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Posts Tagged ‘Laura Moss

Laura Moss has been an outdoors lover and cat lady all her life. She has a bachelor’s and master’s degree in journalism, and has written about pets professionally for more than five years. Laura is also the mother of a timid rescue dog and two mischievous rescue kitties whom she’s clicker trained and leash trained. Her latest venture is the Adventure Cats website and accompanying book.

When Moss couldn’t find an online resource for hitting the trail with her cat, she created one with the help of a group of fellow outdoorsy cat lovers. is also intended to challenge negative stereotypes about cats and the people who love them in order to increase shelter cat adoptions. As for the book, Adventure Cats, it’s a collection of photographs and stories of real-life cats, combined with and all the how-to information for taking owners and their cats into the great outdoors.

Below is an interview with Moss, and a review of her book will appear in a future post. Get in touch with her on Twitter, or email her if your message has more than 140 characters.

ALLISON: When and how did you become a cat lady?

LAURA: Growing up, there was always a cat in my home, so I guess I’ve sort of been a cat lady since the beginning. When I was 15, my mom finally let me adopt a cat of my own, and that was such a huge deal for me. I adopted a little orange tabby from a local shelter, and she moved with me for college and grad school, and she shared my apartment when I got my first job. She was a huge part of my life, and she inspired me to get involved with local shelters.

ALLISON: You’ve written professionally about pets for more than five years. How did you break into this field?

LAURA: I was an editor for Mother Nature Network for several years, and I became the go-to pet writer. I’ve always had a great love for animals, so it was a very natural fit for me. Through that job, I made a lot of connections with other people who work with animals and write about them, so that’s led to a lot of different pet-related opportunities for me.

ALLISON: There are eleven people on the Adventure Cats team. How did the group of you connect and what has enabled you to work well together?

LAURA: My husband and I do most of the day-to-day work. When we discovered this huge community of people who were enjoying the great outdoors with their pets, we created a website as a way to share their stories. Since then, the website and its social media outlets have gained a bit of a following, so we’ve had to reach out to people for assistance. One thing this venture has taught me is that there are so many people out there who are much smarter than I am, and it’s important to ask them for help when I need it.

ALLISON: What about your background (besides writing) have you used to promote Adventure Cats–the concept, the website, the book?

LAURA: My background in journalism certainly plays an important role. While I’ve learned a lot about cats and their behavior through my work, I’m not a cat expert—but what I am an expert at is gathering information, interviewing people smarter than I am, and telling stories.

ALLISON: For readers who don’t know anything about adventure cats, would you tell about the first adventure cat you met? The most recent?

LAURA: I guess the first adventure cat I ever met was an orange tabby cat at the shelter I was volunteering with in college. He took leashed strolls around the store, and it was the first time I ever realized that some cats can be leash trained and enjoy a walk. The most recent kitty I got to meet up with was Floyd The Lion, who is this very fluffy and friendly cat in Colorado. He’s adorable and will quite literally pull you down the sidewalk on his leash.

ALLISON: What type of adventures have you taken with your cats?

LAURA: My cats love going outside, but they’re definitely close-to-home adventure cats. They’re very comfortable exploring the wilds of the backyard, sticking their paws in the creek and lounging in sun puddles, but they’ve never expressed any interest in venturing much farther than this familiar area.

If you’re going to try taking your cat outside on a leash, I think it’s very important that you don’t force your cat outside his or her comfort zone. While there are definitely some cats who are comfortable in public parks or on trails, I think they’re the minority, and a lot of cats won’t feel safe in such an unpredictable environment.

One thing I always tell people is that just like when you’re indoors, your cat is the one who calls the shots, so if your cat doesn’t want to venture past the porch — or even outside at all — that’s the way it’s going to be. You have to accept that and focus on having indoor adventures instead!

ALLISON: For others who aspire to change stereotypes about cats, what advice would you give?

LAURA: One of the best things you can do is simply to share the positive experiences you’ve had with your own cats. I think often people can have one bad experience with a cat or make assumptions about what cats are like and let that prevent them from bringing a feline into their lives. Stories like the following are some of my favorites: This Adventure Kitty Turned Her Rescuer Into A Cat Person

How does the cat mind work? And how does a cat owner best engage their feline friend? Two books that I recently read tackle those questions. Thomas McNamee explores the secrets of cats in The Inner Life of Cats and Laura Moss proposes a unique way to help cats live to the fullest in Adventure Cats.

She loved us anyway. What choice did she have? Who else was she going to love? Augusta had love inborn. She had to do something with it.–Inner Lives of Cats

The kitten licked snow from her toes and cried for her mom but no answer came. Instead on a cold wintery morning in Montana, she was rescued by McNamee and his wife. After the kitten was given her full of milk and tuna, her first order of business according to McNamee was to make a mental map of her home. The Inner Lives of Cats weaves science with narrative, as McNamee tells of adopting a black kitten named Augusta and uses research to deepen his understanding of what makes her tick.

McNamee’s search for solid information on cats leads him down many paths and the knowledge he imparts to is eclectic. For example, he shares that cats map their territory through scent and hearing, while also explaining that cats can’t focus very well on close objects even though they see in the dark. In addition, McNamee covers the origins of cats, how they different from dogs in their emotional needs, ways they entertain us, their varied interactions with their humans, and much more

These meticulous details would run the risk of boring the most avid cat lover, except for their being adeptly integrated into a heart-warming tale of how one cat changed one couple. Augusta wiggled her way into the hearts of their local barn cats. She respected the unspoken boundaries between her and their horses. She avoided becoming prey to local predators such as coyote and bear. And she brought happiness and love to her owners, the depths of which remained unrealized until age and sickness took her. The Inner Life of Cats is a fascinating and beautiful tribute to our feline companions.

Basically, I wanted to train her to be a dog. I’ve always been a dog person, but when I moved in with my husband, I had to leave my dog with my mom. It’s a void that I’ve been desperate to fill since.–Adventure Cats

Georgia resident Emily Grant was “a bit of a self-professed cat hater”. But after discovering a five-week-old kitten and her three tiny siblings, Emily knew she simply couldn’t leave them. Although she intended to simply find them homes, by the time the Eevee was three months old, Emily was so attached that she decided to keep Eevee if she’d would take to a harness and leash. Not only was Eevee was comfortable walking on a leash, but the two of them were soon embarking on outdoor adventures. Soon Emily loved seeing Eevee’s “curiosity in action,” and she wanted to take Eevee everywhere and show her everything.

The above story is one Laura Moss’s favorites about adventure cats. What are adventure cats? They’re cats that like to join their owners on paddles, climbs, hikes, or simply strolls around the neighborhood. Moss wrote Adventure Cats to serve as resource for people looking for safe ways to explore the great outdoors with their feline friends and to challenge negative stereotypes about cats with the hope of increasing shelter cat adoptions.

In this comprehensive and colorful guide to helping cat live “their nine lives to the fullest,” Moss covers everything anyone might want to know about how to raise an adventure cat. The introductory chapters cover the feline training and safety measures needed before one embarks on outdoor trips, the middle chapters provide tips for traveling in such locations such as the backwoods, the high seas, and the snowy landscapes, and the concluding chapters detail how one can provide a more enriched life to even the most home-bound cat a more enriched life or cats with special needs. Every section contains illustrative stories. When I finished this book, I had a to-buy list in hand.

The authors of each clearly know and love their subject. Their books will expand your perspective on cats. Inner Life of Cats and Adventure Cats are both welcome additions to my growing collection of cat books.

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