happy hiking!
 

bengalcatman

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Makena has hiked in all weather. Makena, like many Bengals, has very fine fur and lacks the insulating undercoat that most cats have. We tried many types of outerwear and eventually settled on two jackets.

One is a stretchy fleece for cool days with little wind. It gives a little extra warmth and allows freedom of movement.

On days when I am not sure if he really needs a jacket, I tuck this one in my pocket and bring it along just in case. Makena will either ask for it by wanting to get picked up and held (for warmth) or by the occasional shiver.

The other jacket is a fleece that we had a custom nylon cover made and sewn onto. This one blocks wind, and holds a lot more heat for cold, snowy weather.


It also offers fair rain protection, but Makena generally wants to head home if it starts raining.


While the jacket helps keep his core warm and dry, eventually his head, legs and hind quarters become wet and he gets cold. In a downpour I put him inside my jacket.

We tried jackets that offered additional protection by covering him more, but he got frustrated by the extra restriction. We also found that there is a fine line between "just snug enough to hold heat" and "too tight."

This reminds me of a story... Once we were about a mile or so away from the car on a fall hike, when a sudden rainstorm hit. I put a soaked Makena into my jacket and headed back. At first, Makena purred loudly, enjoying my warmth and the dry shelter of my jacket. Then he poked his head out to see what was going on... and gave a loud hiss at the heavy rain before tucking his head back in. He started purring again...then stuck his head out to hiss at the rain again, then back in to purr. This went on all the way back to the car..... every minute or so he stuck his head out to hiss at the rain. I imagine those hisses translate into words that can't be used in a family friendly forum!



Makena likes his jackets. He figured out that they let him stay out for a long time on days where he would only last 10 minutes or so before shivering.

To find jackets, we take Makena to Petsmart and try different ones on. The garments sold for cats don't fit him, we ended up using small dog jackets. The selection changes often, so we check back now and again to see if there is anything new that might work. As I mentioned earlier, we had the nylon one made for him - we could never find a rain jacket that came close to fitting. We settled on a fleece that was just a little loose, and had the cover made and sewn on. Of note: if the belly of the jacket is too loose and hangs just a tiny bit lower than what you see in the pics, back paws will get caught in it at times - REALLY frustrating for Makena!

We debated using a Gortex or a similar waterproof/breathable for his custom jacket, but ultimately decided against it. We had bought a Gortex jacket for him that just covered his back and sides, and found that he got very wet from his own sweat even on dry days. Maybe cats sweat more than people? Or the ratio of body surface area to heat (heat helps move water molecules through Gortex) was insufficient? So we just used a plain breathable nylon which is not fully waterproof but offers about 45 minutes to an hour of protection before soaking through.

A wet jacket and harness drying by the wood stove





Over the years, Makena has (thankfully!) become less enthusiastic about hiking during inclement weather. He used to drag me out in nearly any weather for a hike. A little older and wiser, he is now content to wait for better conditions.

Snowstorms are best enjoyed by napping on a warm ledge behind the woodstove!
 
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Willow's Mom

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We got caught out in a downpour once and she did fantastic, so tomorrow I am planning on deliberately taking her up to Headwaters with "PM Rain" predicted. She loves exploring after a storm and stayed outside of my raincoat for a long time the last time so there is no reason to leave her behind.

She's wearing the same cheap reflective raincoat that my dogs wear now that she's grown into (and out of the smaller sizes of) it. I don't think she needs as many layers under it as a Chihuahua mix. I haven't tried booties.

To be bluntly honest, the kitten is handling the weather better than my younger dog so far.
 
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