Cat Chat: Interview with Aaricia and Munro (@munro.and.me)
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In Scotland, a Munro is a mountain that’s over 3,000 feet (914 meters) high. There are 282 mountains in Scotland that are classed as Munros.
Munro is also the name of Aaricia’s cat (@munro.and.me), and it sounds like the pair have even climbed a few mountains together. Originally from Belgium, Aaricia now lives in Glasgow, Scotland, with her cat and has agreed to be interviewed. Munro is trained to walk on a leash, and they like to explore the local parks and forest trails together.
Let’s learn more about what these two have been up to recently. We’ve also picked Aaricias brains for some leash training and camping advice for those who want to take their cats on a hiking or camping adventure.
How old is Munro, and how long have you had her?
Munro is just a bit older than two years; I’ve had her most of her life as I got her when she was a little kitten.
What is Munro’s favorite place to visit?
Munro doesn’t have one favorite place in particular, but she loves forests. Open spaces aren’t her favorite, but she loves a nice forest trail with lots of trees to smell, grass to eat, and birds and insects scurrying about.
How often do you go hiking and camping together? Can you tell us about a recent camping trip?
We often go for shorter walks to our local park but will go out and about on bigger adventures a few times a month. The weather has been quite bad this winter and spring, so we are only just starting to travel again.
The weather has recently been getting better, so we have started to explore more. I don’t want to take Munro camping when it could be raining all the time. That wouldn’t be fun, not for Munro or me either.
Our last camping trip was in September 2021, which we did with some friends. We spent two weeks in the Cairngorms (a beautiful area of the Scottish Highlands) exploring the area recently. We decided to stay in a nice house this time rather than camping.
Do you have any tips for someone who wants to take their cat camping?
Start small is always my recommendation when doing anything with your cat. For camping, we started by spending a weekend in my living room with the tent set up on the floor. This allowed Munro to get used to the space, especially the noise of the sleeping bag, which spooked her a bit at first. Camping at home will give your cat confidence and allow them to explore the new space.
Related Article: Can You Take a Cat Camping?
How did you train Munro to walk on a harness?
Like the tent, small to start with, I began by putting on her harness while she was eating, just for a couple of minutes at a time, so that she could get used to it. Associating the harness with food helps.
Then she started wearing the harness for longer around the flat while we played games which involved her following me to get food. Then I slowly added an extra element at a time. I added the leash, walked around the house, and went outside in the local area. Using a harness and leash at home in your garden or a hallway works very well until your cat is happy with the harness and can go further away from home.
It’s also important to have a good backpack your cat can use to hide if she needs to. Allow your pet to get used to the backpack first. I did some games with food to get Munro used to getting in and out of the bag. A bag is important in case your cat gets overwhelmed outside. It’s a space Munro knows she is safe and can go into if she doesn’t want to walk.
Is Munro scared of anything, for example, dogs? Do you have to avoid busy places?
Munro is really shy around people and dogs alike. So, we always try to go out when it’s quiet, and there aren’t too many people around. But yes, quiet places are our favorite to go together.
Do you mainly stay in Scotland, or does Munro have a pet passport and go abroad?
We haven’t traveled abroad so far. I’d like to bring Munro with me when I return to Belgium, but sadly UK airlines don’t allow pets on planes other than in the cargo, which I’m not willing to do to Munro. There is so much to see in Scotland; we don’t feel like we are missing out by not seeing more of the world. We’ll definitely have to make our way to England and Wales at some point, though.
Do you have any funny stories about Munro?
Like I said before, Munro isn’t really fond of people (she was born during lockdown and didn’t see many people in her space, especially when she was young). So, my mom came to visit and was so excited to meet Munro. That was just after lockdown, and she was the first stranger Munro met in our home. Munro didn’t care for visitors and apparently would hiss at my mom whenever I left the room (oops).
Then we went on a hike to Ben Lomond, and once we got to the summit, Munro ran toward this complete stranger to ask to be petted. My mom was shocked.
What adventures do you have planned for the future?
Check out Aaricia's Instagram page
Thanks for agreeing to be interviewed, Aaricia and Munro. We hope you will have many more happy trips together and will tell us all about your big project soon.
You can see more photos of Aaricia and Munro and their adventures on their Instagram page @munro.and.me