Farley note: this blog post was written by my human mom, Mary.
I don’t know about you, but I like to set goals for myself. I believe you should strive to achieve long term, short term, monthly, weekly and daily goals. I absolutely love keeping busy with different projects so setting goals helps my productivity. I take my big goals and break them down into daily goals, which is really accomplishing three tasks per day that will have the biggest impact on achieving my long term goals.
One of my goals for 2018 was to get in really good shape. It’s been kind of up and down and it’s been my goal for at least the past ten years. I admit, so far I haven’t seen any major difference in my physique and my weight fluctuates weekly. It’s frustrating. One week I will exercise and be healthy and lose a pound or two, but the next week it’s negated because I ate poorly and didn’t exercise. But being goal oriented and wanting to attempt to be healthy, this goal has to stay on my list.
But I admit, I have been so bored with my routine.
Earlier this summer while I was lacing up my running shoes to go for a run, I noticed my cat Farley Waddlesworth was always there to help get in my way. I don’t know why, but I looked down at him, scooped him up, put him in his stroller and took him on my run. We ran a half mile around the house. We always take walks in his stroller, but his little ears perked up even more than usual and he seemed to love having the wind in his face through the screen in his stroller. It was fun to have him with me! Thus began our new workout goal… to run a 5K together.
Because running with a stroller is a little different than running without anything, Farley and I are using the Couch to 5K running plan. (I like the walk breaks too, since pushing a stroller involves your arms getting a workout too.) We are building up slowly and running/strolling together three times per week. This is not my first foray into running with my animals, Josie my dog and I have run multiple dog 5K’s in the past, but she now has arthritis so her running days are over. When I ran with Josie, she always had the lead… she pulled me. With Farley, I can run or walk at my own pace and even be leisurely if I want to.
Now that the weather is getting colder, it’s a bummer for me but it doesn’t seem to bother Farley. He has a warm blanket in his stroller so he is very comfy. We go for our run in the morning before I head off to work or in the evening after I come home. This means we are often running in the dark. I usually have to wear a head lamp so I can see where we are going.
You must be thick skinned when you run with your cat, especially since we both look a bit silly. Keep your mindset strong on what you want to accomplish. My neighbors think the whole thing is absolutely ridiculous, including my significant other, who says he doesn’t want to be seen with Farley and me when we run together. I get teased a lot and everyone laughs, but I really don’t care. I don’t take myself very seriously and we have fun together.
I am currently trying to find a 5K to run with Farley, but have not found one that fits my schedule and will accept a cat in a stroller. This disappoints me because what’s the difference between a cat or a child in a stroller? When zipped up, he looks like a child from a far. It’s not like he can get out. The dog 5K’s have turned me down saying the pups would chase him, but Farley’s in a high stroller so most dogs would not be able to see him. Not to let challenges get in the way, I have decided I will hold one at my house in the spring and invite my friends and family to run with us or cheer us on.
Farley will forever be my running partner. Being outside is something he absolutely loves and going for stroller rides was recommended by his behaviorist. Since Farley was found as an orphan, he never had siblings to help smack down his aggression, so he needs extra stimulation to help exhaust him, even now as an adult cat. He considers his stroller his safe spot, so he loves to be zipped up and see new sites and sounds. Rain, snow, sleet or shine, this cat wants to go outside.
It did take some time and effort to get him used to his stroller, but it was a pretty easy process that most cat owners could do easily.
I started with putting the stroller in the living room and bedroom and making it really soft and comfy. Being a creature of comfort, he began using it every day as a bed. I then moved the stroller to the front entryway, where he continued to sleep in it. Then, one day while he was sleeping, I zipped him up and took him outside for our first walk. We never looked back and Farley now loves to sit in his stroller for hours whether he is moving or not. I also occasionally throw some treats in it. This is to make sure he always had a positive experience in the stroller.
Since we’re heading into winter, many cat owners probably have no desire to do what I do with Farley, but I hope this post inspires you to do something creatively with your cat or pet. You can include animals in everything you do with the right mindset. Too many cats just lay around the house and do nothing. They need fun and enrichment. Why not include them in more of your every day activities? Better yet, your life goals? You and your kitty will learn to appreciate each other even more, which will ultimately strengthen your human-feline emotional bond. That, of course, is Whisker Fabulous!