Great Outdoors Adventures

 

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.

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Diet of a Beauty Queen

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?

Babbis Sitting on Leather Chair

Beauty Queen Babbis


 
When I was around a year and a half old, Mammis and the vet decided that I had an allergic condition on my neck that is called “eosinophillic granulomas.” They’re swellings that get crusty and are very itchy. I also get them on the back of my legs but the neck bumps bother me so much more! I scratch and scratch until they’re red and bleeding. I had to take steroids every day to try to keep the swellings away.

They wouldn’t go away, until….

Mammis decided to try a raw food diet. It had very limited and simple ingredients, no grains, and of course high quality protein. She cut out chicken, turkey, and fish proteins. Now I mostly eat rabbit, duck, venison, and a few other “novel” proteins. Anything that has even salmon oil or some other fish oil in it will make me break out. Mammis found this out just recently when we were trying a new food and I got a new reaction for the first time in years.

What is this “raw food diet” thing? Isn’t it just a fad?

A raw food diet is technically the most biologically appropriate food for your pet. This is especially true for cats, since they are obligate carnivores. (This means they have to eat lots of high-quality protein or they will die.) If you think about it, do wild cats grow and evolve over time eating a bunch of grains and rice with just a little protein? No. Wild cats eat small prey like rodents. House cats have been domesticated (barely) over time from some kind of desert cat. Desert cats don’t eat the fast food equivalent of food (kibble). They don’t get a ton of vegetables either. The naturally evolved cat only gets vegetables from the entrails of their prey and bits of grass they chew on. That’s it. They do not have the enzymes in their digestive tract to properly break down vegetables and grains.

Because of this, when you feed your furry friend some dry or canned food that has a bunch of fillers, they aren’t getting real nutrition. They’re getting a Big Mac or Whopper. One can eat that kind of stuff once in a while but if one does it all of the time, it’s going to catch up to one eventually. Anecdotal evidence suggests that cats that are fed raw diets are healthier, live longer, have a more beautiful coat, and overall are more energetic. Most, if not all, bred show cats are fed raw diets.

I know, you’re probably like, “Ew, seriously?”

Mammis was hesitant at first and reluctant as well. But I got better on the raw diet! She and others think that a raw diet can cure a lot of the inflammatory and allergic conditions cats and dogs have today. Cats are so sensitive! They have such tiny livers that have a hard time detoxifying things. A raw diet with simple, high quality ingredients helps them digest better!

 

Babbis Looking At Raw Food Heart Shaped Birthday Cake With Candles

Babbis’ Raw Food Birthday Cake


 
Mammis thought of some questions you might have:

Isn’t the raw food gross? It takes some getting used to, of course. There are premade brands such as Stella and Chewy’s and Primal that are thaw and feed. There are also raw dehydrated foods that are shelf stable by those manufacturers and a few more like Sojos. I have always eaten Stella and Chewy’s because they are the most limited ingredient overall. I’ve tried other brands and they make me sick. So we’re sticking with Stella’s. You can also make your own food at your own risk based on Dr. Lisa Pierson’s recipe at catinfo.org.

Are you sure it isn’t gross? Like I said, you’ll both get used to it. The only thing that Mammis has a hard time getting over is the thought of feeding me whole prey like mice, rats, and rabbits. She’s fed me just about everything else including organs. I love it!

Is it safe? Mammis would have the retort, “Is life safe?” Nothing is absolutely safe. If raw food is kept properly frozen and thawed in the refrigerator, the dishes are clean, the food is only left out at meal time, and it’s from a reputable manufacturer, you’re most likely OK! But what about for humans handling it? Wash your hands. Don’t eat right after you handle the food or your pet. Wash your hands before you eat too! This is common sense. Immunocompromised people might not want to raw feed and that’s understandable. There are passable high quality dry and canned products available for pets.

So you’re absolutely sure raw is the best option? Mammis counted out 39 pet food recalls on the American Veterinary Medical Association webpage that happened in the last year! These were only the ones that were issued. I don’t believe this included the many voluntary recalls each year. Have you ever wondered about those times when your cat or dog gets sick and you can’t figure out why? What if it’s the cheap, over-processed, low quality food that’s been tainted with something?

Speaking of tainted….

At the very beginning of this year, there was just an incidence of poisoning via pet food. Evanger’s “Hunk of Beef” canned dog food poisoned five dogs, one of which died. All were owned by the same owner. It was determined through testing that a large amount of pentobarbital was in the food. What’s pentobarbital? It’s what they use to put animals to sleep. I could go through the whole lengthy story about the rendering industry. In essence, pet food manufacturers buy “meat” and by-products from the rendering industry that uses dead animals, including euthanized ones and roadkill. This may also include euthanized pets. Mammis has seen video of it. And yes, the FDA has done studies on pentobarbital in pet food. There were just a few, and not very in-depth.

In 1998, it was found that 50% of pet foods tested (around 100 foods tested) had pentobarbital in them.

Anyhow, let’s get off this sad subject. I, Babbis, wholly endorse raw feeding if done in a responsible, safe, and clean manner. I love my raw food!

There are links to my favorite foods in the “My Favorites” tab on my home page.

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