There is a movement afoot, one known as adventure cats, which is composed of cat owners who are exploring the great outdoors with their feline friends. The group KCC Adventure Cats is part of that movement, and Emily Odum Hall is the host of the group.
Emily didn’t start out with adventure cats. When she started blogging, she wanted to share online about life with her cats. As her life changed, so did her blog. At first, it expanded into a means to raise awareness for cats with cerebellar hypoplasia and other special-needs animals. Now although she still writes on those topics, she also focuses on adventure cats as well.
ALLISON: Share a little about your background with pets.
EMILY: I’ve had pets in my family since I was a kid. Growing up, we had three cats and three dogs, so I’ve always lived with a house full of animals. Right now, I have seven cats, one dog, and two sugar gliders.
EMILY: My cat, Sophie, is my original adventure cat. She has cerebellar hypoplasia, and as a result can’t run very fast. I decided to take her out in the backyard one day because I knew I wouldn’t have to worry about her getting away. She enjoyed it so much that I eventually started taking her out on bigger adventures. Her laid-back personality has made her the perfect candidate for adventuring.
ALLISON: Do all of your cats like to have outdoor adventures? Why or why not?
EMILY: No, only three of my seven cats enjoy outdoor adventures. When we adopted Kylo Ren as a kitten, I knew he would be an adventure cat. We just started taking him out with Sophie right from the beginning and so adventuring has always been normal for him. We started training Caster later. Due to his very rambunctious and wild personality, I thought getting outside would be good for him. For the most part, my other cats have some fear issues and aren’t into going outdoors.
EMILY: That’s a hard one. For me, I enjoy adventures the most when I can see how much fun my cats are having. Kylo Ren loves hiking, while Sophie loves meandering through the park and socializing with everyone she meets. I haven’t figured out Caster’ favorite adventure yet. I will say that our most recent adventure down in Florida was tons of fun. Caster and Kylo Ren went on several boat rides down the St. John’s River, and Kylo even went swimming.
ALLISON: What has been the most scariest adventure?
EMILY: On one of Kylo’s first adventures, he managed to wiggle out of his harness. That was pretty scary. Thankfully my husband was able to catch him.
ALLISON: How about a funny or embarrassing moment?
EMILY: Well, one time Sophie pooped in her carrier on our way to an adventure and made a mess of herself. We had to stop at the first gas station we came to and ask to use their hose and hand soap to give her a bath. They obliged, but it was a rather ridiculous scene–my husband and I bathing a poop-covered cat in a gas station parking lot while people stared at us. It wasn’t very funny at the time, but looking back at it, it’s pretty hilarious. We learned a valuable lesson that day: Always bring cat shampoo and a towel with you on adventures because you never know what kind of messes your cat is going to get into!
ALLISON: For the cats that don’t like to have outdoor adventures, how do you enrich their lives?
EMILY: We have multiple cat trees and tons of toys scattered around the house. We also have a “Cat Wall”–a wall in our living room that has wall-mounted ledges, beds, and scratches for the cats to enjoy. I always make sure to have play time with my cats on a daily basis too, as well as clicker training sessions with a few of them.
ALLISON: What other social media do you use to promote adventure cats and why?
EMILY: I have accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Vero that are associated with my blog. I share about adventure cats and other cat-related topics on those channels. The only social media thing I have that is strictly for adventure cats is my group on Facebook, KCC Adventure Cats.
EMILY: Try taking your cat out on adventures. Start small. It seems obvious, but some people try to move too quickly and think their cat will immediately go from house cat to adventure cat. Except in rare cases, your cat will need to slowly acclimate to going outside. Start by having your cat wear a harness inside. Then graduate to taking them out in your yard. Then maybe for a walk down the street. Always pay attention to your cat’s body language too. They will tell you when they are overwhelmed or have had enough. Listen to them and follow their lead.