Updated: May 4
Here at Catventurous we consider a backpack or other carrier to be essential gear for catventurers. Read on to find out why you should and how you can create a physical 'safe space' for your catventurer during each outing.
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One of our top safety tips for catventurers recommends that during any outing, long or short, intrepid or mellow, your catventurer always has access to a 'safe space' that he/she can retreat to for whatever reason. The most practical and secure way to create this space is to always have a backpack or other carrier with you whenever you venture outdoors.
Why should you create a safe space for your catventurer?
The first reason to create a safe space so that your catventurer can feel safe. During outings your cat may be introduced to unfamiliar situations and experiences and having a safe space to retreat to for whatever reason is important for building and maintaining their confidence.
A safe space provides a space where your cat cannot only feel safe but also, should the need arise, literally be safe. Expect the unexpected on all your outings and always have your carrier available to place your cat into should the need arise to keep him/her out of harm's way. The most common situation that might arise is an encounter with an off leash dog. Intervene as early as you can by placing your cat securely into his/her carrier to avoid situations that might traumatise them, decrease their confidence or lead to injury.
During longer outings such as hikes, your cat may require a place to relax, rest or sleep if they become tired. A cat will often not wish to walk for long periods or distances on leash as would a dog. If your cat doesn't feel well or suddenly falls ill it is important to be able to carry them comfortably until you can reach the safety of home or access veterinary care.
How can you create a safe space?
Ideally, your cat's safe space during outings is a carrier that he/she is already well familiar with. As soon as you have decided to introduce your kitten or cat to a catventurous lifestyle, consider investing in a pet backpack or other carrier that you could envision taking on every outing, one that suits you and your cat's needs. There are many reasonably priced options on the market. Deck your chosen carrier out with comfortable bedding, leave it around the spaces in the house where your cat usually hangs out and sleeps and allow your cat to sniff it and imprint it with his/her own scent. All going well, he/she might even choose to relax and sleep in it. If your cat is avoiding the space, consider trying a cat attracting or calming spray sprayed into the carrier. Please consult your vet for advice should you need it.
Once you begin catventuring outdoors, consider leaving with your cat secured in his/her carrier whenever you leave your home. This can help to establish a routine where you cat knows that whenever he/she goes outside your front door, it is always associated with not only their harness and leash, but also with their safe space. This can help prevent 'door dashing' (an excited, unsecured cat dashing at a door and potentially escaping) but also helps to define a ritual where every outing begins with your cat feeling safe and secure.
Ensure that throughout your outing your cat has ready access to his/her safe space at any time for whatever reason.
If you go on longer outings or day hikes, consider installing a routine where your cat has 'time out' in their carrier at various intervals during the outing. It can be a time where they know they can rest or sleep, further reinforcing their carrier as a space where they can feel safe to relax. This may also be useful if an emergency or dangerous situation ever arises and, for safety reasons, your cat must stay in his/her carrier. As mentioned, one of the most common of these situations is when encountering off leash dogs but this may also be useful on certain hiking trails that, for safety reasons, require full human attention.
A key ingredient in successfully creating this physical safe space is that your cat feels safe and secure with you. Cultivating a bond with your cat based on secure attachment is essential. It is an uphill battle to create a physical safe space for your cat without them having a strong and positive emotional and psychological one in their relationship with you.
Alternative (but less recommended) ways to create a physical safe space include teaching your cat to ride on your shoulders, on top of their pet backpack or to ride on top of a regular or modified backpack. However, we strongly recommend your cat have a space into which he/she can be secured when the unexpected happens.
How have you created a safe space for your catventurer? Have you experienced situations where you were grateful you had it? Share your experience and wisdom with our community in the comments below or send us an email to email@example.com.
Charlotte & Melba
L'importance de créer un espace sûr pour votre cha'venturier
Chez Catventurous, nous considérons qu'un sac à dos ou un autre support est un équipement essentiel pour les cha'venturiers. Lisez ce qui suit pour savoir pourquoi vous devriez et comment vous pouvez créer un « espace de sécurité » pour votre cha'venturier durant chaque sortie.
L'un de nos meilleurs conseils de sécurité pour les cha'venturiers recommande que lors de toute sortie, longue ou courte, intrépide ou douce, votre cha'venturier ait toujours accès à un « espace de sécurité » dans lequel il peut se réfugier pour quelque raison que ce soit. La façon la plus pratique et la plus fiable de créer cet espace est d'avoir tou