Meet our guest stars of the week – Adventure Rio the cat (plus cute features of her brother, Bruce the dog). Rio and her parents love to go camping.
Check out their story below! Hope you enjoy reading about adventurous Rio and her family.
How did you and your kitty meet?
My husband and I met in Amsterdam when we were both getting our Master’s degrees. He is from Colorado and I am from Sweden, and long story short – in August 2016, after we had graduated, we moved to Colorado together.
We both really wanted to get a cat but we had to wait until we found jobs and a place of our own.
In April 2017 we had just moved into our first apartment and my family had just visited from Sweden.
The day they went back to Sweden I was feeling a little down since I knew it would be a while until I would see them again, so the next day we visited a few shelters in order to cheer ourselves up.
During our shelter tour, we randomly heard about a lady who had found an abandoned litter of kittens and needed to find homes for them.
We contacted the lady, went to her place, and all of a sudden the cutest little kitten popped its head out of a bag and melted our hearts.
She was just around 6-7 weeks old, super tiny and with an eye infection, but we fell in love immediately and brought her home that same day!
When did you know you had an “adventure cat” on your hands?
We had never heard the term “adventure cat” when we started harness-training Rio, we just wanted to be able to bring her with us when we go camping instead of leaving her alone at home!
So we started harness-training her and bringing her outside when she was really young, to see if it would work, and then when we brought her camping the first time she absolutely loved it! I think that’s when we knew she was an adventure cat.
Did you train your cat as a kitten? What was that like?
The only training we did with Rio was harness-training. We started when she was about 3 months old by putting the harness on her indoors for short periods of time.
She was fine with it almost right away (probably because she was so young), so we quickly started bringing her outdoors with the harness.
We always brought her carrier so she had a safe place to retreat to if she got overwhelmed, but she was a fearless little kitty who loved exploring!
What made you want to explore with your cat? (Other than the fact that its pawsome).
We both really love camping and didn’t want to have to leave her alone at home or at someone else’s place while we went on camping trips. So instead we decided to bring her with us!
What was your first adventure together?
Our first real adventure together was a camping trip in White River National Forest here in Colorado on the 4th of July, 2017!
Rio was 3.5 months old and absolutely loved climbing trees and chasing bugs. At night she snuggled up between us inside our 2 person sleeping bag and it was just the best experience ever!
Where are your favorite places to explore with your cat?
We love exploring national forests because they have less restrictive pet policies than national parks.
We also prefer less crowded hikes, and when we go camping, we rarely camp in campsites, but instead, we find a remote spot in a national forest somewhere we can be alone!
What’s your go-to travel gear for your cat?
We always bring her harness, leash, backpack, wet food (she normally eats kibble but when we go on adventures we feed her wet food so she stays hydrated), collapsible litter box, litter and food, and water bowls.
Have you ever had a scary or challenging situation while traveling with your cat?
There’s one that I can think of. We were hiking in Boulder, Colorado in an area where all pets must be leashed, and Rio was walking around sniffing things and enjoying herself as usual.
All of a sudden two big off-leash dogs come running towards her and she started running towards the trees, but I ran after her, picked her up, and put her in her backpack.
At that point, the dogs had almost caught up with us, but they just kept running past us until they disappeared.
One of the main reasons why we prefer bringing Rio to less crowded hikes and campsites is that people don’t always respect leash laws, and it puts people and pets in danger.
What are your best tips for training your cat?
My best tips for training a cat to become an explorer is to be patient, take it slowly and gradually, and to always provide a safe space for your cat in case they get spooked (like a carrier, a backpack, or even your arms/shoulders).
Spend a lot of time with your cat, both at home and adventuring, so that you build a strong bond and your cat learns to trust you.
Don’t expect your kitty to be an amazing hiker right away — it takes time.
Get to know your cat and learn to read its body language so that you know if it’s happy, tired, scared or playful to make your adventures as successful as possible!
Also — if your cat is food motivated, a good way to encourage them while you’re teaching them to enjoy the outdoors is by rewarding them with treats.
Have you ever traveled abroad with your feline? If so, which airline did you use?
We have not traveled abroad with Rio yet.
What’s the farthest you’ve been with your cat?
Rio has only been in Colorado so far, but almost all over the state! I think the longest she’s been in the car in one go is probably 7-8h.
We are planning on bringing her even further and to other states in the future!
Do you have a favorite cat café or a cat-friendly business that you know of?
No. We don’t do a lot of urban exploring since we all prefer remote places in nature instead!
Tell us about your dream adventure together, where would you and your cat go?
I have two dream adventures that I’d want to take Rio on. The first one is bringing her to Sweden, where I’m from, so she can explore the places where I grew up and meet my friends and family!
The other dream adventure is to go on a national parks road trip across America, but that one might be a bit hard to achieve since so many national parks have very restrictive pet policies.
Describe your best OR worst experience traveling with your kitty. What happened?
I think the best experience traveling with Rio was the first time we took her and Bruce camping together.
We got a puppy, Bruce, when Rio was almost 2 years old, and we were really hoping they’d get along and that they’d become adventure buddies, but we were also a little nervous that it wouldn’t work out.
They quickly became friends and in April 2019 we brought them camping together for the first time near Great Sand Dunes National Park here in Colorado.
They both absolutely loved it! They hiked together all day, and then they snuggled in the tent at night!
Since then we’ve brought them camping together several times and Rio is becoming an even better hiker thanks to Bruce because she follows him and tries to keep up! They are an awesome adventure duo!
Do you have any last tips or advice for first-timers exploring with their cat?
Have patience, make your cat feel safe, and do it for the right reasons — see it as a way to spend a lot of quality time with your cat, not as a way to become Insta famous.
(It might lead to both, but if you focus too much on taking pictures and not enough on making your cat feel safe and happy, it probably won’t go well, and it won’t be as enjoyable for you and your cat).
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