AURORA – Most cats spend weekends napping around the house but not Paul. The 9-pound apartment cat suits up for adventures around Colorado.
From camping to hiking, the 2-year-old feline loves to explore, and this summer he accomplished a feat on most Coloradan's bucket list – climbing a 14er.
Paul conquered Grays Peak on June 19 with his owners Russ and Andrea McMillen. They used the South Ridge route to make sure Paul had a more peaceful journey with fewer dogs and people.
The curious hiker loves the outdoors and made it up the mountainside on his leash, taking occasional naps inside a mesh backpack the McMillens turned into a "catpack" for Paul to rest his paws. The backpack is a pet carrier from Dr. Foster and Smith and they are modifying it for longer journeys.
He's also not distracted by bewildered onlookers who see him on a leash.
"He doesn't know it's weird," said Andrea.
She took Paul in at 8 weeks old after her husband discovered the kitten to be the lone survivor of a litter born behind a warehouse.
They started training him quickly, teaching him whistle commands and how to adjust to a leash.
"He gets distracted by things that scurry or fly ... he simply wants to explore. We can get him back on track with a quick whistle," said Andrea. "He is still young so he likes to explore a lot, we take him everywhere from [Colorado] open space, to vacations in the mountains and even Utah and Wyoming."
Now, he can't wait to get outside. The couple plans to take Paul on his next 14er in August.
For those interested in getting their cat to join in on outdoor hikes, Andrea urges owners to start young and practice patience.
"They aren't dogs. They are going to want to check out everything and move a little slower," she said.
But in the end, the adventures are worth it – for both owner and cat.
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