Since Archer and I started going on adventures and exploring the world around us, I have been asked and wondering some of the fundamental questions of cat adventuring:
Could any cat be an adventure cat?
Do you have to start training them young?
How do I know if my cat enjoys going outside?
Honestly, from my perspective, the answer is “it depends.” I’m sure it is not exactly what you were looking for, but let me explain why.
I personally believe that EVERY CAT could be an adventure cat, but they all have their unique personality and boundary of adventures.
For example, some cats are more timid and shy, and they could be perfectly happy in a quiet environment for adventures; such as trails, parks, or backyard. While others, like Archer, can be incredibly outgoing who genuinely enjoys the exposure of a variety of sight, sound, and scent. At the end of the day, you have to know what type of adventurer your cat is, and tailor the experience to their personality and limits.
Find out what they enjoy, and then slowly introduce them with the type of adventure in their comfort zone.
What is their tolerance around strangers? What do they enjoy as part of their visual, sound, and scent stimulation?
Now, to the often asked question and assumption when Archer and I are outside, “you must train a cat young for him/her to be comfortable with outdoor experiences.” Actually, in our case, yes, Archer was trained at 12 weeks old because he had the opportunity to be exposed to adventures at a young age. However, it doesn’t mean that mature cats cannot be part of the adventure experience, if they have never had the same training at a young age. I’ve met some pawrents who trained their adult or senior cats to be an adventure cat. Nothing is impossible if you have the dedication and commitment to it! I will get to adventure cat training in another post.
Age is NOT the limit. The key to any outdoor adventure training for cats regardless of their age is - time and dedication. Also, don’t forget to celebrate each milestone!
Finally, some people have been wondering, do all cats enjoy to be outside? Or would the unfamiliar noises actually instigate fear and stress in them?
That’s why training comes first, before going out on adventures.
Just like any creature in the world, we all enjoy a certain type of stimulation to add enrichment to our lives. For humans, whether it’d be movies, music, or outdoor activities, we know what makes us feel pleasurable and entertained. The same concept can be applied to cats, as they also enjoy different scent, sound, and sight just like the humans do.
Based on my observation and conversation with other pawrents, I would say, cats do enjoy outside BUT each has their own limits and boundaries.
I’ve known some cats who are perfectly happy just to be on the porch, and observe their outer environment from afar; while others love to be in nature, watching the little critters bouncing around, and sniffing the strange scent of plants or flowers. I even know some other cats, who enjoy the sight of urban infrastructure and explore in the concrete jungle amongst the loud traffic, pedestrians, and noises. Similarly, there are also cats who love to be on a water adventure, whether it’s a kayak, boat, or canoe. The options are countless but it depends on their interest and boundaries.
Raising an adventure cat is like parenthood, you have to uncover their unique personality, interest, and limits. Each cat has their own comfort zone, but it’s up to us to train them within their comfort, and then slowly encourage and elevate their boundaries.
Want to hear about our experience in cat adventure training? Stay tuned for my next post!