Last updated: 26 Jan, 2023
Published on: 27 Sep, 2022
Meet Juniper, the adventure cat!
Are you ready to hit the road for some much-needed R&R? Make sure you pack a backpack with enough snacks, water, sunscreen and … your cat! Or at least that’s how lucky cat Juniper’s adopter Anna rolls!
Since Anna adopted a sweet little cat called Juniper, her adventures have never been the same; after all, a cute kitty cat is enough to ensure there’s never a dull moment.
When PetRescue’s team came across Juniper’s Instagram page, we were in awe of this adventure cat!
Before Juniper (who was adopted from Peggy's Promise) purred her way into Anna’s life, Anna had very little interaction with felines. But just a handful of meetings convinced Anna that she needed the bounty of a cat’s love in her life! Feline charm #FTW.
Training for the great outdoors
Anna was initially advised to keep her indoors (given that they live on a busy street). Still, given her family’s outdoorsy lifestyle, Anna decided that Juniper should be part of all the fun stuff too!
“We introduced her to the harness in the house first. When we put it on, we made her walk to her dinner in a different room. The only harness that she was comfortable wearing was the H-style harness. (She played dead with an over-the-head vest-style harness!) After the harness, we introduced the leash, in the house first also,” says Anna.
Here are some other things that Anna did as part of Juniper’s training:
🎒 Got her a cat backpack online and left it around the house so she would get used to it.
🦮 Practised walking on the leash only in the garden for a while.
🐈⬛ Walked her around in the backpack in the neighbourhood without trying to get her out, letting her come out in her own time.
🍔 Brought her favourite treats to encourage her.
🧸 She took her favourite toy out or often used a stick that she liked chasing along the ground, which helped her walk in the right direction.
🪢 Use a 5m retractable leash (during trips) to feel she has more freedom.
Juniper - the outdoor cat
Once Anna was confident enough that Juniper was ready to conquer the outdoors, there was no stopping this little Indiana Jones.
“Every week, we take her to a local coffee shop to get her used to different noises, other people and dogs. We take her to the park, on bush walks, and slowly get her used to the beach. She has been going outside for three months now; we would love to be able to take her kayaking one day.”
The most important thing when taking your pet on adventures is to listen to them and look out for signs when they feel uncomfortable. Although Juniper likes her adventures, she also has times when she prefers to take it easy.
“Sometimes, she would just prefer to walk around the garden! When she’s not as confident, she will stay in her backpack and not come out. When she’s nervous, she shakes. She’ll meow when she’s unhappy and wants to return to the car or leave her backpack to hide if something is very noisy and she’s trying to escape the noise.”
How this adventure cat changed her owner’s life
Anna was diagnosed with ME/CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) and knew that Juniper would be the perfect companion. Training Juniper and watching her explore the outdoors gave Anna a sense of purpose and ensured that her active lifestyle was all the more exciting. ❤️
“Since being sick, I felt like I had lost purpose due to my inability to do what I used to. Training Nipper to be an adventure cat has given me a focus and is a perfect fit for the current amount of activity I am able to do (she only walks a couple of km). She’s the perfect daily companion to get me outside but also to nap and cuddle with as well.
“I was looking for a friendly/affectionate cat for company as I am in the house much more than I would like/have ever been before. She is definitely very affectionate. She absolutely loves cuddles, constantly sits on my lap, follows me around the house all the time, including watches me in the shower and sits on the toilet seat behind me! She also has whole conversations with meows back and forth when I speak to her by her name, the name she responds to is her nickname Nipper.”
Advice for explorer cat owners
Here’s Anna’s advice for aspiring cat owners looking to make some memories with their fur pals in nature:
🤗 Not all cats’ personalities may be suited to walking on a leash. Ideal traits are friendly, confident, curious, energetic, and easy to pick up. Having at least some of these is a good start.
🐦 Have lots of patience! They tend to stop and sniff things, climb trees or chase bugs and birds.
👂 Every outdoor adventure might not go as planned, so you must listen to your cat and adjust accordingly.
📯 Cats are highly sensitive to noise, so choose places based on that, especially to start.
👜 Their natural instinct when they are scared is to run and hide, which they can’t do well on a leash, so make sure you have a place where they feel safe - a bag/backpack they like.
🥦 Always bring water and their favourite treats.
Juniper’s adventures prove that some cats can be ideal travel companions. Your travel album could do with a cat or two! Find your feline adventure buddy on PetRescue today.
Navigate travelling with your fur pal with the PetRescue guide to pet travel. We've sourced some great resources on pet-friendly accommodation, road trips, flights and other tips.
If you loved Juniper’s little backpack, getour cat a comfy backpack of their own. Check out PETstock’s Buddy and Bella Cat Backpack to start your adventures! ✨