Daisy, Lovely, Floortje…
We at CatSwoppr have eyes and ears all over the world. Since we are in contact with various cats globally, we cover a diverse mix of topics. Our stories range from donation requests for cat shelters and cats with FIP disease to rainbow stories of cats that have gone to the eternal hunting grounds and stories of cats walking outside.
In The Netherlands cat people also go for a stroll with their life companion on paws. Tabby cat Floortje from Hilversum in the Dutch province of North Holland is one of them. We noticed her on an Instagram reel. In the reel, she had a cat meetup outdoors with other cats. This is her story.
A Cat Meetup for Outdoor Adventure
The cat mommy of Floortje, Christa, explained that it was the first time that a lot of cat pawrents gathered for a communal hike with their cats in nature. It started when Christa met another cat meowma twice in real life, whom she befriended via Insta. They began walking and biking together with their cats. Soon more cat people joined.
Eventually, a Whatsapp group was formed to exchange experiences and tips. During one of their conversations about walking cats outside, they came up with the idea to schedule a meeting in real life.
Christa’s Reason for Having Floortje on a Leash
When Christa began taking care of Floortje, she decided that she did not want to let Floortje run loose on the streets without a leash. Not only was she worried for her safety, but also she wanted to prevent Floortje from hunting birds and small animals.
Another reason why Christa kept Floortje’s outdoor activities under human guidance, was to not bother the neighbors with her cat.
How To Teach Your Cat Being on a Leash
When Floortje reached the tender age of four months, she received a harness to get used to the idea of being somewhat restrained. Christa recalls that Floortje actually accustomed to this quite smoothly.
Finally, Floortje was allowed to play around in the garden! Step by step Floortje got her leash adjusted longer and longer, up to the point that she could jump onto the fence and the roof of the shed.
Of course, all this time, Floortje was being supervised by her cat momma. The danger of a cat on a leash twisting itself into a knot is always there. Even though your cat is in a harness, for the cat's safety, Christa says it is important to be alert.
The Beautiful Dutch Nature: Gooisch Natuurreservaat
While viewing various Insta accounts, Christa saw that other cat pawrents walked with their cats on a leash in nature. Feeling a bit guilty for limiting Floortje’s freedom, Christa decided to compensate for the garden-bound leash movements.
When Floortje turned thirteen months old, Christa bought her a cat backpack. In this way, she could always ensure Floortje of a direct safe spot to hide when necessary. Floortje immediately loved this mode of transportation as she started hiking with her cat mommy in the nearby ‘Gooisch Natuurreservaat’ (the nature park in The Gooi). This park is famous for its beautiful Dutch moorland and sandy grounds.
It seems that the cat walking is really a thing of Floortje and her cat meowmy within Christa’s family. Her husband and kids actually never show any interest in walking together with her and Floortje in the woods, but that is purrfectly fine for Christa. She loves to carry Floortje around in her backpack and put her in the crate on her bicycle to cycle around.
Internationally Shared Tips and Tricks
Christa is aware that in the Netherlands you might be called a crazy cat lady when walking your cat outside, but also knows via Instagram that this could become a trend elsewhere in the world. Because of this, she began sharing tips and tricks with other cat-walking people.
One of the more annoying things you may come across when walking your cat outdoors is encountering dogs. This can be quite stressful for cats. Especially when dogs run loose in areas where they should be leashed, the situation might get out of hand.
Talking about her experiences and exchanging tips and tricks with other cat-walkers helps Christa prepare for such encounters. The group chat is not only about bad things that could happen, most of the time cat pawrents share pawsitive impressions and, for example, handy walking routes.
Floortje and Christa started their cat-walking community spontaneously. Since the atmosphere of the group is more casual, no real leader is giving the main directions. One day, more cat pawrents suggested walking together their cats, and so they did!
After this first group event, which in itself was quite a success, people came with pawsitive feedback. For example, the size of the group was actually too large. Not all cats reacted equally relaxed to other cats, or to other cat pawrents for that matter. To keep respecting a cat’s own nature, cats deserve to be given as much space as needed when walking in a group.
In particular, Floortje is quite shy and tends to find others – humans and cats – quite scary. This is the reason why Christa always looks for quiet areas to walk. During the group walk, Floortje behaved surprisingly socially and her mood exceeded Christa’s expectations. Floortje loved coming out of her backpack to interact with other fellow cats.
Open Future Scenarios
Christa has yet to determine whether and how the cat walking en groupe will evolve further. At least on her agenda, she has a few appointments with cat-walkers. But she definitely expects to join larger meetings more often .
Floortje and Christa hope that there will be more regulation and control of dogs in nature. Till then, Floortje will anyway be always on a leash while hiking.
We hope you feel inspired to walk with your cat too, especially when you live in an apartment with your cat(s). Feel free to connect with Floortje and her cat pawrent Christa to ask for tips and tricks.
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