Pawsitively Me

Malloy is my gift sent from above. I adopted him from PawsCo on October 2, 2016 and I can’t even begin to describe the bond we have!

Adoption process - posing on couch

He has brought me so much more joy and happiness than I could have ever imagined! Not only has he adjusted seamlessly into our home, but he has adapted to each new toy and element I have introduced to him, and has shown interest in going on everyday outings with us. Malloy is an adventure cat in the making, that was something predetermined by me but also his breed. He has the curiosity to try new things and adapts to new situations so well (as long as mama is close by). There is no doubt in my mind that Malloy was meant to come home with me, and that is my inspiration for this blog.

Malloy isn’t just any rescue cat, he’s my Emotional Support Animal (ESA). I had a huge spike in anxiety throughout college and despite my hopes, it did not go away following graduation. I decided to discuss the idea of an ESA with my doctor and parents and proceeded to search the Denver area for animal shelters. Within fifteen minutes of looking, Banana Split came across my screen and my heart skipped a beat. I knew he was meant to be my ESA, so I ran it by Dan before sending an email to PawsCo. Within a week we had our meet and greet and Malloy was home!

Along with getting Malloy to help manage my stress, I knew exercising again and getting back into a more confident body would help ease my mind.  I initially started with workouts that either I already knew or had been given in physical therapy, but they didn’t leave me feeling accomplished. Next thing you know, I had a unique opportunity present itself – a women I had connected with on Instagram reached out asking if I would be interested in becoming a fitness coach with Beachbody. I was initially hesitant because I wasn’t too sure that Beachbody would be good match for me, but I figured I would give it a shot and see if it went anywhere (I was pretty intrigued by the 30 money-back guarantee Jess mentioned). Flash forward today – I weigh as much as I did in high school, mentally I’m confident & far less stressed, and I actually look forward to my daily workouts…I never thought I would be able to say that!  

With my confidence coming back and anxiety becoming more manageable, I’m even trying to incorporate Malloy into some of my workouts, with a pet stroller (for now) and hopefully a harness in our future. Many people may be thinking a stroller or harness for a cat, how ridiculous! But this has been life-changing for both me and Malloy. Not only does Malloy love his stroller rides because he gets to experience the outdoors safely (a huge hesitation for many rescue pets), but I love them because of the joy it brings me to see Malloy so happy. A cat who was once abandoned outside in a carrier, terrified and scared, learning to trust again and get over his fears of outdoors, enclosed spaces, men, etc.

For many cat owners, they typically choose to either have an indoor or outdoor cat. There’s not usually any in between when it comes to letting your pet roam freely outside or keeping them confined within your dwellings. So does that mean that all cats living in say, a city apartment, automatically need to remain inside their entire lives? NO! With the correct “tools” and mindset, a cat living in virtually any situation – city, country, tiny home, etc .- can be exposed to the outdoors safely.

I grew up in New Hampshire where we had forest separating us from our neighbors. It was the perfect setting for letting our cats roam freely outside and allowing them to come inside when ready. The amount of open space for them to run and hunt was perfect for them to have freedom and stretch their legs while encountering life outside of walls. Following my graduation from the University of New Hampshire in May, I moved to Lakewood, Colorado which is a completely different living situation than I was used to back in New Hampshire. It made things a bit more difficult when I first adopted Malloy because we live in a two bedroom apartment in a city (and Malloy has A LOT of energy). The idea of keeping him cooped up in roughly 1000 square feet made me uneasy, but how do you give an outdoor experience in a city? That’s where the stroller (or harness) comes in!

While much of this blog is going to be about me, my life with anxiety and how Malloy has changed it, I plan to discuss our training as well. Because Malloy and I have bonded so well and he has made such a positive impact on my daily life, taking him out in the stroller and harness-training seem like the right thing to do – coupled with the fact that he truly enjoys being outside and in new places (as long as he is with his mama). I want to remove the negative stigma most people have on cats and show them with love, patience & constant support, anything is possible. The idea of “traveling cats” and “adventure cats” are still a foreign concept for most people to comprehend. But I firmly believe exposing cats to the outdoors and becoming more familiar with travel can be amazing for their quality of life. If dogs can do it, why can’t cats?