Animal health technician Gabrielle Vachon has an adventurous kitty named Mr. Munchkin.
After seeing stories about “adventure cats” online, Vachon decided her next cat might be an adventurer too. From the start, Munchkin learned to be leash-trained and socialized so he would be safe on their first outings.
🚣♀️ Munchkin Introduced Slowly to the Kayak 🚣♀️
As a kayak and boat owner in Montreal, Vachon envisioned adventures on the water. Already, she kayaked with her dog, Cowboy, and was fully comfortable controlling the boat.
First, she slowly introduced the kitty to the kayak in the backyard. If Munchkin chose to get on the boat on his own, he received a food reward. Quickly, he associated the kayak with treats and came running when he saw Vachon carrying it.
“He’s naturally very curious, [and] not very skittish,” said Vachon in a KittyCatGO interview.
Next, she slowly moved the kayak on wheels, rewarding Munchkin if he remained aboard. After that, it was time to try it on the nearby lake, which the cat was already familiar with. As for the water, Munchkin was always “pretty comfortable around water,” though he didn’t necessarily want his feet wet.
Then, Munchkin took baby steps, getting on the kayak while tethered to the dock.
Eventually, they took short five-minute outings, sometimes crossing land between bodies of water. While on the kayak, Munchkin wears a life jacket after many attempts to find one he was comfortable wearing. He tended to flop over with some stiff jackets, as cats do.
🌊 Majestic Munchkin 🌊
To avoid exposure to the sun, they took excursions in the early morning or later in the day. Always, the weather was in the upper 70s and mild.
As they paddled, they stayed near the shoreline of the small lake on days with gentle waves.
“If definitely paid off that we did it so slowly,” Vachon recalled.
Just look at how majestic this kitty looks riding the waves! 🔱
See the video via Instagram below:
Adventures with Cowboy
As Munchkin experienced his first adventures, Vachon was prepared to head home if he became uncomfortable. For encouragement, she offered treats and used a training clicker.
“Every time we go out it’s a training opportunity and he gets treats every time,” she said.
If the cat refused treats, she knew he wasn’t happy and promptly returned home. In case of emergency, she always carries a lightweight camping towel. Then, it’s easy to dry him off, although he doesn’t jump in the water intentionally. On one occasion, he [accidentally] demonstrated he is a very strong swimmer and “not traumatized by being wet.”
“He didn’t enjoy being wet but he just groomed himself for a few minutes and then continued on as if nothing happened,” she said.
After many adventures and experiences, Munchkin happily shared the boat with Cowboy. They first met when Munchkin was a newborn and shared many wonderful adventures. Today, the older dog is not able to go on outings, but the experiences these happy souls shared are forever. 💞
Along with kayaking, the adventure cat loves riding in a backpack, like some other cats we know.
“Adventures are better with friends. 🥰”
Get more tips on kayaking with cats in the YouTube video from KittyCatGo.