Captain Patch the Acro-Cat
Captain Patch is an ambassacat for the Amazing Acro-Cats and travels the US showing that cats can learn tricks and their benefits.
We asked his mum, Debra, to tell us more about him.
Tell us the story of how Captain Patch came into your family.
In 2007 I was working as a tech in a veterinary clinic. A local cat rescue found a kitten in an alley with a terrible eye injury and an upper respiratory infection and brought him in for treatment. We couldn’t save his eye so we removed it surgically. It turned out that he also had a deviated septum which was very risky to repair and that was why he was so congested. Luckily, his symptoms could be managed with medications.
The moment I laid eyes on this special little kitty it was love at first sight! It was like a scene in cheesy romantic comedy where wind was blowing through our hair/fur as we ran in slow motion towards each other while an 80s love song played in the background.
What is the story behind Captain Patch’s name?
The cat rescue that saved him had been calling him Patch. I thought it was cute but it needed some flair to match his personality. I added the Captain since he reminded me of a Pirate with his one eye.
What kind of exploring do you do with Captain Patch?
We travel all over the country with the Amazing Acro-Cats, a troupe of rescued house cats that perform tricks and teach audiences about the benefits of clicker training.
Captain Patch is our ambassacat. He greets everyone, spreads the word about adopting special needs kitties, and collects donations for our associated nonprofit, Rock Cats Rescue.
While we are touring, we go on adventures in different cities together to see roadside attractions and famous tourist sights.
When we are home in Asheville, NC, we like to go to local breweries to hang out and say hello to people.
Why did you train Captain Patch to explore with you?
I love Captain Patch so much and I wanted to spend more time with him.
How do you explore with Captain Patch?
Captain Patch is harnessed trained and wears his harness every where we go. He has a stroller so that we can go for longer walks down town or in a park. He is a seasoned traveler and loves car rides. He is also comfortable traveling on airplanes.
Where are your favourite places to go?
Silly roadside attractions and local breweries.
How do you pick where to go with your cat?
We look for good photo ops that show Captain Patch in unique places. When we go to restaurants or breweries, we check ahead of time to make sure they allow cats.
How do you introduce Captain Patch to a new situation/location?
I always bring Captain Patch to a new location in his carrier and let him walk out on his own when he is ready. If he gets nervous I make sure that he can return to his carrier for safety.
Have you had a scary/difficult situation while exploring with Captain Patch? Can you tell us about it and what you learnt from it?
I have been fortunate with Captain Patch in that our adventures together have been safe and rewarding. I have to be careful around dogs though because Captain is very loving and wants to be friends with everyone (human and pet alike). He is also frightened of thunder storms so I try to be very conscientious about the weather.
Have you come across an amazing cat friendly business/location that we should celebrate? Tell us about them.
Nobel Cider in Asheville, NC is our favorite place to hang out. It is such a great environment and they love kitties there!
Tell us about your most memorable adventure.
We were on a road trip though Indiana and we stopped at the Garden of Gas Station signs. Captain Patch had so much fun walking through the grass underneath all the old classic signs. He even sat on top of a vintage Sinclair dinosaur. It was one of our best outings together!
What is Captain Patch’s achievement that you are the proudest of?
Captain Patch is probably the most loving cat you will ever meet. He truly enjoys meeting new people and would like everyone to come over and say hello to him while we are out and about.
What has been the most rewarding thing about exploring with Captain Patch?
We have such a strong bond because we are able to travel everywhere together. It’s truly amazing.
What has been the hardest thing about exploring with Captain Patch?
There are so many places that don’t allow pets. I would like that to change.
Is there anything you would do differently with training Captain Patch to explore with you?
I wouldn’t change anything about the way that I trained Captain (or he trained me?).
However, every cat is different and should be trained accordingly. I have other harness trained kitties that required different approaches to make sure they were comfortable.
What is something you wish you could go back and tell yourself when you first started exploring with Captain Patch?
Take more pictures!
What advice would you give other humans who are training their cats to explore with them?
I think it’s really important for cat parents to know that it is possible to harness train adult cats.
Most people think that kittens can be trained but that adult cats are too set in their ways. However, I did not start having adventures with Captain until he was a few years old. And we didn’t join the Amazing Acro-Cats until he was a senior!
Of course not all cats are meant to be cat explorers and some prefer to be inside lap kitties. But if you have an older cat that you suspect may be a good travel companion, please do not let their age stop you from trying.
What are your favourite product/gear for your cat?
Captain’s all time favorite treats are the Inaba squeeze tubes. We always travel with them. He absolutely loves his carrier which is actually a detachable part of his stroller. The brand name is Oyama. He loves wearing bow ties but is not picky about the brand. We are both fans of Orijin and Weruva cat food because they are such high quality and very palatable for cats.
What do you wish people knew about cats?
Cats really like to learn.
Most dog parents take the time to train their dogs but cat parents often believe that it’s not possible. But cats are quite intelligent and they enjoy the human-cat bond that develops from training sessions.
Is there another catexplorer (humans or feline) who inspires you?
I love Emmylou and her mom!