Meet Simon: An Adventurous Soulmate

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Not only does Simon love to go on hikes with pet parent JJ Yosh, but he also kayaks and rock climbs. While JJ now describes Simon as his “soulmate”, the two didn’t hit it off very well at first.


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A post shared by Simon Yosh (@backpackingkitty)

Simon and JJ Weren’t a Good Fit at First

While things look great now, they didn’t start off on the right foot. JJ started off out of the gate trying to take Simon out for adventures, and things did not go well. “He did not want to come with me at all”, says JJ to Today, and for the first couple of days Simon would not get near him.

Then, JJ just decided it was time to take Simon out for a hike, and the rest is history. He spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to walk him on a leash and harness and if he would “even like hiking”, JJ told TODAY. When Simon was tired, JJ put him on his shoulders and backpack, and the nickname stuck: Backpacking Kitty.


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A post shared by Simon Yosh (@backpackingkitty)

The pair often receive second glances while out on the trail. “He’s a head turner for sure”, says JJ to TODAY. Since then, the two have become bonded, and Simon goes with JJ almost everywhere.

Adventure Brought Them Closer

JJ didn’t stop at hiking with Backpacking Kitty. He has taken Simon on a variety of outdoor excursions. They have gone white water rafting, mountain biking, and climbing some of the highest mountains in Colorado.

Simon has a winter coat to protect him from the mountain cold and is known to catch a ride on a sled from time to time after a recent snow, as well. He has even been paddleboarding and kayaking, and has a life jacket. Simon has even been known to swim a little.


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A post shared by JJ YOSH (@jjyosh)

JJ told the Dodo,“I really like his sense of adventure and curiosity” and that Simon is “willing to take risks”.

JJ has made changes in his adventures to accommodate Simon, though, to make sure those risks aren’t too unsafe. Simon wears a protective harness and leash, and JJ carries extra protective gear. He takes into consideration Simon’s skill level and the terrain they will be exploring to make sure Simon can handle it. If not, he always has a safe place to rest on JJ’s shoulders.

“We’re Definitely Soulmates” Says JJ

It’s not just the sense of adventure that Simon and JJ share. “He really helps me to slow down and see the world around me,” says JJ to TODAY. A day in the life of Simon and JJ starts out by catching a sunrise together and hiking, whether in sun or in snow, he tells the Dodo.


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A post shared by Simon Yosh (@backpackingkitty)

“Our relationship is still evergrowing,” says JJ. “It’s definitely helped me to slow down in life and to be present in the moment but also to care for someone other than myself.”

And for all of the companionship Simon offers, he can still just be a cat. He still has an instinct for chasing rodents on the trail, and is known to tear up a roll of toilet paper for fun. Simon also “demands attention”, as JJ told Good Morning America. Simon also insists on getting in JJ’s face during mealtimes to remind him of how great a companion he can be.


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A post shared by Simon Yosh (@backpackingkitty)

The pair have been on over 50 road trips, and JJ looks forward to continuing adventures for many years to come.

How to Take Your Cat on Outdoor Adventures Safely

This may have you wondering how to take out your own cat on outdoor adventures. There are ways to allow your cat to enjoy the outdoors safely. To be clear, there are risks, including, but not limited to, parasites, predators like hawks and coyotes, or the cat becoming lost.

Make sure to mitigate the risks, first, by preparing your cat to enjoy your own yard or outdoor space close to home. Ensure the harness is a good fit, and try it on indoors for a few weeks before attaching a leash and walking them outside. They should be comfortable in their harness and not try to break free.

Read about our recommendations for the best cat harnesses.

Always stay up to date on vaccines and flea and tick medication, and never leave your cat unattended. Make sure they have a collar with an up-to-date telephone number and are microchipped.

When you decide to venture out into the unknown, always pack snacks and extra water for your cat, and be prepared to carry them comfortably when they get tired. Look for signs of distress, such as howling or drooling, and remember to start small.

You can see more of Backpacking Kitty’s Outdoor Adventures on Instagram!

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About Leslie Roberts

Leslie Roberts is an experienced business process analyst who has worked in the computer software industry. She has also written features for