Adventure Cats: Living Nine Lives to the Fullest
by Laura J. Moss
This is a fun and inspiring book that I ran across at some point well after I’d already started taking my cat on walks with a halter and leash.* I thought to myself: this is a nonfiction book about adventure cats, my cat would definitely like to go on more adventures, so this might give me ideas.
And it did. Sort of. Maybe I’ll like outside adventures more if I have my cat with me. But as I’ve stated before, I find the concept of long walks a lot more interesting than the practice of it.
It turns out that I’m pretty much the exact opposite of the intended audience for this book. The intended audience is made up of adventurous people who are interested in seeing if they can get their cat involved in their lifestyle. My situation is that I am a standard couch-potato cat-owner who has stumbled across ownership of an adventure cat and now needs to figure out how to keep his life suitably enriched while also keeping him safe and me sane.
About half the book is made of short bios of various adventure cats and their people and what all is involved in their lifestyle. I adored these parts! So cute! There are cats who go hiking and camping and sailing and surfing and skiing and rock climbing and so much more. Awesome!
The other half of the book is focused on how-to instructions and lists of important information on how to safely go adventuring with a cat. It seems very useful and also highlighting that this is not my preferred method of relaxing or enjoying the world.
The directions on how to train a cat are also so slow and careful that it struck me as more of a deterrent than an inspiration to actually follow the method, but again: I’m not the audience of people who are adventurous and want a cat to match. I expect the written method is the correct way to train a cat, but my relationship with my cat is a lot more mutual training as I figure out how to accommodate his desires as much as I train him to accommodate mine.**
This book also ran into my standard pet peeve with pretty much all self-help books: they tend to talk to the reader with broad assertions (“you think”, “you feel”, “you respond”) that always make me feel particularly contrary (“you don’t know me!”), and I was getting that with this book as it simplified cat body language and responses in a way that was absolutely necessary for the scope of the book, but didn’t match my cat at all.***
A final warning: Every couple of pages this author uses a cutesy pun (being “purrpared”; anything being “pawsible”) and it’s way too cutesy for me.
Despite the various caveats, I do recommend this book. It is an inspiration to see about pushing the boundaries of what I do for my cat’s enrichment and maybe for my own enrichment too.
* As a kitten, my cat was extremely curious and completely fearless and had to be held back from stalking a flock of Canadian geese, and he doesn’t appear to have gained much sense of self-preservation since then.
** I didn’t have to lure my cat into liking the halter and leash: He wanted to go outside so I made wearing a halter and leash a condition of that, and it wasn’t so much leash training as it was compromise negotiation. If he came near the door, I would put the halter/leash on him, and he’d be allowed out. If he didn’t want the halter leash on him, then he shouldn’t come near the door as I was going out.
*** Yes, my cat got startled and poofed out with a full bottle-brush tail on a walk this weekend, but he also continued to explore and had absolutely no interest in returning to the safety of the house. Yes, at another point he froze absolutely still and then had to slowly approach and cautiously whack a fallen leaf like a dangerous enemy, but again, no interest in retreating to safety.