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.
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.
She’s been searching for him and her story has been published on the KRDO.com 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.