After winning March's Travfurler Of The Month competition we've been speaking with the ragdoll adventure cat duo, Sir Clive of St Aubin and Sir Colin of Belcroute about their catventures. Including exploring the beautiful island they call home, Jersey as well as how they're helping to spread the adventure cat message in their local community and some of the health reasons that gave their humum the idea to leash train the boys.
So who are Clive and Colin? Two travfurlers from Jersey Channel Islands who love to explore their island as safely as possible. Responding well to training, including being great at recall with a whistle they've been tagging along on walks all over, come sun (their favourite), wind or even rain and love nothing more than clambering over rocks at the beach. Being on such a unique island in a dreamy location the boys are suckers for sunbathing, especially on mum's lunch breaks and often enjoy car rides to see the sights, with their favourite being the headlands around Beauport.
The first reason for getting into walking on leashes was because as a breed they are prone to obesity and also get lonely. Their human parents love being outside and wanted to take the boys with them, so they researched the best harnesses and also looked for tips online/Instagram. They were overwhelmed by how lovely the community is and how many cat explorers there are around the world!
How did you start adventuring with Clive (and then Colin)?
When I researched about the Ragdoll breed, I knew they were prone to health issues linked to inactivity and obesity. As I wanted our boys to have the most enriched lives and to be as healthy as possible, I looked into leash training them. I was too worried to have them as outdoor cats as there are so many road accidents I see happen on the island. This led me to research on Instagram and find other adventure cats! Little did I know actually how common it was. So I started with Clive our eldest and transitioned him from as soon as he was comfortable with me and our home. Then Colin joined our family about 4 months later.
What is the perception of adventure cats like in Jersey?
Weird, but the majority are pleasantly surprised. The comments “It’s a cat on a leash! Well you don’t see that everyday!”
However, as we document our adventures on social media and also on the specific Jersey Cat Forum pages, we have found the community grow and many others are training their cats to do the same. I want to help educate others that cats do not have to be ‘indoor cats’ and there are other options on how to keep your cats safe outside.
We have had a couple of dog walkers who are rather aggravated by the idea, but the majority are very friendly.
Do you find many cat friendly places and activities in Jersey?
There are lovely on leash walks and we are lucky in the summer there is a law that all dogs have to be on a leash between 10am-6pm on the local beaches. This means that our adventures can have much more variety in the summer months. As for restaurants and activities, because of Covid we haven’t been able to experience many but there are a couple of lovely cafes that accept our boys. Kismet down Ouaisne and The Good Egg down Havre Des Pas.
What has been you experience in general with taking your cat outside?
On average our experiences have been okay! We have found that we have to have 2 people walking the boys to ensure that they are safe. We have to go at off-peak times and ensure we are fully aware of our surroundings, this all to dogs as even in leashed areas people do not listen and have their dogs off the leash. We pick the boys up and put them in their backpack and it gets very stressful/laboursome sometimes.
Thinking more around off-leash dogs, how has this impacted yours and your friends’ adventures?
It does delay us a lot and also means the boys get picked up very quickly and interrupts their adventure. It is a shame sometimes as we do find some times of day the boys cannot have a full run of the leash. Also, I get frustrated that I can’t take them out on my lunch breaks as I get nervous, I won’t pick the boys up quick enough. Recently I have been brave and on a sunny day I have taken them out both on short leashes. I have found ever since posting on the Jersey Dog Forum that more people are being considerate and put their dogs on a leash as soon as they see us and also come up for a chat. It is a much nicer experience most of the time now.
What made you want to join the Cats on Leash campaign?
I really would like to create more awareness and normalise the idea of cats walking on leashes. After seeing how much my boys love it and really thrive off being able to explore I would love all cats to be able to have the option to have the same experience.
How have you been spreading the adventure cat message in your community?
We posted on the Jersey Dog Forum and Jersey Cat Community online to create awareness and allow people to know the community is growing and to ensure to keep an eye out for us and be kind. It had 90% great response and really do advise to find these pages in your local area.
How can others join in safely?
Do your research. Ensure you find the safest tools (harness, leash, backpack) and be prepared to be patient and really keep an eye out for off leash dogs. Do not let that stop you though, the more of us that explore the more awareness there will be! The cats love it and really thrive off the experience.
If you had one piece of advice for adventure training a cat, what would it be?
Patience patience and more patience, some days my boys want to do cat things, they do not want to go for a long walk and would like to bathe in the sunshine or playfight together. Just let them, remember it is their walk. Remember to take your backpack if you are wanting to walk far as sometimes the boys do get tired and need a break.
Do you have any travels or big adventures planned for this year?
As we are very limited on a small bubble of an island, I hope we can explore more beaches and hopefully some of the heritage sites/castles around the island. One day we may make it to France or the UK for further afield adventures. Fingers crossed Covid goes soon!
You can find out more about Clive, Colin and the whole family plus follow their adventures at @sirclivethecat on Instagram.