I think we can all sense it in our community; there is a rise of cats exploring beyond the house. But what are we? Who are we? Is this term, "puppy cat" one belonging to us? Is this something we should be identifying our feline bests with? Read on to gather our thoughts on the term.
We were inspired to write this blog piece as I recently got interviewed by BlogTO. You can check out the article here. They contacted us wanting to know more on the idea of "puppy cats". Then in February of 2021, the Toronto Star published an article on us and our friends @archer_the_catcher with the title of the article being, "Meet the puppy cats". When we shared this article, some of the community were in angst about us as adventure cats or cat explorers being referred to as such. This term seems to be trending - but why? And should we be okay with it?
I find that people most understand something that they can relate to. The animal most seen beyond the house is no doubt, the dog. If I was talking to my friend, coworker, or somebody without Gibson by my side (or just someone who doesn't know him) then I'd probably describe Gibson to be that of a puppy cat. Automatically, the person assumes he is a cat with dog-like tendencies. This is exactly what I'm going for! Gibson walks on a leash, he plays fetch with his favourite spring toy, goes for car rides with his head sometimes out the window, knows 25+ tricks, and so on. Gibson's Instagram profile also says that he is a "1.5 y/o PUPPY CAT" because this the term that people can most relate to!
On the other hand, when I'm out with Gibson as he's on his harness and leash we meet a lot of people who ask us questions, applaud for us as we are walking our cat safely, make comments at us, laugh or smile at the sight of us going by, or just stare. None of it bothers us, to be honest. While we are out, though, if someone happens to say something along the lines of... "I have never seen a cat on a leash" (80% of comments we get), I will take every opportunity to talk about the greater global community of cat explorers who are out there. Depending on how the conversation goes, I will educate and spread the word about this kind and supportive community who, as a collective, are getting to be a group that is more normalized (I feel like I am taking some kind of oath or something, ha).
The difference between these two moments is that with those who've never met Gibson, I'm simply making a reference. In the other moment where people know or see Gibson, I am identifying with who he actually is and what we actually do. I feel like there's always a time and a place to educate people and this is how I've chosen to go about it.
If those who have never met Gibson ask more on what we do with Gibson, I take every opportunity to get into detail about the identity or paw print of cat exploring, the community of cat explorers/adventure cats, etc.
After voicing my opinion on the matter, I was curious to see if this term could be found online. The urban dictionary defines the term "puppy cat" as "an especially affectionate and outgoing cat, so named because it might be considered doglike in its friendly nature" (Reference: www.urbandictionary.com). Accurate. When I googled it, it came up on Wikipedia as "a term used to refer to specific breeds of domestic cats that have unusual behavioral tendencies that are reminiscent of young domestic dogs" (Reference: www.wikipedia.com). Hmm. I don't necessarily agree with the latter term when they refer to specific breeds of cats having such behaviours similar to dogs and I don't think the community would either. Gibson is simply a tabby or domestic shorthair and the breeds they list under this category are Abyssinian, Burmese, Maine Coon, Manx, and Ragdoll cats. Firstly, I find it odd that they didn't list Bengal or Savannah Cats; they are typically extremely social and energetic cats who are generally easily harness trained. Secondly, while there are commonly more specific breeds known to have such dog-like tendencies, our social media following and community will prove that all breeds (and ages) of cats can have behaviours similar to that of a dog.
So what do you think? Have you even heard of this term before? Do you refer to your cat exploring cat as a puppy cat? Love it? Hate it? Could care less about it? For now, we think that as cat explorers are still becoming recognized that the puppy cat term is nothing less than two words allowing people to grasp who we are. The dream? That one day people will hear "cat explorer" or "adventure cat" without any explanation needed. Over time, we can continue to educate people as we go and build our way towards this and that WILL BE the day that I personally feel we can than separate ourselves from referring to our feline bests as "puppy cats".
We'd love to hear about your opinions on the ever trending "puppy cat" term! The best way to reach us is to message us on Instagram. Thanks for reading!
xx Sarah & Gibson