Matti FI*RockyHill´s Natchez moved to live with us in February 2021. We had wanted a cat in the family for a long time, and eventually settled on a Norwegian Forest cat. I previously had Hemuli, a landrace cat who passed away at age 22, and after several catless years the cat fever was getting strong. Even before Matti moved it, it was clear that we wanted to go on excursions and travel with him as long as he wouldn't dislike it. And in six months we've seen and done a whole bunch together!
A couple days after Matti moved in, we started getting him used to a harness. First, for a few days, the harness lied on the floor for inspection, and then we practiced wearing it indoors. This went so well we moved outside to explore the world. Nowadays, Matti runs to the door – be it at home, our cabin, or travelling – when he sees the harness. We go outside with Matti almost every day, so he is quite the enthusiastic outdoors cat. In the winter and spring we went to hike on nature trails. Our first proper excursion with Matti was to Leivonmäki National Park in March. They have nice short trails well suited for hiking with a cat. Granted, the open marsh was so windy that Matti got scared and traversed the marsh safely inside a backpack. And a backpack comes in handy when a cat gets tired or frightened; it's a safe place to travel. If you're around Central Finland, it's worth visiting Häähninmäki at the border of Konnevesi and Hankasalmi. The striking scenery from the cabin at the top of the high Häähninmäki is plenty to marvel for both cat and servant. In the summer we didn't hike because of the heat. Matti went out in the evenings at the cabin and at home, mostly lying around the yard and observing.
Matti goes with us almost everywhere. Of course, travelling and transportation has to be at the feline citizen's conditions, and the travel days shouldn't be too densely scheduled. Matti mostly eats raw food, and before trips we start to increase the amount of industrial fodder, so the dietary change isn't so abrupt. Freezers tend to be a rare treat on excursions. When we all head off for a trip and are looking at several hours in the car, we never leave home or continue our journey until Matti has eaten and gone to the bathroom. So far, he has not agreed to go when the loo is in the car boot; he wants privacy! Upon arrival at our destination, we first make sure all the windows are closed before letting Matti explore the room. We also collect and stow away any fragile or edible items.
Our first hotel trip was to Järvisydän in the spring. We went on walks outside with Matti, ate well, and Matti sat on duty on the window sill observing the world. When planning a hotel vacation, it's worth remembering that the hotel might not have a pet sign for the room door. It's a good idea to make one yourself. Matti seemed happy with his vacation, expressing his reluctance to return home by meowing half of the way. We made a longer trip to the Turku archipelago in the summer. We first spent a night in Turku, and headed to the archipelago the next morning. In Nauvo, Matti got to go to a restaurant for the first time, and it wasn't to be the last. Now Matti is an experienced restaurant goer. Don't hesitate to ask if you can take your cat to a restaurant. In one restaurant, the waiter told us cats are welcome in but dogs have to stay on the terrace! Matti's restaurant treats include a vitamin drink, malt paste, and salmon soup, meaning he has packed provisions.
In the car Matti usually travels wearing his own seatbelt, but at nap time he prefers the basket. On the Archipelago Ring Road, Matti had the exceptional privilege to sit on a lap up front, scanning the scenery and marveling at the ferry rides. Matti and we both recommend the Archipelago Ring Road as a travel destination. It's worth spending at least two nights in the archipelago though, so there's time for other things besides sitting in the car. At the end of the trip, we spent one more night in Tampere in the wonderful Lillan hotel, so the ride home wouldn't be so long.
Going to the cabin is pure adventure for Matti! We spend a lot of time at the cabin, and there he gets to be outside much more than at his city apartment. At the cabin, Matti has his own loop which we walk around at least once a day. Besides that, he lies around in the yard and hunts bugs. In the early summer, Matti practised SUP, but the summer was so hot he couldn't be taken along under the scorching sun. Now the weather looks more suited for Matti's SUP.
I myself am surprised by how much attention a travelling cat draws. Matti has gained many new friends out of hotel and restaurant staff and customers. There are plenty of marvelers and scratchers on nature excursions, too. The next adventure is already booked and new ones are in the plans! If you'd like to follow Matti's travels, you can find him on Instagram under matti_ _katti. You can also ask us for tips for your own adventures through the IG account, and if you have good tips for us we'd be glad to hear them!
- transport cage / backpack
- scratch board
- a couple favourite toys
- bathroom and dog poop bags
- pet sign
- comb / brush
- tick tweezers
- lactic acid bacteria
And for nature hikes, water, a cup, and treats.