Floki the Adventure Cat and hiker Melissa (Mel) Elam have become world-famous hiking in New Hampshire. By early July, the duo reached their year-long goal of climbing forty-eight 4,000-foot-plus mountains in the Granite State. After an amazing year together, they are continuing to climb even more mountains all the time.
A Feline Hiking Partner
Elam, a mother of four kids, lost her previous hiking companion, a chocolate lab named Leia. Then, after seeing another hiker with a cat, she decided it was time for a feline companion.
“I’d never seen something like that before,” she says, “and I thought it looked amazing,” she told Backpacker.
So, Elam decided to adopt a kitten and unexpectedly found the companion of her dreams.
Adopting Floki the Kitten
Last September, Elam, 36, adopted Floki from the Conway Area Humane Society. When she arrived, she was planning to adopt a young male black kitten. However, a gray striped domestic shorthair caught her attention. While she looked into one kennel, the 4-month-old reached out to her from the one below.
“I went to the shelter to look at this little black kitten and Floki was in the kennel below him, and she reached out and grabbed me… I just knew. She picked me in that moment and so I thought to myself, ‘Why Not? If he could hike with his cat, maybe I can.'” says Mel.
Right away, Elam knew this kitten was the one and named her Floki from the character on the Vikings television series. On the show, Floki is a mystical and eccentric trickster and wanderer, and the name stuck.
Originally, Floki and 20 other stray cats traveled to Conway, New Hampshire, from a shelter in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
A Natural Hiking Cat
Since the Fall of 2020, Floki has proved a great hiking companion, exploring along the way on a leash. Sometimes, she moves along fast but, as you would expect, stops “to do the whole cat thing” when she notices something interesting.
Meeting the Famous Floki the Adventure Cat
Other times, Floki is content to ride in Elam’s backpack. For example, the two often experience cooler temperatures near the mountain summits. So, the kitty likes to cuddle up in the warm pack, peeking out contentedly at the scenery. Other times, Floki wears special gear to help keep her warm and toasty.
Along the way, everyone who sees the pair is interested to see a hiking cat. And, Floki loves coming along.
“Everyone’s always like ‘Oh my goodness. You’re hiking with a cat!” and it seems to be, like, a pretty cool thing. Everybody just seems to love her.” Elam says.
Now, If Elam were to consider going hiking without Floki, this is the look she could expect:
“I do not approve of you hiking without me.”
Whenever Floki sees the backpack coming out, she knows and wants to go hiking.
The Cat Who Climbed Mountains
In February, Floki and Mel were just becoming famous, appearing in the newspaper. There, the headline read, “The cat who climbed mountains.” But that was only the beginning. As the companions climbed more and mountains, word traveled far and wide. As they go, they raise money for causes like the Humane Society, where Floki came from.
Other times, they raise funds for Mount Washington’s Observatory as in a recent hike below:
It took nine months for Floki and Elam to reach the top of all 48 mountains. They started at Mount Moosilauke. On September 12, Elam wrote:
“It’s hard to believe that one year ago, Floki and I began our journey on Mount Moosilauke climbing the NH 48’s. I never would have imagined that this would turn into what it has! I am so grateful for all the friendships and support she has brought me.”
Finally, they reached the final point on their journey in Mount Washington on June 26, 2021. And to think, in 2014, she saw the man who inspired Elam to hike with a cat on the same mountain.
See Floki reach the final summit below from WMUR-TV:
Rescued By Floki the Adventure Cat
Today, Melissa (Mel) Elam feels thankful for Floki, commenting, “Feeling so lucky she rescued me.” It’s clear they love going on adventures, and you can see many beautiful pictures and videos on the Adventures with Floki Facebook page and on Instagram.
Clearly, Floki is a rare cat who seemed meant for this life with her human companion.
“Our perfect companions never have fewer than four feet,” Elam wrote.
Advice for Hiking with Cats
Recently, one person asked Elam for advice on finding a hiking feline of their own. Of course, Floki seems born to go hiking, and not every cat would enjoy such adventures. To begin, be ready for lots of patience, time, and encouragement.
“I need a cat like Floki. I am getting a kitten and will try to get her to like the outdoors on a leash. Any pointers for carrying in a backpack? I love dogs, but it’s easier to carry a kitty on your back.”
“Lots of patience and head rubs!” wrote Elam.
Certainly, one would have to start very small, say, with a trip around the backyard.
Notably, Floki is a 100% indoor cat when she’s not out hiking on a leash with her companion in the mountains.
See more about Floki the Adventure Cat and Mel Elam’s Trails for Tails efforts here.
See more about Floki the Adventure Cat and Mel Elam from WMUR-TV: