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 Plush, who has been a show cat for five years and an adventure cat for two years. 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 Plush will also appear later this summer on Instagram.
RAINY: Why did your Mom want you to become an adventure cat?
PLUSH: My adventures really were sort of an accident to my show cat life. We wanted to try more adventuring to get some outside enjoyment. Mama really wanted to have something else special to do together after I retire from my show career since I really enjoy traveling. We also want to show people that cats can do a lot more things than people give us credit for doing!
RAINY: How did your mom prepare you to become an adventure cat?
PLUSH: I learned harness and leash skills. I was already good at traveling in my carrier and I don’t mind the car. We started going touring to pet-friendly places while we in different areas for cat shows. I’ve been on boats and trains, to breweries and cafes. We like historical locations. I’ve even been to Niagara Falls. Everyone is always amazed to see me. I try to be a good ambassador for traveling cats.
Because I go to car shows I had to learn different things than most adventure cats, just like you did to be a therapy cat. Showing takes some of the same skills as other adventuring. You have to be comfortable around people and in strange environments.
But unlike just going on a hike, showing has a performance factor. Hundreds of people can look at you in a day, you have to look good! That means a lot of grooming. No show cat will be successful, even in the household pet class, that isn’t bathed and groomed to perfection. Yup, a real bath with shampoo and water. My grooming routine is pretty intensive because I have a Persian coat. I’m good about it though. It’s like a nice spa day. You also get handled six or more times a day. Mama would take me to stores and over to friends’ houses and let everyone pet me. We walked around big, loud, stores like Home Depot.
Most shows are in big open venues. You never know what you are going to encounter. Mirrors on the ceiling. Zumba or basketball in the room next door. Heat. Cold. Sometimes even horses or donkeys in the venue if you’re showing at a Pet Expo. You have to be adaptable and ready for anything. Breeders call it “bomb proofing” their little show kittens.
They (the judges) like us to play on the table and stretch on a scratching post. I never do. I pose and rely on my good looks and great grooming.
RAINY: Why do you like being an adventure cat?
PLUSH: It is something special I get to do. I get a lot of one-on-one attention. The best treats that I only get in the show hall or when I go touring. I like meat filets. If we go to a cafe or restaurant, Mama usually shares. I get whip cream at coffee shops. And hotels! I love hotels.
RAINY: Tell me the story of how your Mom got you.
PLUSH: Well, I was abandoned. I was left in a foreclosure and I nearly died. I only weighed 1.5 pounds when someone finally came and trapped me and got me out. I was in foster care with Mama’s favorite rescue for seven months before I was well enough to be adopted. Three people wanted me but Mama asked first and since she has adopted many times from the rescue and they knew her, I went home with her.
I was depressed at first. It took the show circuit and our traveling to hotels and back home again before I really believed I could trust her. And I knew that home was home and we’d always go back.
Now we’re solid. I know she has my back and won’t let anything happen to me.
RAINY: Tell me more about your family members.
PLUSH: I live with Mama and my human brother. And way too many fur-brothers and fur-sisters. My human sister and her family live nearby and she comes with us to all the shows. She likes hotels too I guess.
We have a bunch of other Adventure Cats in the family. Treeno is a 13 year old Norwegian Forest Cat. He wasn’t an adventure cat until a few months ago. Mama took him out one day because I was hiding under the bed. He loves it. He’s into the outdoor adventure stuff like hiking. He’ll actually walk, I like my backpack. He showed for awhile too but he didn’t like the way I do.
My Mama calls my little sisters the Mayhem Brigade because they’re so crazy. They are training to be both outside adventure cats and show cats. I’m not sure what to think about them in the show hall. They growl and hiss. (Ok, I growl sometimes too if I’m put in the ring next to someone I don’t like.) They have to get over all the dramatics if they expect to earn titles.
RAINY: How do you react to other animals?
PLUSH: Sometimes I take offense to other cats at our bench spot in the showring., but I don’t really do anything, I just try to check out their enclosure. I hate it when I get next to a crazy kitten or an angry cat in the ring. It makes me get edgy. That’s when I get a little growly.
I’m not too afraid of dogs but I don’t really love them. Well, I was afraid of the Great Dane, but only because it walked around the corner and I didn’t expect it. Mama always keeps me safe. We just move on if I’m scared. So far I’ve found most dog people to be respectful.
People I mostly like. I need to have Mama protect me when little kids want to pet me. I get nervous if they’re wild.
RAINY: What ways do you cause your Mom trouble at home?
PLUSH: I’m a good boy at home. The only thing I do that I probably shouldn’t do is mess around with her computer. And I pester Jeremy sometimes. I don’t actually do anything. He’s just such a scaredy cat, it is kind of fun to stare at him and make him freak out and hiss and stuff. I probably shouldn’t do that either.
I’m real trouble in the hotels though. I yell all night and beg for special food every couple hours. And whatever I get first isn’t good enough even if it’s my favorite. I need broth or something on it. Because I’m special after all. I get to travel all over and strangers tell me how handsome I am all day long.
I want to play in the middle of the night. And I insist we watch TV. We don’t have a TV at home and I have favorite shows I like to watch.
RAINY: What ways do you make your mom happy?
PLUSH: She says I’m her best friend. She loves to watch Persians play, even if Norwegian Forest Cats really are her breed of choice. I cuddle up and purr at her while she’s working.
Mama has problems with anxiety. Having me and my fur-siblings to take adventuring gives her a reason to get out of the house sometimes. And she’ll stand up for us when she won’t for herself. And hey, I helped her start a business. She learned to groom cats because of my show grooms.
RAINY: Why should other cats become adventure cats?
PLUSH: It’s fun. Hanging around the couch is just so boring. You can get depressed. Some cats eat out of boredom just like humans do and get fat. Stressed cats can get sick too. Urinary problems are common in stressed cats. I went through that a few times when I first came home.
Adventures, shows, and things like agility give you something to do. It provides what humans call environmental enrichment to us felines. Keeps our brains busy I guess is what it means.
RAINY: What advice do you have for aspiring adventure cats?
PLUSH: Trust your humans. They love you and they’ll have your back. Don’t do something they don’t want you to do.