Emmylou is an adventure kitty who loves watersports with her family, including her doggy sibling Muppet.
What is Emmylou's favourite thing to do?
Walks through the neighborhood in the evening are her favorite. She also enjoys canoeing and hiking in the forest. She tolerates my obsession with waterfalls.
At home, her favorite activities are napping in her window perch and hanging outside in her catio where she can monitor the goings-on!
What is Emmylou's favorite toy?
Her absolute favorite toy is her catnip banana. She also enjoys chasing catnip bubbles.
And who can resist a paper bag or cardboard box?!
We rotate her toys about once a month so she can “rediscover” them - we’ve read that cats are curious and are more interested in new/novel things. That way she doesn’t get bored with them!
What kind of cat adventures does Emmy like to go on?
We recently took Emmy camping for the first time and had such a great time, so we will definitely do that again.
We also really enjoy taking her whitewater rafting - my husband and I met as raft guides, so sharing that activity with Emmy and our dog Muppet is great!
And Emmylou loves to explore the small islands along the river!
Tell us about your most memorable adventure with Emmylou
It’s probably either her first real hike or her first time whitewater rafting. Both times I was so nervous that she wouldn’t enjoy herself.
Her first hike was to the top of Bearwallow Mountain. We got lucky and there were very few other hikers out that day. She rode on my backpack all the way up, but when we got to the top, she was so brave. She hopped out out walked around the bald like she’d been doing it forever!
For our first rafting trip, I was nearly in a panic worried she’d be scared or miserable (despite the fact she’s been very happy in a canoe and on our SUP in the past). But she absolutely loved it! She enjoyed walking around the raft and watching the scenery as we floated along. Her favorite part was being able to explore the little islands in the river off-leash (she is rarely off her leash on our adventures). It was such a great day with the whole family (my husband, our dog Muppet, Emmylou, and myself!).
Why did you decide to train Emmylou?
As a veterinarian, I have treated a lot of cats with medical and behavioral issues related to boredom (obesity, destructive behavior, etc). Since Emmylou was going to be an indoor cat, I wanted to be sure that she had plenty of enrichment.
I had expected to be able to walk her around the neighborhood and the occasional trip to the park, but she took to everything so quickly and with so much excitement, that we just kept going on bigger and bigger adventures!
How did you train Emmylou?
We started with getting her accustomed to the harness by associating it with treats.
We also worked on her coming when she was called and basic obedience skills like sitting on command.
Once she was comfortable with the harness and was sort of obedient, we started exploring the house with her harness and a leash (never pulling on it). Then we started in our yard and then the neighborhood.
Once she was very confident exploring the neighborhood, we went to our local park. It took several trips to the park before she was more comfortable around strange people and dogs.
But once she was comfortable with that, we started hiking.
What has been the most rewarding part of having a catexplorer?
Emmylou loves getting out so much, I feel like we need to have an adventure every week. This has kept me very active, and caused me to explore new trails and activities in our area that I otherwise wouldn’t have.
We live in a beautiful place and I’ve gotten to appreciate that more because of Emmylou!
What has been the hardest?
I am always concerned for her safety.
We often run into dogs that are not under their owner’s control, and it scares Emmylou. We only hike in areas where dogs are required to be on a leash, so these confrontations are upsetting to both Emmylou and myself.
What advice would you give other humans training their catexplorers?
Just to take their time.
Let their cat enjoy their adventures and only try bigger things once their cat is relaxed and comfortable.
The whole point is for the Cat to enjoy their adventures, so be sure not to push too fast or have unreasonable expectations.
Is there another Catexplorer that inspires you?
Sophie from KCC Adventure Cats - she has cerebellar hypoplasia and still goes on adventures and has an amazing life!