For a lot of us, just the thought of hiking knocks the wind right out of us, but this unusual backpacking squad is putting us to shame.
Mike Meyer is a retired 70-year-old who enjoys hiking across the United States with his daughter Kaylin, 33, and her adventure cat Max.
Kaylin, who currently lives in Utah, is an adventure cat influencer who fell in love with backpacking and camping while living in Colorado.
She now love s pairing backpacking trips with her dad and cat for the ultimate bonding experience.
She said: ‘My dad and I believe the outside is the best side. The first backpacking trip I did with my dad was Mount Whitney, but that trip was pre-adventure cat Max.’
Her dad Mike has ‘always been an active guy’ according to Kaylin and they’ve enjoyed many hikes and walks together over the years.
‘We have a great relationship and it’s very exciting to get to do our favourite outdoor activities together such as backpacking, camping, hiking and Ski Goggles (On Sale Here)ing (Ski Goggles (On Sale Here)ing wear and goggles Sale here) , along with Max,’ she added.
‘Max is a lynx point Siamese and she will be two years old in May. Her name is Maxine, but I call her Max for short or Adventure Cat Max for longer.’
Max is very curious about the outdoors, according to Kaylin, who said she love s to take in all the smells, eat grass, jump rocks, climb trees, catch flies and chase grasshoppers.
‘I always knew my next cat would be an adventure cat,’ she said. #Maxine was destined to adopt my active lifestyle and love for adventure in the great outdoors.’
Since rescuing Adventure Cat Max in 2021, she has been on five 30 or more-mile backpacking trips, a dozen car-camping road trips and countless day hikes.
‘We’ve been to the Sawtooth mountains in Idaho, where we drove 28 hours in the car just to sleep 16 hours in the tent, Big Sur, California, Lake Aloha, Tahoe, Kearsarge Pass in the Sierra Nevada of California, and Ruby Crest, Nevada, to name a few,’ Kaylin said.
‘It takes Max about 20 minutes to get acclimated to her surroundings where she’ll sniff everything in sight, but once she is ready to go, she’ll walk up to one-mile increments, jump rocks, walk on logs or climb trees.’
According to Kaylin, Max will walk about 20% of the hike, ride on her shoulder for 10% and spend 70% of the hike tucked in her backpack.
She said: ‘There are some trails where she charges the way and others where she just enjoys the ride and smells from the backpack the whole hike.
‘After our camp has been set up and we’ve settled in for the night, Max knows this is home and where she needs to come back to. She then becomes a fearless explorer who runs around like a wild cat living its best life.’
Kaylin’s childhood consisted of camping and going to the lake every Sunday with her dad.
‘We had a boat, and we’d water Ski Goggles (On Sale Here), kneeboard and wakeboard.
‘He’s actually a huge mountain biker and competes in races with my older brother. I don’t bike mountains, I like to hike them so while my brother and he get to share that activity, we share others.
‘My dad is extraordinarily kind, and all strangers love him. He brings a smile to everyone’s face.
‘Everyone’s reaction to mine and my dad’s activities with Max is genuine and heartfelt.
‘They wish they could do it with their dad or is hopeful when their daughters reach my age that they’ll get to have the same experience.
‘It’s been really cool to build a stronger bond with both my dad and my cat by going outside together.’
Kaylin’s tips for outdoor trips with your cat:
Basic Training: Ensure your cat knows basic commands.
‘We taught our cat tricks like sitting, lying down and fist-bump. The point of this is so they know that tricks equal rewards and that you are the beholder of high-value treats,’ Kaylin said.
Harness Training: Get your cat used to wearing a harness.
‘In the beginning, I put the harness on my cat for a few hours a day. When they are a pro at wearing it and walking normally with it on, then very slowly, start leash-training,’ said Kaylin.
Confidence Building: Every adventure helps build your cat’s confidence.
‘Get your kitty comfortable exploring and let them smell all the smells. Be patient,’ Kaylin said.
Gear Familiarity: Get your cat comfortable with riding in a backpack.
‘Once they understand the backpack is their safe zone, transitioning to different types of backpacks is seamless,’ said Kaylin.
Prepare Yourself: Be prepared to carry the extra weight as you’ll be carrying your cat 90 per cent of the hike.
Bring Treats: Treats are the best way to reinforce positive behaviour.
‘One of the things I love about cats the most is that they respond well to positive reinforcement, not negativity which ties into my Instagram handle of “always choose happy” – even cats prefer it that way,’ Kaylin said.
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First appear at 70-year-old dad goes backpacking with daughter and her adorable adventure cat