Raising an Adventure Cat
Justin and my lifestyle is made up mostly of outdoor activities and it is crucial that our pets can enjoy the outdoors with us. When we adopted Ember, we knew that this would not be an easy task with a cat. We take our animals with us whenever we can and having your fur kids experience the gift of the outdoors by our side is one of the most rewarding feelings. I wanted to share some of the tips and tricks that we have learned while creating our adventure cat, Ember.
As soon as we got Ember, we started taking her outside. At first, we would put her in a wire crate with no plastic bottoms so she could experience the grass as well as all of the smells, sights and sounds. At first this was very overwhelming for her, so we made sure she got lots of positive reinforcement in the form of treats and food. After about a month, she became more comfortable with being outside and was not as scared anymore.
We also got a cat carrier backpack for Ember so we could take her on walks with Daisy. She loved going on walks in the backpack right away. She loved seeing the birds, the squirrels and when we passed dogs or people she made sure to voice her dislike in the form of the loudest meow to ever have come out of a small kitten.
Once she no longer feared being outside, we took her out on her harness and 8-foot leash. Getting Ember harness trained started the day she came home to us. She had practiced wearing this harness inside so she knew it was not a punishment and grew accustomed to the feeling. Outside and on a leash has proven to be very overwhelming for Ember in town. She does well around the perimeter of our house because of the familiar smells, but on sidewalks within town there are just too many sounds and smells that she associates with danger, so she prefers to ride in the backpack.
Ember does very well on hiking trails that are not busy and also hiking trails that contain a lot of trees. Ember loves to climb trees and she will happily sprint from tree to tree and once the newness and excitement of the trees wears off, she is curious where the trail leads so she follows the trail. She also makes sure we know when she is done with being out of the backpack and when she wants to be back in the safety of the backpack by sitting by our feet and refusing to move.
The key to raising an adventure cat is building trust between you and the cat, patience and lots and lots of practice. Getting Ember to the point she is now was not easy and it tested her and our patience tremendously. But at the end of the day, it strengthened our relationship with her because being in these scary situations for Ember and her trusting that her humans will protect her has helped mellow her feisty personality. We have tented with Ember, hiked with Ember and even taken her on wheeler rides and through it all she gets to curiously experience life in a way that most cats don’t.
Arguing with a moody feline- Krysta