Waffles & Cocoa

Waffles & Cocoa are siblings who love exploring and sniffing every tree.

A perfect day for Cocoa would be spending hours smelling every rock along a trail, destroying any toy that resembles fur, sitting motionless staring at the birds on our balcony, and curling up asleep on our laps. 

Waffles loves running down trails, chasing any toy with a feather on it (and dragging it away to her various hiding spots), scaring birds off our balcony, and she is slowly starting to enjoy being in water.

Waffles loves wet food and Cocoa can't get enough of their dry food - we feed them the kitten line of Royal Canin. Both of them lose their minds over Greenies treats.

What kind of adventures do Waffles & Cocoa go on?

Any cat friendly hikes we can find around Los Angeles!

We love the beauty of the state and national parks, but sometimes the main trails can have a few too many people for the cats' liking.

Our favorite daily area is a botanical garden by our house that is calm, secluded, and has lots of different nature to be sniffed.

Hoping to take them camping soon so we can spend more time outside in the parks!

Tell us about your most memorable adventure

Great adventure: One day exploring around a bench in a botanical garden by us, a partially blind man approached. We were a little unsure as they usually are frightened by strangers on paths, but both Waffles and Cocoa approached him! He knelt down and they started rubbing up against him and his walking stick as he pet them. We found out that he was in town as part of a wounded veterans rehabilitation program and just out for a walk. He said meeting such sweet cats was a highlight of his trip here, but little does he know how much of a highlight our short time with him was for us!

Not so good, but very memorable adventure: We took a weekend trip to Big Bear Lake and had a great time until our last hike on Sunday. Waffles especially is getting better at walking straight along the trail so we were actually making it farther down just on leash than usual. A couple came up behind us interested in petting the cats, and then very quickly a father, son, and their large unleashed dog came bounding down the trail in front of us. Before we could get Cocoa into her backpack she puffed up, clawed out, and climbed the nearest tree. Once we got everyone away she came down and was fine, but with two new puncture wounds in my hand I ended up on antibiotics for a week.

Why did you decide to train Waffles & Cocoa?

 We love exploring the outdoors and knew that it would (hopefully!) be fulfilling for Waffles and Cocoa as well.

We'd seen it done successfully with others, and were so happy that they took to it pretty quickly.

How did you train Waffles & Cocoa?

Lots of patience and bribes.

We started slowly with treats on the harnesses, slowly taking them on and off as we gave them treats, distracting them with treats as we clipped the harnesses, etc.

Since we live in a high rise in a city we couldn't start in a backyard, so we took them in our hallway on leash first (had a few interesting responses from neighbors) and outside onto our balcony.

Then our first "real" adventure was to a small park by us, where Waffles spent a lot of time sitting on our shoulders or heads and Cocoa barely wanted to come out of the backpack.

After about a half hour they settled in and really started to enjoy sniffing trees and eating the grass.

Since then we've just taken it slowly at each new place and they've been acclimating faster and faster.

They love having their backpacks to look out at the world, but if we don't take them out fast enough now they start to meow that they want to get down and explore!

What has been the most rewarding part of having a catexplorer?

Seeing how happy Waffles and Cocoa are on adventures and when they feel comfortable enough to lay down on a park bench in the sun and nap.

Also, it doesn't hurt that when we come home from a hike they usually sleep through the night :)

What has been the hardest?

At the moment they're still getting used to car rides, so listening to their stressed meowing is our least favorite part of any adventure.

In hindsight, what would you do differently?

Started everything even earlier!

In the grand scheme we still started them outdoors at under 6 months, but we wish we'd put them in a harness the week we got them.

What advice would you give other humans training their catexplorers?

Start early and be patient.

Bribes are very effective.

Use backpacks - they love having a safe place!

Is there another catexplorer that inspires you?

SO. MANY. One of our favorite things about creating an Instagram for Waffles and Cocoa is being able to connect with other Catexplorers around the world!

We trade advice, product recommendations, and we get a lot of inspiration to take our girls out on new explorations.

This is a very incomplete list but a sample of accounts I love to follow on insta :)

@theadventuresoflumosandnox @o.g.adventurecat @roxythe_kity @whiskered_away @adventuresoffishandchips @adventurrio @freja_berkano@jack_hikes_ @adventuresofmikeandlily @furrywaffles @mickjaggertheragdoll @nikki_forest_cat @adventuresofmonacaliby @tigertheadventurecat@hobbes_at_large @adventuresofjudethecat @adventurecatollie @kiwi_adventure_cat @adventurecatmalc @adventurecat_miles@adventuresofsageandhops @adventure.meow @snutenkatt @yooper_adventure_cat @little_hazel_monster @chasing_mavericksss@backpackingkitty @sabreandsage @mapleandshadow @furrymagic @littlegreysadventures @hellopistachio @backpackinmac @thetailsoftheron

Follow Waffles & Cocoa on Instagram (@waffles_cocoa)