Percy.jpg

Percy

Age: 1

Gender: Male

Score: 24

Personality type: Dominance

Favorite Adventure: Protecting my human from goats!

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Our Story

If I had to describe Percy in one sentence, I’d say he’s a very clever sweet hyperactive shy toddler, with the attitude of an overconfident stubborn sassy teenager, and the skills of a brave ninja without any discipline. If that sounds confusing and somewhat contradictory to you, … then you have the correct image of Percy in your mind!

Percy was a three-month-old rescue when I adopted him in late October 2020 as my ESA.
I knew that I wanted to train my cat to be able to walk outdoors on a leash before I even adopted him. One reason for this was that I couldn’t bear the idea to deny my cat the chance to experience nature first-hand. Another reason is that I am currently a PhD student and that my life is for this and other reasons rather chaotic. It was important to me therefore to make sure my cat would be able to be comfortable and happy in different environments and situations, since our lives would be all else but stable. And finally, I love adventuring myself and liked the idea of having a feline adventure companion by my side. – But of course, getting there has been a lot more challenging than expected, and it is still an ongoing process of learning for both Percy and myself.

While Percy has plenty of characteristics that make him perfect for the life of an adventurecat, he has almost equally as many that make adventuring with him quite a challenge. He is very intelligent and energetic, and therefore requires a lot of physical and mental stimulation. Even though I am providing him with every conceivable indoor enrichment, ranging from multiple daily creative play sessions, countless toys, scratchers, and cat trees of all kinds, all sorts of clicker training, access to our cat-proof balcony, and a lot more… he still keeps getting bored all-too-easily. Rather untypically for a cat, he seems to thrive on variety and novelty, while most routines make him lose interest soon. Being able to go outdoors safely, helps to provide him with the exercise he needs, and allows him to satisfy his natural instincts by exploring new environments, investigating intriguing smells, and engaging in “hunting” practices (without actually harming any wildlife).


A major challenge, however, is that Percy feels very nervous about strangers. Ironically, meeting new people is not a bit issue; he gets used to people quickly once he realizes they don’t mean to harm him. But he seems to consider all random strangers that he sees walking around outdoors as potential threats who zap his confidence. For many trained adventurecats, a way around an issue like this is being able to retreat to their backpack (or other types of carrier) as their safe space. However, Percy seems to have an innate aversion to being confined in small spaces, which has made backpack training another big challenge. Creating positive associations with the help of treats was easy enough but making him accept and choose it as a safe place when he gets scared is something that we are still working on.


Finally, his level of confidence keeps fluctuating considerably. There are days or even weeks during which he keeps pushing his boundaries or is barely bothered by people walking right past him. And then, without any (to me) apparent reason, he reverts to being a lot more timid for days or weeks at a time.

I wish I could provide him with regular access to quiet places without people. But while we are lucky to have a large yard right behind our apartment complex, we live in a rather busy and unpredictable environment, and I don’t have a car. Our adventures are therefore mostly limited to the areas around our apartment complex, which Percy usually prefers to explore late at night, when it is quiet.


Nonetheless, thanks to my chaotic life, we ended up spending two whole months this summer travelling through parts of the U.S. This included six flights, staying in eight different accommodations, one canoeing adventure, and even a weekend trip together with another adventurecat. What made this not only possible but also ultimately a positive experience, was Percy’s amazing skill to quickly adapt to new environments, the close bond that he has with me, and all the training we have done before. Even though his fear of random strangers continued to be a challenge, he seemed to enjoy having regularly new places to explore, both indoors and outdoors. It was also a great opportunity for me to learn more about him, and for both of us to further strengthen the close bond that we already had.

Despite all the experiences that we have already had, every day is a learning process, and Percy still manages to surprise me on a regular basis. Being an adventurecat pawrent is not simply about training your cat. It is equally as much – if not more – about learning and training yourself to be the best possible pawrent and teacher that you can be for your very unique feline wildchild.