If you’re planning on taking a hike in Texas this year you might get lucky enough to run into a cute pairing — a man and his cat.
Craig Lawson Jr. posted photos of a recent hike he took with his five-month-old tabby cat Xaylor to the Backpacking and Hiking Texas Facebook page.
“First time hiking Palo Duro Canyon, probably my favorite hike I’ve done so far in Texas with my cat,” said Lawson.
The post didn’t exactly go viral but it did garner more than 1,000 reactions and generate some interest for people who were naturally curious about the hiking kitty.
Lawson told KSAT via email that he’s had Xaylor since she was 4-weeks-old and that he always thought cats were natural explorers.
“When I got her I just figured she’ll like hiking and I was not wrong,” said Lawson. “Two weeks after I got her I was taking her to parks teaching her and getting her use to everything.”
Lawson said he takes necessities like water, food, snacks, toys and an extra-long leash and cat carrier on hikes to make sure she’s comfortable.
Xaylor never uses the carrier, but Lawson said he brings it just in case she gets tired.
“If the hike is too dangerous or does not allow animals on the trail, she stays home but if she can hike it, best believe she’s coming,” Lawson quipped.
“Every hike we go to when a biker rides by or somebody’s walking by, she gets shy and tries to hide behind a bush or run and hop on my shoulders,” Lawson said.
For reference, Palo Duro Canyon allows animals in the park as long as they are on a leash. If you plan on taking your animal on a hike, make sure you’re properly equipped to handle your pet’s needs and start slow as you introduce your pet to a new activity.
Lawson offered tips for anyone who might want to try his kitty hike hobby and suggested putting your cat in a leash or harness to introduce them to the idea before you take them anywhere.
“Let them play with it for a couple of days to get used to it. Once they are comfortable enough… start taking them to small local parks that have trails,” said Lawson. “Let them just do whatever they want but try getting them to follow you walking once they sniff the trail out.”