Old dogs can learn new tricks, and “aloof” cats can too. While many see felines as strictly lackadaisical indoor pets who never wander beyond the garden, adventure cats across the globe are proving them wrong.
Adventure cats like sleek boy Simon: The handsome black cat belongs to JJ Yosh, an adventure filmmaker, travel vlogger and social media influencer.
When Yosh, 34, adopted Simon, then just a kitten, from his neighbor, the outdoorsman knew he wanted to make Simon part of his nature journeys.
“I started training Simon from the day I got him. He was a couple weeks old when I first got him,” Yosh told PEOPLE. “He was born in the mountains of Colorado, so I think both of these factors played into Simon’s adventure side. Also, the fact that I am always outdoors with him definitely helps him to adapt to the wilderness.”
Now, 17-months-old, the cat wakes up eager to navigate the natural splendor outside his Colorado home.
“Simon’s favorite places are his backyard hiking spots in Boulder, Colorado,” Yosh said of the adventures Simon likes best. “He loves exploring the nearby mountains where we have caves and rocks to climb.”
Along with these routine “jogs” in the wilderness right outside his back door, Simon also likes accompanying Yosh on more intense adventures, including climbing in the snow and kayaking.
“I like camping with Simon in snow because he’s less active at night and just wants to cuddle in my sleeping bag,” the owner said of his favorite trip with Simon, a California road trip last December.
This athletic and affectionate friendship means that Simon makes frequent appearances on Yosh’s popular Instagram account, where his more than 194,000 followers watch him and Simon take on the world. The feline has become such a breakout star that he now has his own Instagram, with over 52,700 followers. The pair also get a lot of attention on the trail.
Yosh said it’s common for camping trips with Simon to take a little longer, because they always get stopped by curious hikers.
“The reaction usually is amazement and surprise that I would be taking a cat into the back country, and that Simon would sit so gracefully on my shoulder like a parrot.”
They don’t mind the additional stops. Yosh’s favorite thing about Simon is the feline’s adaptability and love for being the center of attention. This bravado allows the kitty to paw into any situation, outdoor or indoor, ready to make new friends and try new things.
Yosh and Simon make the adventure cat life look easy, but it does take training.
“The best advice I can give to cat owners who want to make their cats adventure cats is start them young. Cats are notorious for doing what they want, and if they develop the habits early on then it makes it harder to train them,” Yosh said. “Another tip is never to free feed your cat. I feed Simon three times a day wet food. He learns the food comes from me, and before he gets his food I have him do 10 different tricks.”
The nature lover hopes that his followers see him and Simon having fun and are inspired to create their own adventures outside, even if they are just a few blocks from home.
“On top of getting outside, I want people to realize cats can be just as adventurous as dogs if given the proper training,” he said.