Today Lincoln Pet Culture is honored to bring a special interview to its readers. My therapy cat Rainy sat down to do an online interview with Basil, who started training to be an adventure cat before he was one. He has many stories to tell including one about breaking his tail, but also of exploring places with his human mom. Rainy’s interview with Basil will also appear later this spring on Instagram.
RAINY: Why did your Mom want you to become an adventure cat?
BASIL: There are a few reasons we decided adventuring was the right way for us.
Number one is that I have a lot of pent up energy, and as a kitten was harassing my elder siblings. Adventuring was a great outlet for this energy. I got to use my brain, get exercise, and meet lots of new friends.
Number two is that cats outside without supervision are a recipe for disaster. They’ve got a significantly shorter lifespan and have long-term, negative effects on the environment.
Leash training was a no-brainer!
RAINY: How did your mom prepare you to become an adventure cat?
BASIL: She started immediately. She left the harness next to my food so it smelled familiar, and found the lightest leash she could. As soon as it was warm enough, we started going outside around the home. It was cold and scary. so I didn’t want to go far.
Then I broke my tail and had a very scary vet experience. We realized I might develop a fear of cars if this was my only exposure to driving, so I started tagging along on errands. Even though it was cold, we visited a few pet stores and went for drives.
Once the weather warmed up my human took me into the front yard where I got to experience more sights and sounds. It took me almost 45 minutes to walk to the mailbox the first time. Now I do it in two.
My human let me set the pace and was very patient. Eventually we learned to trust each other and I was open to more exciting adventures.
RAINY: How long have you been training?
BASIL: I put my first harness on at 15 weeks, but it was too cold to actually go outside. I was probably 8-9 months before I really started training outdoors.
RAINY: Why do you like being an adventure cat?
BASIL: There are SO many things I like being about an adventure cat! The sights, the smells, and most importantly, the one-on-one time with my human.
RAINY: Tell me the story of how your Mom got you.
BASIL: I don’t have a very exciting origin story. My mom found out my big brother had cancer and was very sad. After lengthy discussions (and some very convincing memes), the humans decided to get a kitten while my big brother was still healthy enough to impart some wisdom on the kitten.
They decided on a bengal. Aapparently, we’re better for allergies and my mom is very allergic to my siblings (doesn’t stop her from loving them!). After reaching out to a few responsible breeders she found me, and … that’s it.
I’m happy to report it’s been two years and my big brother is now cancer-free!
RAINY: Tell me more about your family members.
BASIL: We’ve got two humans and two other cats in the house. The humans are pretty straight forward, except mom keeps putting plants on ledges where I like to sit. I keep shoving them off and they always come back.
I’m the youngest, and the other cats are older rescues. My sister Mu is nine years old, very fluffy, and came from the Winnipeg Humane Society. My big brother is Batman and he’s 11. My mom’s roommate was a teacher and he was found abandoned in a locker when he was five to six weeks old. He’s a very big cat and would no longer fit in a locker. They’re both a little older and don’t think I’m as fun as I think I am!
RAINY: How do you react to other animals?
BASIL: I LOVE DOGS. Seriously, what’s not to love about dogs? They like to wrestle and smell really neat! I can be a little worried around other cats, but that’s just because my siblings are old and cranky when I try to play with them.
I love playing chase, and if you like playing chase we’ll be best friends.
RAINY: What ways do you cause your Mom trouble at home?
BASIL: I never cause trouble, what are you talking about?
(Human intervention) That is a lie. Basil likes to rip art off the walls and sob pathetically at the door if he doesn’t get to go outside when he wants. He’s also extremely athletic and can jump literally and fence or barrier. Sometimes he decides he doesn’t like his food and covers it with things like sweaters or boots.
RAINY: What ways do you make your mom happy?
BASIL: When I’m good, I’m great. I’m the sweetest cat. I just want to play and have fun. I try to listen outside and I’m always willing to try new things. I’ve even walked down the blast tunnel into a Cold War Bunker before! I’m also an excellent traveller and my litterbox etiquette is 100%. I could probably be less picky about food, but where is the fun in that?
RAINY: Why should other cats become adventure cats?
BASIL: There is a whole world of neat things for you and your human to explore together. Sometimes it’s just fun to hang out in a park, or go to a store and pick out your own treat.
If that seems scary, don’t worry, your garden or street is full of all sorts of interesting birds and bugs you can look at.
Oh, I also get to run. My humans have to chase me to keep up, but it’s so much fun.
RAINY: What advice do you have for aspiring adventure cats?
BASIL: Take your time! It’s no fun if you’re scared, so work on feeling confident. Your humans might bring your favourite toy to a new spot to help you feel better or offer you plenty of treats.
Also, try a few harnesses. No one likes the harness right away and it’s okay to find your favourite style. Eventually, you’ll learn how much fun they can bring!