Two dogs attack cat and woman hiking near Salt Lake City. Cat lost.

NEWS AND VIEWS (COMMENT): I’ve always felt that the slightly utopian lifestyle painted by hikers and trekkers who go into the wild with their domestic cat on a leash is not all that it looks. I admire them tremendously and I am very happy for the cat because it looks like great fun. Personally, I am all in favour of providing domestic cats with this sort of opportunity and I’d like to try it myself. But I also wonder about the dangers. On Instagram we often see a series of beautiful pictures, superb landscapes with a happy domestic cat trekking along a winding trail within a beautiful forest. We don’t see photographs of the upsets and difficulties, the hazards and tricky moments because it wouldn’t look good on social media. Perhaps they never happen but I suspect they do.

Denali and the area where he was lost
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Denali and the area where he was lost. Photo: Sandra Samman.

This story supports my belief. On 28 October 2020, a Colorado woman, Sandra Samman, was hiking near the Z-trail in Mount Olympus Park in Salt Lake City with her cat, Denali. A couple of unleashed dogs charged at them and attacked Denali. She picked up Denali quickly but the dogs jumped up at her. Denali panicked and worked free of his harness, lept from her grasp and ran into the wild.

Mount Olympus Trail with marked out ares showing where Denali was lost

Mount Olympus Trail with marked out ares showing where Denali was lost. Image provided by Sandra Samman.

She’s been searching for him and her story has been published on the website. She has sensibly provided a useful map of the location where it happened and where her cat was last seen. There is also a picture of her cat and he is microchipped so we should remain optimistic for her. In addition, she has set up camera traps near where he disappeared. These cameras will be fired off if Denali walks near them. It will confirm that he is there. Volunteers are helping.

Regrettably, the owner of the dogs did not provide contact details and left the scene. It’s just an example of what can go wrong if you are trekking with your cat. It also makes me think about how a person might take pre-emptive precautions to protect their cat under the circumstances. Perhaps in hindsight it would have been better to have carried some sort of foldable bag which could be quickly unfolded and a cat placed in it and then the bag secured. Perhaps that idea is non-viable but it comes to mind. I just know that if a cat wants to break free of a harness to which a lead is attached then they can do it if panicked. Domestic cats have a great capacity to wriggle and squirm. They can use their athletic abilities to break free and of course they are very strong. It’s a sad story and the woman needs help.

If anybody reads this article and can help then please do so. I think you’ll have to contact KRDO as we have no details for Samman.

Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

Note: sources for news articles are carefully selected but the news is often not independently verified.
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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

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3 Responses

  1. Sandra says:

    Hello Michael Broad,

    Thank you for this article. However you have info wrong. For the record, Denali did have a cat pack with us. He was in the cat pack and I have photos to prove for most of the hike. He was taken out of the pack so he could sniff and explore while still on harness and leash. He was out of his pack for a few minutes when the unleashed dogs came around the corner. I immediately picked him up as the dogs lunged at us. Unfortunately, there was no time to put him back in the pack, so I did the next best step- which was pick him and hold him high up. The dogs were jumping up my body assaulting me, trying to get to Denali. The woman had no leash, and zero control on her dogs. She basically stood there like an idiot- then left the scene of the crime.

    Please reframe your story to reflect this information.

    Thank you

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