Simon, a nearly 6-year-old Bombay cat, loves hiking, rock climbing, kayaking, biking, sailing, skiing, snowboarding, sledding, and even swimming.
JJ Yosh, an adventurer and social media influencer who goes by @JJYOSH on Instagram, got the 10-pound black cat when it was just a few weeks old in 2016.
Yosh started taking Simon the kitten on hikes and other outdoor adventures as soon as he got him home.
Yosh, 39, tells PEOPLE, “I started taking him with me everywhere I went.” “He likes to be outside a lot.”
Yosh decided to train Simon to be an adventure cat because he wanted the cat to be able to enjoy the outdoors safely.
Yosh says of his home in Boulder, Colorado, “If you want to have an outdoor cat here, you’re really taking a chance with how long they’re going to live.” “There are so many ways they could be eaten or hurt.”
Yosh thought that going outside with his cat Simon to do things was the best way to keep Simon safe from predators. It also turned out to be a great way for him to get closer to his pet.
When Simon the cat gets tired in the real world, Yosh puts him on his shoulders. “That’s where he likes to be,” the cat’s owner says.
“That’s how he got the name “Backpacking Kitty,” because he always carries a backpack on my back.”
The two go rock climbing in Breckenridge, white water rafting in Durango, and kayaking in Brainard Lake.
The two have also gone sailing on Clinton Lake in Kansas, white water rafting in the Sacramento River near Lake Tahoe, camping and rappelling in the canyons of Death Valley National Park, and taking a road trip from Boulder to the Florida Keys, where they kayaked and hung out on the beach together.
Yosh says, “I love how interested he is in the world around him.”
Even when they are inside, Yosh and Simon stay close.
“I never eat by myself,” says the pet parent. “He will do anything to get something to eat from me.”
Simon is good at sports, but he also knows a lot of tricks, like high fives, handshakes, kisses, and hugs.
Yosh says, “In a lot of ways, he does feel like my kid.” “He is my guardian angel and my soulmate.”