Climbing mountains, fording rivers and surfing waves! Sounds like the itinerary for a bold, brave human adventurer. But really, this is just the day-to-day activities of a few curious house cats.
These feline explorers are the kind of kitties that fill the pages of Laura J. Moss’ book Living Nine Lives to the Fullest: Adventure Cats, a passion project she was inspired to start in early 2015.
When Moss first dove into the world of courageous kitties, she wasn’t planning to write a book. Her interest started smaller. She wanted to learn how to leash train her felines and went to the Internet looking for answers. There, she found a growing and helpful community of kitty lovers who were shattering the stereotypes that felines are lazy, aloof and disinterested animals that prefer to stay at home over accompanying their owners outside.
Moss’s simple interest in learning how to “bridge the gap” between house cat and leash trained feline grew into an understandable fascination with all the adventure cats out in the world, so she and her husband created a website where all of these extraordinary animals had a home. This creation led her down a path where she was soon shaking paws with adventure cats all across the country, many of whom can be found in her new book.
There’s Floyd the Colorado cat who is so eager to get outdoors, “he just pulls you and takes off. It’s very much like walking a dog,” Moss tells PEOPLE. And Kuli the surfing cat, who even shocked Moss.
“I am endlessly surprised by the cats who enjoy time in the water,” she says of Kuli. “I didn’t think there were odds he would go into the ocean. But when you meet him, you can see he is excited by it. You can tell he feels safe and enjoys it.”
Along with allowing you to “armchair travel” with several adventure cats, Moss’ book offers tips on how to safely explore your own feline’s wild side. After reading some of the stories, you may be eager to plop your cat in a backpack and take off, but the author stresses patience and understanding are key to a happy cat camper.
“You cat isn’t going to do anything it doesn’t want to do. Don’t force your cat to go farther than they are ready,” Moss advises. “You want to make it a positive and rewarding experience.”
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After testing out leash training on her own cats, Moss discovered that her pets are happy sticking to the jungle of their backyard and aren’t interested to go on grand adventures, which she is totally happy with.
“Every cat is different,” she adds.
Her hope is that Adventure Cats will encourage kitty owners to safely explore with their felines and not limit their pets based on stereotypes that say cats don’t want to go outside.
“Cats and cat people aren’t what you think,” Moss says about the overall lesson she has learned since starting her adventure.