The Catcall of the Wild: Meet an Adventure Cat

adventure cat

“Have you ever tried to make a cat do something it doesn’t want to do?” asks Zac, a catting enthusiast “It doesn’t happen. If a cat does it, the cat wants to do it.” If you’ve ever known a cat, you know he speaks the truth. Fortunately for Zac, also an avid rock climber, his 5-year-old tabby roommate is not your typical housecat.

Kenneth, or Kenny to those who know him, is one of a growing number of felines who have earned the label “adventure cat.” Like his thrill-seeking contemporaries, Kenny loves to explore the great outdoors, leading his human counterpart across challenging terrain and camping under the stars—expedition style.

“I think all cats have a desire to explore. Any cat will sit inside all day in front of a window, just watching the outside world,” says Zac. When they’re allowed outdoors, most cats don’t like being confined to a certain space. They’ll explore as far as they’re allowed to go. Kenny is no exception.

“I just give him the opportunity to explore lots of different areas, to get out and have a lot of new experiences in a pretty unique, but still safe, controlled environment,” Zac says.

Adventure cat takes the lead

From Peek-a-boo Canyon in the south to Spiral Jetty in the north, Zac and Kenny have traveled throughout Utah in search of new terrain to explore. The desert canyons are an ideal proving ground for climbers of any species, but Zac makes sure to not expose his best buddy to unnecessary risks. He purposefully seeks out destinations that balance interesting features with appropriate difficulty.

“Cats are natural climbers,” Zac explains. “I can pick a good area where I know there will be neat terrain or fun rocks or a slot canyon, something cool that Kenny can do. Then we’ll get there and just see what develops after that. I let him off leash, and he’ll guide the way.”

Kenny taking the lead is what each of these trips is all about. Zac coined the term “catting” to describe it, a word that evolved organically just like “catting trips” themselves. The purpose has always been to go out and find adventure in the most natural way possible. “As soon as you bring your cat along with you on a trip, it is no longer your trip,” Zac says. “It’s their trip, and you must abide by their needs and desires.”

Adventure cat provides a new perspective

Exploring with an adventure cat forces you to slow down and enjoy your surroundings. “The pacing and agenda is always the same; keep the focus on Kenny and do everything I can to help him explore and have an interesting day,” says Zac.

Zac tries to see the world through Kenny’s lively, green eyes. This change in perspective not only allows him to experience nature in an entirely new way, but it also makes him feel closer to Kenny. “I definitely have a huge amount of trust in Kenny. I can follow him anywhere, and I know he trusts me as well,” Zac says. “The cuddles that I get from Kenny in the tent and at home reflect how close the two of us have become.”

Adventure cat changes everything

The bond forged during those weekends in the desert manifests off the trail as well. “Kenny helps make everywhere feel like home, whether it’s actually being at home with him, another campsite, the back of my truck or anywhere else we are,” Zac says. “When he’s around, it becomes a special place to be.”

It’s hard to believe that Zac wasn’t really a cat guy growing up. “I never had any cats. We always had dogs in my family,” Zac says. Then Kenny came into his life and changed everything.

Kenny’s real adventure started long before he met Zac. He was found in Park City, Utah, sick and shivering in a gutter. A rescue center took him in, where he was deemed too sick to be adopted. A friend of Zac’s happened to work there at the time. She noticed something unique about Kenny and his love of the outdoors. Knowing Zac’s affinity for adventure, she suggested that he take Kenny in for a couple of weeks.

So, Zac took Kenny home. They connected immediately. It didn’t take long to see that this move was permanent. Within a few weeks they went camping in the desert, and an adventure cat was born.

Watching the soft, pale orange ball of fur perch contently on Zac’s shoulders as he moves through the house, it’s clear the transformation is complete. Zac is undoubtedly a cat guy, and unabashedly devoted to Kenny. “Now, when I come home, I’ll see his face in the window and as soon as he sees me, I’ll catch the head spin and I know he’s off to the races to try and beat me to the front door,” Zac says.

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