Alfie is a beach kitty who has helped highlight the bond between his mum and his brother.
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We asked his mum, Alicia, to tell us about him.
Tell us the story about how Alfie came into your family.
It's a little sad, but worked out in the end.
I got Alfie after being rejected for 18 months by my original catexplorer, Lynx (one cat household/ people shy/ other animal aggressive/ semi feral). He insisted on staying at the property he was raised in (my now ex's family property - next door to where I am currently) and wanted me to "come home". I knew he was watching, but he only showed himself 6 times in 18 months! When he did show himself - Lynx kept trying to lead me "home" and because I couldn't comply he refused to let me touch him during that time. I actually started to believe he stopped loving me... It was devastating, as Lynx and I had the strongest bond out of any animal I've had. We still do now.
So I got Alfie... And the very next day, Lynx appeared and told me off. Since then, he's been coming to see me 3-4 times a week and has been his affectionate old self...
Having misread the situation so badly, I became obsessed with cat behaviour and training so I never have to go through the consequences of misinterpreting my cats. Which increased my passion to help others train their animals too (hobby of mine).
But all that said it's a happy ending, now I have 1.5 catexplorers - Lynx still lives next door but visits 3-4 times a week.
Tell us the story behind Alfie’s name.
After two days of having him, I picked out 12 names for him to choose from. He liked Archie.
After I announced his name I found out someone in our wider group also had a catexplorer named Archie!
So I changed it to closest sounding name that still suited him - Alfie. And he liked it even better.
Alfie is exactly like Jude Laws character in terms of personality too. Ladies man, attention sponge, a little self obsessed and very very cheeky.
What is Alfie’s favourite thing to do?
Rolling in sand at the beach.
What kind of catexploring does Alfie do?
His favourite are beach trips, but he ends up ingesting too much salt so I limit that to once a week.
He also loves walking in thick bush where there are lots of rocks and trees to climb.
Pretty much anything in nature or will get him admired - he's happy.
Tell us about your most memorable adventure.
30/08 - The day I took Lynx and Alfie for a bush walk on my property - together.
I believed that the boys needed to be kept seperate for the rest of their lives. Lynx has been very aggressive towards Alfie and would viciously attack the glass that divided them.
But 7.5 months in, while I was out with Alfie, Lynx came over unexpectedly.
I went to swoop Alfie up like I normally do, but instead of being aggressive Lynx tenderly approached as if to say, "I'll be reasonable this time". And I believed him.
They still told each other off etc but I didn't fear for anyone’s safety.
It was one of the most precious moments of being a cat parent I have experienced.
Why did you decide to train your catexplorer?
My experience with Lynx made me determined to train a cat that was adaptable to multiple conditions, environments and stimuli, that I'd never had to consider giving up because of having to move properties due to unforeseen circumstances.
How did you train your cat to be a catexplorer?
I accidentally trained Lynx to become an unleashed catexplorer back in 2010, as part of desensitising exercises with dogs by taking everyone on walks together on the property.
With Alfie, I applied what I learned with training Lynx, and developed a systematic approach to train catexplorers starting at 12 weeks old.
Just some of these techniques are being applied to another DSH and it's proving effective :) it's a series of desensitisation exercises done in sequence alongside improving your cat comms skills that (hopefully) produces an all around catexplorer.
What has been the most rewarding part of having a catexplorer?
It's just nice to be able to give your pet experiences outside of the home.
I see how happy they both are to be outdoors, how they stop and enjoy/notice/appreciate the little things which makes me appreciate them too.
They have increased my love of the natural world and they're both hilarious, always doing something to make me laugh.
What has been the hardest?
Keeping the boys seperate and watching Lynx attack Alfie over and over through the glass, knowing that Alfie hisses at everyone he meets now because that's what he's been exposed to. He doesn't know any better and it puts the animals he meets off for the first 5 mins. That's tough to watch knowing where it comes from.
Still working on undoing that but I don't think it'll happen anytime soon. It's ok, he's not aggressive - just mouthy but other owners don't know or always believe that right away.
In hindsight, what would you do differently?
Never letting Alfie outside his carrier in the car.
I didn't realise it was illegal and trained him to stay out of my area in the car which he adhered to. He just goes and lays in the back seat or where the front passenger is.
Then I found out it was illegal after doing it 5 times, so started putting him back in the carrier. He has not forgotten that he once got to be free in the car. He reminds me of "the good old days" the entire car trip. I have to turn the music up. I hope he forgets or let's it go soon...
What advice would you give other humans training their catexplorers?
Focus on the bond, respect and communication (I use hand signals with the boys).
Everything else falls into place after. Also cats are logical and linear in their thinking. A behaviour you teach may also change another entirely. I.e. if you want to free leash train, decide early on and you may have to accept when you do put a leash on they'll probably not be as happy about it as other cats who've never been free leashed trained it.
What are your favourite products for your catexplorer?
Ibiyaya backpack with removal bottom (good for large cats and cleaning off sand). Also highly breathable.
Animates harness (wet adventures)
Puppia harness (dry adventures)
3x 1.2M thin leash clipped together so I can shorten as needed but have it long as that's our preference when on a leash - personally against retractable leashes for cats by respect other owners choices
Is there another catexplorer that inspires you?
@backpackingkitty (the ultimate all catexplorer - is there anything this cat can't do?!)
Follow Alfie on Instagram (@adventurecatsultant).