Interview: Loki the Adventure Cat
We recently came across the incredible Loki the cat on instagram. Kitty-ed out in her Hiro + Wolf collar, and a specially designed harness and lead, Loki goes everywhere her humans go, prowling across terrain on woodland walks and seeing the world from the safety of her backpack. We wanted to know more about this adventurous cat! In our latest interview, Amy catches up with Loki's human, Lauren.
Estimated reading time 2minutes
When did you get Loki and have you always had cats?
We first met Loki in May 2019 when he was just three weeks old, he was so tiny that he looked more like a hamster than a cat at this point. Loki had been handed to Holbrook Animal Rescue and was being cared for by a foster family alongside his beautiful Mother and her three other kittens. We chose Loki because he had the strangest markings of the bunch, 3 individual black spots on his back and a little stripy helmet, he had already achieved a reputation for being the mischievous, trouble maker and he certainly lives up to that! I have always had cats, I was lucky enough to grow up with my previous cats, they lived to the grand old ages of 20 and 21. Loki and our other kitten Cooper brought back a little light and naughtiness into our lives after sadly losing them.
When did you first start taking Loki out for walks and what where the challenges?
Loki was quite a poorly kitten in the very beginning so he spent a lot of time travelling to and from the vets with a couple of overnight stays, so he quickly got used to being in different places with different people. At the time this was very challenging because it made me paranoid about keeping him healthy - seeing my teeny little kitty looking so unwell was horrible. But after that episode, he rarely left my side, sharing shopping trips, drives and regularly visiting my grandparents together! We started properly harness training him as soon as he was well again and was fully vaccinated, he wore his kitten harness around the house and went on his flexi-lead out in the garden until it was clear he felt comfortable. Once he was a bit bigger we graduated to a ‘SurferCatMav’ harness, which is made specifically for exploring/adventure cats. Most importantly it’s escape proof, it’s also very lightweight and has a back strap that swivels side to side with the lead to eliminate any pressure on his neck when pulling, it’s fantastic. When he graduated from just being a passenger on our outings and we started to put him down to walk with us, we were honestly so surprised as he just acted like it was completely normal to trot along with us, we really expected much more of a challenge. He was understandably quite cautious but we would get those special moments where he would forget his worries and his tail would creep upright and he’d start pouncing at the leaves that crossed his path or jumping through the long grass. Little and often I think was the key to success.
Have you ever met any dogs on your walks? What was the reaction?
This is actually my biggest concern when out with Loki, I made the decision pretty early on that I wouldn’t take him out very far from home or anywhere that was known to be popular with dog walkers until I had a suitable and sturdy backpack that he could safely escape to if needed. For this I purchased a ‘Cat Explorer’ Apollo backpack, not only is it the perfect safe space from dogs it’s also ideal for when Loki wants a rest from walking, he likes to sit up with his head poking out so he can still take it all in. When we see any dogs coming we pop him back in his backpack straight away, if they’re off lead we make sure to zip him in (he disapproves of this and gives us a few begrudging meows) but just as an extra precaution we think it’s important to do so no matter how much he protests. However in all honesty, I really don’t think that dogs make the connection with there being a cat in a bag or out on a walk, they just don’t seem to bat an eyelid if he’s in his bag, which so far has worked out great for us.
What are other people’s reactions to seeing you out with Loki?
This is one of the best bits, at the beginning I was actually a bit nervous of what people might think and now that Loki is on his way to being a year old, I can proudly say I’ve fully accepted that people might think I’m some ‘mad cat lady’, I can honestly wholly embrace it, because its clear he’s happy. I have only ever had positive reactions, so many people have told me how they would love to be able to do the same with their own cats but just never thought that it was a thing or that it was even doable. It seems to bring joy to everyone and it’s so lovely, I’d like to take it a step further and register Loki as a therapy pet so that we could visit care homes and the like, just to share some of the happiness it so clearly brings to people.
What advice would you give to other people wanting to take their cats on adventures on a harness and lead?
To follow other cat explorer Instagram accounts as there’s actually a huge community of people all doing the same thing and facing similar challenges. Also to do some research and make sure you get the correct harness and carrier for you and your cat. Starting early is an obvious one, it’s got to give a good advantage but other people have started with older cats and it is achievable, it’s all about taking your time, not rushing into anything and knowing your cat, they’ll be sure to tell you once they’ve had enough. We by no means have it down perfect, it’s an ongoing process and Loki gets more confident each day that we go out, there will always be new challenges to face and there will also be the days where he’s really just not into it and would rather ride out the whole journey. That’s kind of the best bit though, cats are independent, that’s we love them and they’ll always be the boss.
Where is your favourite place to visit to together?
Without a doubt we like the woods the best. It’s visibly where Loki feels most confident, it seems that having a smaller path to follow in a more sheltered, enclosed area really helps. It’s definitely the best place to start training. He particularly loves climbing and walking along any fallen trees or jumping between tree stumps, I’m convinced it’s because he’s channelling his inner jaguar, stalking through his jungle.
What does Loki enjoy most about your adventures?
I think that Loki mostly enjoys the different sights and smells. He’s so chilled about it all and always wants to see what’s going on. Loki clearly loves the endless prowling about and pouncing at flies, then once he’s had enough of walking being able to ride the rest of the journey out in his backpack with an even better view. He is free to get in and out of his backpack as he likes and gets regular treats!
What do you love most about Loki?
I love so many things about Loki, he’s such a special cat.
He’s full of mischief. At home he is actually very naughty, we’ve never had a cat like it before, he has to be as high up as he can get, to places that in all our years of owning cats… they’ve never been before. He’s cocky and paces about the place like he owns it, he has the most charismatic face and pulls the funniest expressions and he greats anyone who comes through the front door with a kiss on the nose - he's an excellent host. He’s also a very loving, snuggly kitten.. but only when no one else is looking. He brings us a huge amount of joy, we’re so lucky to have been able to rescue him.Thank you so much, we really enjoyed completing this!