In the perennial debate of “cat people” versus “dog people,” a common point in favor of dogs is their suitability as hiking companions, a role typically not associated with cats.
However, Juliet Turner, a 25-year-old Oxford PhD student, is challenging this notion through her Instagram account, @adventuresofcasperthecat. Her posts showcase her hiking escapades in the Welsh mountains with her cat, Casper.
Turner speaks fondly of hiking with Casper, noting his detailed attention to the environment. She credits Casper with enhancing her own appreciation of nature, from the intricacies of autumn leaves to the lively crickets. She finds joy in watching Casper, formerly an indoor cat, discover and interact with the natural world.
Juliet’s journey with Casper began when she adopted him from a family relocating. Despite being informed that Casper was a Maine Coon, their bond centered around hiking.
Juliet recalls a memorable trip to North Wales, highlighting Casper’s preference for sheltered environments like heathlands or woodlands.
She notes that Casper, unlike dogs, prefers not to be in open spaces like fields. His adventurous spirit led them to explore craggy terrains and even a cave.
Introducing Casper to a harness and leash was a gradual process, facilitated by positive reinforcement with treats. Now, Casper wears an extendable leash, allowing him freedom while ensuring his safety.
Turner, ever vigilant on their hikes, remains cautious of off-leash dogs. In such encounters, she prioritizes Casper’s safety by moving away or carrying him.
For cat owners inspired to take their feline friends hiking, Turner recommends a slow, patient approach. She emphasizes the importance of using a harness and an extendable leash, noting that cats require a different approach than dogs, given their distinct instincts and preferences.
Her experience with Casper demonstrates that, with patience and understanding, cats can be as much a part of the hiking experience as their canine counterparts.