Being able to bring your cat along with you on adventures is amazing. However, it can be at times stressful – especially if your pet prefers more remote locations. We live in British Columbia, Canada; so just about any trip into the woods means encountering wildlife. Thankfully, I’ve done my fair share in solo hiking/ backpacking to spot, be alert, and recognize the dangers/ signs of wildlife.
I have encountered almost every predator here in BC, except a wolf and a cougar. What’s crazy, I even was charged by momma Moose once!
I have a weekly newsletter focused on everything (adventure) cat related. In there, like to share what cat community finds beneficial, helpful tips/ advice, and talk about common challenges – such as staying safe during your adventures. Plus some wholesome content to brighten your day and kick off your weekend with positive message. Sign up below:
Before we get into the details…
It’s crucial to prioritize wildlife safety during the adventures. Understanding the potential risks and taking necessary precautions will not only keep your pet safe, help preserve the natural habitats you’re exploring, but also keep everyone and every animal safe.
It’s very important to leave no trace wherever you go. That includes picking up after your pets’ 💩💩, especially that cats can carry the parasite Toxoplasma gondii.
By leaving no trace, we keep wildlife wild – remember a fed bear is a dead bear. You might not have bears in your area, however, this rule applies to any animals – you don’t want them to lose that fear of human or become reliant on the food/ garbage we leave behind.
Let’s work together to make our “backyards” safer 💛
When we think of “wildlife”, ticks and fleas usually don’t come to mind. However, I wanted to include this in this post as they can be dangerous to our pets. I created a separate blog post on how you can protect yourself and your pet from those parasites.
Deciding where and when you adventure
By being aware of the wildlife in the area you’re visiting, you can take appropriate measures to keep your pet safe. AllTrails can be a good resource as people often mention in their reviews the wildlife they encountered on the trails.
Another thing to remember is that wildlife is more active during dusk and dawn – so be prepared for that as well.
Wildlife protection equipment
This is the most important point so I wanted to create a separate paragraph on it. It is crucial to follow this if you are exploring bear country or any remote area. You have to remember that cats are prey to those animals so you are more at risk. Research what animals live in your area and get appropriate protection. Bear spray, bear banger, dog spray… you name it.
It’s a difficult situation when you have to use any of those products and you’re alone with a cat. If possible, travel with a buddy so one can take care of the cat. Your cat will get freaked out from the loud noise, so be prepared for that. The bear spray may also irritate your pet’s body so try to be mindful of that and take extra space.
Also, a little sidenote – bear bells don’t work well. They are too quiet to give bears enough notice you’re in the area – until you are in very close proximity. Bears in the wild ignore bear bells, treating them as they would a bird or some other background noise. Some might become curious and decide to check out the source of that noise.
Know how to act
Just like I said in the previous paragraph – cats are prey to some of wildlife so you are more at risk. So know how to act when you spot wildlife – most of the time you give them their space. You really don’t want to startle an animal. But more importantly, know what to do when you encounter a wild animal. And how to deploy the bear spray, or whatever safety equipment you have.
Be safe but don’t get scared
Please don’t get discouraged from exploring the outdoors. It’s the best place to be in! Being prepared is going to add to the positive experience and provide comfort knowing that you have everything needed and know how to act.
Wildlife Safety Tips
Alright, now that we covered the “basics”, let’s get to the meat of the matter (lol). Here are some wildlife safety tips to keep in mind when adventuring with your pet:
1. Keep your pet on a leash: This not only prevents them from chasing after wildlife but also helps you maintain control in case of any unexpected encounters.
2. Stay on designated trails: Straying off the marked paths can disrupt wildlife habitats and increase the risk of encountering dangerous animals – especially ticks.
3. Be cautious of snakes: In areas where venomous snakes are present, keep an eye out for them and avoid tall grass or rocky areas where they may hide.
4. Keep your eyes and ears open: This one definitely comes with experience to be able to recognize different sounds etc. Definitely be attentive to birds – they either get quiet or do a special call when they spot danger.
5. Learn about different poops and tracks: This one is very helpful in my opinion. I can tell a large number of animals from the poop/tracks I spot – even how fresh they are. It’s seriously a great ability – it helps me to decide whether it’s safe to continue with a hike or to turn around.
6. If you can, travel with a buddy: Not only it is safer, but it’s very helpful to have a partner during a wildlife encounter.
Remember, by prioritizing wildlife safety, we can create a harmonious relationship between humans, pets, and the natural world. So, before embarking on your next adventure, take the time to learn about the wildlife in the area and follow these safety tips. Happy exploring!