Thanks to Instagram and a really great outdoors feature written by my colleague Aislinn Sarnaki about people who hike with their cats, I now know that the resident Rusty Metal Farm felines are “adventure cats.”
That’s right — cats who adventure. Up until I read Aislinn’s article, I didn’t even know that was a thing. I guess I really should have, though. I mean, I do have an Instagram account and follow other cat- or dog-centric accounts and have enjoyed animal postings on other social media ever since the first cat asked if could “has cheezburgers”.
In recent years cats have exploded — figuratively — all over social media with hashtags, memes and their very own accounts. Which brings me to the adventure cats. Sure, people have most likely been hiking and exploring with their cats ever since the first feline strolled into a shelter and demanded to immediately be let back out again. But it took the Internet and social media to make them famous.
Turns out my own cats are part of that outdoor recreation wave that has people hiking, biking and camping with their cats and then posting those exploits online for their friends, followers and fans to enjoy.
Certainly we have logged and posted online plenty of hiking, skiing and snowshoeing miles here on Rusty Metal Farm. In fact, it’s darn near impossible to set foot out the door without at least one of them clamoring to join me and tiny farm dog Chiclet as we venture out.
Nor is it unusual for me to modify my hiking routes if Rusty Metal Farm curmudgeon-in-residence Reggie or the fabulous Miss Kitty Carlisle joins us mid-hike. Often I have been walking Chiclet — on leash — down the road to hear the meows of the cats as they run to catch up. When that happens, we immediately veer off into the woods so the cats are not on the road or in danger of getting hit by a vehicle.
Once we are off the road, I can take Chiclet’s leash off and all three have a delightful time dashing to and fro and chasing each other. And mind you, these are not short strolls. The four of us have logged some serious miles together.
Don’t think for a moment cold weather stops them, either. Reggie and Miss Kitty Carlisle are just as happy following me on a snowshoe or cross-country ski outing. The only difference here is that I have to pay attention lest Reggie decides to plunk down on the tails of my skis or snowshoes when he wants a break.
Ever have a 20-pound cat step on the back of your snowshoes or skis? It works better than any disc brakes or anchors invented by humans. All forward motion in my lower extremities comes to a complete halt. The forward motion of my upper body stops a second or two later, after an impressive faceplant into the snow. Fun times.
Even better? There have been times one or more of the Rusty Metal Farm chickens have joined us on one of our shorter walks out to the pond. At these times we look like the oddest homesteading parade ever — Chiclet dashing ahead, followed by yours truly with the two cats strolling behind and the chickens bringing up the rear.
If that trend continues and expands, my bet is “adventure poultry” is the next big Instagram thing. Remember, you heard it here first.