Ollie: Your Cat Backpack Featured Feline
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Where do you live? City, State, Country
Downingtown, PA, USA
Where can we find you or your furbaby on Instagram?
Tell us how you met your fur baby!
Back in June 2018, I was a new graduate, ready to take on the world. But I didn’t have anyone to take it on with me. My sister, also an animal-lover, had asked me to take her to our local SPCA. I had absolutely no intention of bringing home an animal, but that’s how all these stories seem to start! The famous last words.
Naturally, I went straight for the cat room. It wasn't until I was in front of the last cage that I saw him. Ollie. A tiny, wide-eyed ball of fur alone in the corner. He was shaking, scared and shy. As someone who’s pretty outgoing, I can’t explain why I was drawn to him. But one look was all it took for him to steal my heart. Two days later, he traded in his cage for his forever home.
Ollie turned two this past April, and the little boy I celebrated was completely different than the one I adopted. He’s adventurous, he’s loving, he’s loyal. He has the biggest personality—sometimes a little too big! He’s everything I could ever want in a furry companion and the best decision I’ve ever made.
What was your biggest reason for purchasing #yourcatbackpack?
I’ve always had big dreams of seeing the world and sharing my adventures with someone else. It took a little while after I welcomed Ollie into my family, but eventually something clicked. That someone could be him. Traveling with a cat seemed unconventional at first, but I’m an unconventional person. The more I thought about it, the more I vowed to make it work.
I rescued Ollie from a cage so that he didn’t have to grow up surrounded by four walls. Taking him with me wherever I go is the kind of freedom I’ve always wanted to give him. My dream is now a reality, and I have Your Cat Backpack to thank for helping make it all possible! To say this has changed both of our lives in the biggest way is the understatement of the century.
What’s your biggest tip for getting your cat acclimated to #yourcatbackpack?
It was super important to me that Ollie “chose” the harness and backpack without me forcing either on him. I wanted both to represent an enjoyable experience, and I knew they never would if I rushed him and didn’t let him get comfortable with them on his own first. I also didn’t want him to associate the backpack with the cat carrier I use to take him to the vet, which is never a pleasant experience! So I left the backpack open and the harness out and let Ollie’s curiosity get the best of him.
I took him out in the harness first to let him explore and get used to the idea of being on the end of a leash. Once he became more confident, I took him out in the backpack. Building up from the harness to the backpack and from a shorter period of time spent outdoors to longer seemed to work well for Ollie and wasn’t as overwhelming as it could’ve been if I threw him into everything right away.
What’s your cat's preferred method of travel in #yourcatbackpack? Bubble? Screen? Top open?
Ollie spends our adventures leaning out of the top of the backpack, which usually always remains open. I like to wear the backpack on my chest so he can see what I see and I can see him. I feel like we’re able to enjoy more together this way. The clip that attaches to his harness definitely helps keep him more secure and my anxiety levels down! When Ollie makes his way to the bubble though, it’s sure to make for the cutest pictures. The expressions from the people we pass are my favorite!
What’s been your favorite outdoor experience with your cat?
The harness arrived right before the quarantine began, and I opened the backpack on my birthday (the day Pennsylvania issued a statewide lockdown—lucky me!), so Ollie and I haven’t been able to venture very far. Luckily, my family has a big enough property that Ollie doesn’t get tired of walking around each day (not yet, at least!).
In a way, being confined to my house has been good for Ollie and me to grow as our own little family. We now spend so much more time together than we ever did in the past, and I’m able to get him acclimated to and comfortable with the outdoors and his new travel kit on his own time. When this is all over, we’ll be ready to take on the world!
I’m excited to see what the future holds for Ollie and me and where it will take us once everything opens back up again, but I know that as long as Ollie is with me, I’ll look back at any time spent outdoors as my favorite.
Tips for hiking, biking, and general outdoor adventures with your cat?
Around my house, I like to stick to the harness since I know the area well and don’t have a specific destination in mind, so Ollie is able to lead me and roam around freely. When we leave the property to go hiking or biking, the backpack becomes Ollie’s home for the next few hours. It adds a little extra weight to my burden, but he doesn’t seem to mind!
There are a few things I’ve gotten into the habit of doing. Before we go out, I check the area for anything that could be hazardous, including other animals, pesticides, sharp objects, etc. Keep in mind that indoor animals are used to a controlled temperature, so pay attention to extreme conditions and what your pet may need to adapt.
What do you wish people without cats knew about the joys of owning a cat?
For me, animals—specifically cats—will always tug a heartstring that humans never will. But not everyone feels the same way, and that’s okay. Feeling this immense love toward animals and wanting to be their advocate and give them the best life possible has been one of the greatest joys of my life. There is nothing more rewarding than being able to do right by an animal.
Ollie is the light of my life, and my home is now wherever he is. I wish everyone got to experience a love like this, and I think they owe it to themselves to at least give it a chance.
What’s your biggest tip for other cat guardians?
My family has always been big on having animals around, especially as my siblings and I grew up. I’ve learned that as fast as we think time goes by normally, it goes by even faster for an animal. We’re only given so many years with our little loves, which makes the time we have with them that much more important. Enjoy that time. Make it meaningful. And don’t feel restricted by social norms. Your cat can play as big of a role in your life as you want them to. Your Cat Backpack found the coolest way to make that happen, and I highly encourage you to take advantage of it!
What's your favorite part of having #yourcatbackpack?
Now, Ollie and I don’t have to lead separate lives. I don’t have to leave him behind whenever I go out, miss him when I’m gone and feel the need to rush back home to him. Now, I can live my life with him by my side (or on my back!) and give him the world he’s always deserved to see.
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