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Great Outdoors Adventures

Babbis in Her Tent-Butterflies

 

Babbis in the Fall Leaves

On my leash, enjoying a fall day.

 

You may be wondering, “How can I get Mr. Fluffernutter outside to enjoy it in a safe way?” (Maybe you have a Princess Fluffypants or something. I apologize for catering to the Toms first.) There are a few ways that I get to go outside and enjoy it without my humans worrying that I’ll get hurt or lost.

The first, least costly way is a leash and harness. I purrsonally did not want anything to do with those things before I was 2 years old. Mammis first tried getting me used to them when I was around a year old. She had to wait another season and then try again. I hated it at first. I would roll around and try to get out of the harness. I’d also chew on the straps. Part of my annoyance may have been because Mammis had the harness adjusted too tight for my fluffy self. She was afraid of me slipping out of it so she was a little overzealous.

After some trial and error, I can now enjoy the great outdoors on the leash. Because my humom took the time to train me, I can walk around the yard and examine my territory. I can also explore new territories by walking on the sidewalk or in the back alley. It’s so fun watching the squirrels, birds, ants, and other bugs, without feeling contained! One thing I don’t like is running into other animals or strangers while on my exploits. Sometimes I will run all the way home to escape a perceived danger. The humans have a hard time keeping up. (They need more exercise, obviously.) ┬áSo going far away from the house is usually not an option.


Our tips for safe harness training and use are as follows:

1. Be patient. Try to get Ms. Fluffypants to accept that she can only go outside on the leash and harness. You might have to use toys and/or treats to distract her from the discomfort of the harness. If she has a problem adjusting to it, try putting it on her in the house and allowing her to walk around in it inside for increasing periods of time. One other tactic to train her would be to feed her with the bowl near the harness or while she’s in it. The humans did these things with me and now I wear the harness willingly. The association created with food (a pleasurable thing) and the harness will help Fluffypants accept the use of it.

We also have some words of caution. Try to keep Fluffypants from dashing out the door and avoid letting her outside without the restraint on. She needs to get it into her little mind that she can only be outside on the leash (or in a tent, which we will discuss in a minute). Once Kitty gets a taste of the great outdoors, she or he will try to get out as often as possible. Sometimes I scratch and meow at the doors because I want to go out. Just about every day, I try (and often succeed) in dashing out the door when the humans are coming in. Just be careful of that!

 

Babbis Looking at US Flag

I got used to the harness eventually!

 

2. Get a good quality harness and retractable leash. The last thing you want is for the harness to be uncomfortable. If it’s too tight or not the right design, it will cause excessive rolling, gnawing at the harness straps, and a burning dislike of being in it. Mr. Fluffernutter might do these things anyway, but an uncomfortable harness will just make it worse.

The harness we use now is not the kind that has just one fastener. It has two plastic buckles that buckle in front of my front legs and behind them. It has been the most comfortable and easy to get on harness the humans have tried on me. We tried a one-piece harness made of thick padded fabric and that didn’t go over well. It was difficult to get on and I hated it. I also tried a harness with one buckle only. The straps rested in front and in back of my front legs like my current harness but buckled at my back where the loops were to attach the leash to. I had to step through it to get it on and that was a pain for the humans. I wouldn’t just step into it. They had to struggle with me and lift me to get my legs into the holes. It was difficult for only one person to do. The harness itself was tolerable but not as good as the harness I have now.

As for the leash, my humans at first used a cheap retractable leash from a discount store but realized that it would be a disaster if the leash failed because of low quality. They envisioned me dashing across the street after an animal. In their nightmare, before they knew it, “SNAP!” The leash was at its end and it broke right off the reel. Avoid that scenario in real life by getting a trusted brand of leash with good quality materials and craftsmanship. I have suggested products below.

Flexi Freedom Retractable Cord Leash, Extra Small, 10-Feet Long, Supports up to 18-Pound.
(Several Colors Available)

Adjustable Cat Harness Dual Strap with Leash by PUPTECK

 

3. Consider safety issues. Always be aware of your surroundings.┬áThis is not only for your own sake but also your cat’s. I have heard horrible stories of small animals being attacked by large dogs that came out of nowhere or didn’t seem to be aggressive at first. So many animals (and children unfortunately) have been mauled and died from their injuries. You might think, “Oh well I would just pick my cat up and run.” It doesn’t work that way. You might not even notice the dog run up to Kitty. They don’t always bark when attacking. It could be too late by the time you realize there’s a problem. Even if you did proactively pick Mr. Fluffernutter up, the dog might leap at you and attack you both. It would be hard to keep defending your cat while being threatened with mortal wounds from an enraged dog. There’s also the possibility of Mr. Fluffernutter wounding you himself while he scratches and otherwise mangles you to jump from your arms and run off. You wouldn’t be able to defend Kitty after that point.

We live near a park where a lot of dogs are walked. Mammis is always vigilant when we go outside to avoid unfriendly dogs or cats that might have an ulterior motive. We have a spray that is not pepper spray but is specially formulated to deter unfriendly animals. It’s based on citronella and is supposed to irritate their sense of smell and eyes without permanent damage. It’s by PetSafe and is called SprayShield. Luckily we haven’t had to try it, but it’s nice to know we have that option if another animal decides to interrupt our exploration.

PetSafe SprayShield Animal Deterrent with Clip, Citronella Based, 12 ft. Spray

 

4. Don’t expect too much. One of the follies of humans is that they tend to expect their pets to do what they want them to do. Guess what? We aren’t circus animals. We don’t perform for your pleasure. (Especially cats!) We don’t generally walk like dogs in a straight line, up and down the street, unless we want to. Don’t expect to go for long walks or even go out of your yard. At least not right away. Like many cats, I do what I want, when I want to do it. Please don’t demand things we aren’t prepared to do!

So what if I don’t want to just stand there with a leash in my hand and constantly watch my cat?
If you just don’t want to constantly watch Fluffypants or Fluffernutter while you’re outside or need your hands free to work on something, you can also get a tent for them! (Just please don’t leave them unattended in the tent outside. Many things can still happen to them including the dog attack scenario above.) My humom bought me a nice tent that pairs with mesh tunnels so I can explore a large area of the yard. She’s had them for several years now and they have held up to the test of time. They are made of high-quality materials. Over the seasons, I have clawed at the zippers in the door and the actual mesh itself and it’s never snagged or torn. The tent is still like new. The tent easily sets up with pull cords at the top that help you push the top supports down to expand the tent. You can stake it to the ground which is only really necessary during high winds. The tunnels are made to zip onto the entrance to the tent if you wish to put them on. You don’t have to, of course. All pieces are sold separately.

 

Babbis in Her Pawtriotic Tent

Fourth of July celebration at Babbis HQ!

 

The reason I like my tent is because I can still watch the animals like birds and squirrels as well as the occasional butterfly or grasshopper. I can feel the grass underneath my feet due to the mesh underside of the tent. I can also try to eat the vegetation, but that depends on if it’s long due to Mammis having been too lazy to mow the yard. My humom likes the tent because she can sit outside and garden or be on the computer without having to hold a leash or constantly watch me. I love being outside in my tent. It gives me so much stimulation rather than just sitting in a window, looking outside!

ABO Gear Happy Habitat for Indoor Cats

 

 

ABO Gear Fun Run

 

So there you have it. Those are a few options to get Kitty out to have some fun outside! I hope our tips have helped you. Remember, if you follow the links above or go through our “My Favorites” link to buy something on Amazon, you help support our website and me! I’m an expensive kitty with my allergies, so every little bit helps.

I Remember That Day

Tiny Baby Babbis

Tiny Baby Babbis Kitten

A Curious Visitor Turned Family Member


 
I was in a loud place. There were many people walking back and forth. I heard dogs barking and cats meowing. The little box I was in was so cold and hard. There were bars in front of my face, blocking me from getting away. I was in pain because I had just had surgery and my ears hurt from an infection. My nose and eyes were running because I had a cold. I don’t like remembering this part.

I was so scared.

But then there were these two beings who were different than the others. I was the last cat they looked at. I saw them take one after another into a room to play. But eventually they saw me. I was off in the corner, in my cold, sterile cage. The female human peered in and smiled. She made a comment about how she had almost missed me there. She mentioned having seen me on the website and that I was cute. But then she added that I wasn’t what she had thought she was looking for. My little heart fell.

You were wrong.

The female asked if she could play with me. I was taken out of my little cold metal box and put into a small room where the humans stared at me and I stared back. I furtively cowered in the corner, barely containing my frenetic kitten energy. I was so small and they were so big. But they were sitting on the floor with me, so they weren’t as scary. They talked to me and watched me. It seemed like they were waiting for something. I got more brave as time went on. I got closer. They took out a wand toy and I instinctively did a butt wiggle while targeting my sights on it. I pounced on it, drawing ever closer to those humans.

Love at first sight.

The female commented that I was so cute. She said that my butt wiggle was so precious. As we sat there, she recounted how many times she had been to different shelters in the past month and how many cats she had met. None of them clicked with her. She commented that she could see me coming home with her. The longer I spent with her, the more natural it seemed. I came over and scratched on her tennis shoes with my tiny claws. When she tried to touch me, I’d duck away. But at the end of an hour, I was comfortable. I felt like I was home, yet not home.

No more thinking!

It seemed like the female was deeply concerned and hesitant about bringing me home. I could tell she wanted to, but she was afraid. She was just as frightened of bringing me home as I was frightened at the prospect of staying at that place. That noisy, cold, sterile, sad place. She talked to the male human and bemoaned the decision. At one point, she said, “I wish I could bring her home.” The question that changed all of our lives was a retort from the male. He asked, “Why can’t you?”

Reservations required.

I had made it clear that my intention was to adopt those humans. Eventually they realized it and relented. Since it was only about half an hour before the shelter was closing for the day, no more adoptions were being processed. It was also the day before Thanksgiving. It seemed I would not be going anywhere. The humans had to place a hold on me and paid a fee. I so much wanted to leave that place but they locked me back up in that cage. I had only a small crocheted pink and yellow potholder-sized blanket as a bed. The sadness was palpable.

They didn’t forget me!

Two days later, on Black Friday, the humans appeared again. I heard the female say something about having just gotten off work. They came to get me as soon as possible. This was not soon enough, let me tell you. Before I knew it, someone had scooped me up and put me into a cardboard carrier. The employee quipped that it was my “Cardboard Cadillac.” It was a small cardboard rectangle with a handle on the top. There were also holes in the side at even intervals to give me a way to breathe. When the humans were asked what my name was going to be, the female thought for a moment. She then announced “Pumpkin Pie.” The people there made a name tag made just for me. A short while later, they had taken me outside. I heard some doors shut. Apparently I was in something I’d soon learn was called a car.

Sugar Ray Babbis

On the way home, I was in the cardboard box on the male human’s lap. I started furiously punching my little paws through the holes in the side of the box. I wanted to get out! This was somehow even worse than the cage I had just left! The male human kept laughing. The female was driving so she didn’t get to see my antics but kept hearing the sounds of my paws quickly passing through the holes over and over. I was determined to get out of there.

Home sweet home.

It didn’t last long, though. After a short car ride, we were finally home. I instinctually knew that I belonged in that house. Once I got out of that cardboard box, I went about exploring post haste. I ventured all over the bedroom that they put me in. The female laid in an inflatable bed on the floor and just watched me. I was skittish and did not want to get too close to her, though. I was always running around and hiding. However, that night, she was eating Thanksgiving leftovers. I became curious and quietly snuck over to sit in front of her and give her “the eyes.” The turkey she had smelled so good. It ended up being my first meal at home. I think that might have been the best meal I’ve ever had since.
 

That night, I wasn’t just nourished with food but also with love.

 
I’d have to say that I’ve come a long way from being left with my siblings in a box on the shelter’s steps. What do you think? Continue reading…

Diet of a Beauty Queen

Babbis Eyes

Why is my fur is so fluffy and soft, as if I were a cloud? Why are my claws so long and sharp? Why are my teeth white and free of tartar? Why am I always so energetic and sassy?   When I was around a year and a half old, Mammis and the vet […]

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Why Do We Love the Babbis?

All Seeing Babbis Sitting Watching

  Babbis has a sassy cattitude, And a mischievous smile. Her hair is fluffy like a cloud, So very much like cotton candy. Her claws will rip you to shreds, As she kills you with cuteness. She takes our love and converts it to purrs, Then continues the cycle by being adorable. Her knowing eyes […]

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