Canadians have embraced the outdoors in droves over the past year-and-a-half due to pandemic-related lockdowns — and their fluffy, tree-climbing, bird-watching feline companions have been tagging along.
These intrepid animals are known as “adventure cats,” as they are put on leashes to explore the outside world with their owners, whether they are hiking, kayaking or even skiing. Many have gained large social media followings in the process; the hashtag #adventurecats on apps like Instagram and TikTok brings up hundreds of thousands of results.
While a cat on a leash is still an uncommon sight, Julie Posluns, who runs an online cat-training school, says she’s seen increased interest in her courses since the start of the pandemic.
“I think the more people realized they were at home, the more they were like, ‘OK, I guess it’s time to just pick up some new home hobbies,'” said the Toronto resident.
Posluns trained her own cat, Jones, to walk on a leash about six years ago and now provides advice to clients on cat backpacks, harnesses and other so-called “adventure cat” essentials.
The Vancouver Island adventure cat
Chelsea Robinson, a longtime hiker, got her Maine Coon kitten last winter. Within days of bringing her home, she put the cat — named Fig — in a harness and headed to the beach.
“She was enthralled,” she said. “Still to this day, no matter where we go, the beach is her favourite place.”
Fig especially loves to watch the waves crash onto the beach, Robinson says.
Fig and Robinson take walks every day, whether it’s a short walk to pick up Robinson’s children from school, or a several-hour hike through the forest on the weekend.
Fig has been a “bright light” for Robinson throughout the pandemic, she says.
It’s also something she hears from people who follow Fig’s adventures online; Robinson shares photos and videos of their activities on Instagram and TikTok, where Fig has collectively amassed nearly 150,000 followers.
“She brings people a lot of joy,” Robinson said.
The Ottawa-based Siberian Forest cat who kayaks
Another cat owner, Aleena Fiorotto, says she was “determined to have an adventure cat” when she got her Siberian Forest kitten, Finnegan, last year.
Luckily, Finn’s easygoing temperament made leash-training relatively painless, she said.
“I can take him anywhere, in any situation, with any type of new animal or anything. And he’s just like, ‘This is fine,'” said Fiorotto.
The duo has even gone kayaking — and while Fiorotto says Finn was a little “leery” of the moving dock at first, he was happy once they pushed off.
“He settled right in and just laid down and took in the sights,” she said.
Fiorotto also shares her cat’s exploits on Instagram, where Finn has more than 21,000 followers.
Having an adventure cat has pushed Fiorotto to get out more than she would solo, she said. She loves to see how Finn engages with the world around him and how he interacts with delighted strangers on the trails.
So you want your own adventure cat?
Some experts say that while cats can benefit from leashed walks, there are several factors that should be taken into consideration before you attempt to do so.
Posluns said a sturdy harness and leash need to be tested on your cat inside the home before you think about going outside, as many cats do not initially like the feeling of a harness. A gradual introduction to it is best.
“I think it’s really important to remember that we’re doing this for our cats’ enrichment first,” she said. “Not to take them on some fun adventure for social media to take pictures — but, like, what is going to enrich your cat’s life?”
Dr. Maggie Brown-Bury, a veterinarian and a representative of the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association for Newfoundland and Labrador, says that leash-walking our feline friends can be an “an excellent way to give them more activity and adventure in their life.”
But she said you need to be in tune with your cat’s body language as you acclimate them to the leash and to the outdoors. Signs that your cat is unhappy being outside include flattened ears, unwillingness to move, hunched bodies and open-mouth breathing — a sign of stress.
“But if they are walking around and sniffing and exploring, then they’re feeling really great,” said Brown-Bury.
And to those who say cats should never be let outside, due to the dangers to local wildlife and the cats themselves? If the cat is controlled by a leash, Brown-Bury says the risks are minimal.
“Having a cat outside in a controlled manner is no riskier for the cat than it would be for your dog,” she said.
If you do plan to take your cat outside, Brown-Bury says, microchip identification is a must, as are shots for parasites and regular deworming appointments.
Motor racing-F1 drivers defend Netflix series after Verstappen snub
Leading Formula One drivers defended the popular Netflix “Drive to Survive” fly-on-the-wall series on Thursday after Red Bull’s championship leader Max Verstappen said he was snubbing it because he felt some of the rivalries were “faked”.
The docu-series, now filming its fourth season, has been credited as a big factor in fuelling the sport’s growth in the United States.
Dutch 24-year-old Verstappen earlier told the Associated Press that he recognised the importance of the series but did not like being a part of it and would not be giving any interviews.
Mercedes’ seven-times world champion Lewis Hamilton, Verstappen’s title rival, told reporters at the U.S. Grand Prix in Austin, Texas, that he had noticed a surge in interest in the country.
“In this last couple of years it’s been the steepest rise and more and more people are talking about it, more and more people engaging,” he said.
“The amount of emails and messages I get from people I’ve known for years in the States and who never knew what I was doing and now are hooked and can’t wait to come. I think a lot of them are coming this weekend.”
Verstappen’s Mexican team mate Sergio Perez, a two-times race winner who featured heavily last season, said he respected what the documentary was doing.
“What it has done for Formula One is tremendous. It’s really something I appreciate,” he said.
“The way they sell the sport is a bit of a drama. It is a show but at the end of the day it is good for the sport and is good for the fans so I am happy with it.”
McLaren’s Lando Norris, voted the second-most popular driver after Verstappen in a fan survey published on Thursday, also appreciated the show.
“I’m fine with it,” he said. “I think it’s a cool thing. Coming to America there are so many people who are now into Formula One just because of watching ‘Drive to Survive.’ I think I come across on it alright.
“I think they do a good job. I can’t really speak on behalf of Max.”
His Australian team mate Daniel Ricciardo agreed: “Most of us experience the effect it’s had on the sport. There’s certainly been a lot of growth and I honestly see that most in America.
“There’s times where you want a little bit of space or privacy but I do think if you let them know no cameras in this room they are pretty good with that.”
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London; Editing by Stephen Coates)
Media Beat: October 21, 2021 | FYIMusicNews – FYI Music News
Rogers boardroom rift deepens as Edward Rogers faces resistance in bid to overhaul telecom giant’s leadership
Independent directors at Rogers Communications Inc. are pushing back against attempts by chair Edward Rogers to overhaul the telecom and media giant’s leadership, and the company’s family trust will hold an emergency meeting to consider limiting Mr. Rogers’s ability to exercise voting control.
The boardroom rift in the middle of the $26-billion takeover of Shaw Communications Inc. erupted after Mr. Rogers attempted to replace Rogers chief executive officer Joe Natale with chief financial officer Tony Staffieri and oust other members of the company’s leadership team. It pits Mr. Rogers against his mother, Loretta Rogers, and sisters Martha Rogers and deputy chair Melinda Rogers-Hixon. – Alexandra Posadzki, The Globe and Mail
Facebook — or whatever name the tech giant picks for a reportedly looming rebrand of its data-mining empire as it seeks to teleport its business into the metaverse to escape the unending cavalcade of toxic publicity its execs generate — has a new “bad behavior” badge to sport: It’s just been fined nearly $70 million (£50.5 million) by a U.K. watchdog for deliberately withholding information related to ongoing antitrust oversight of its acquisition of US database and search enginge Giphy.– Natasha Lomas, TechCrunch
Omidyar is no stranger to the media, providing financial backing to The Intercept, for example, and the open internet advocacy group Public Knowledge. According to Politico, when asked to comment, his advocacy group Omidyar Network pointed to an unbylined blog post that went up today titled “In Support of Tech Whistleblowers Who are Holding Tech to Account.” – Richard Lawler, The Verge
As the world begins to truly contend with just how dangerous social media platforms can be, Facebook’s reckoning has been kicked into overdrive following former staffer Frances Haugen’s shocking allegations that the company has long known about its platform’s toxic effects on society — and has done little to try to fix them. Now, amid this firestorm of criticism, the company has reportedly come up with a new public relations strategy: changing its name. – Kara Alaimo, CNN
Donald Trump’s team is making a big deal of this. Yet there’s no indication that the new company has a working platform yet. The new site is just a registration page. – BBC News
For those scammers who think they’ve been scammed, there’s not a lot they can do (and few would have sympathy for them). One forum user suggested any attempt at dealing with this situation would be as useless as trying to arbitrate “against Stalin”. – Danny Palmer, ZDNet
Ex-US President Donald Trump announces social media site – Al Jazeera English
The launch of the platform, dubbed TRUTH Social, comes months after Trump was banned from most major social media sites.
Former United States President Donald Trump has announced the launch of his own social media platform, nine months after being expelled from all major sites for his role in allegedly inciting violence at the US Capitol following his election defeat last year.
In a statement on Wednesday, Trump said the launch of Trump Media & Technology Group (TMTG) and its “TRUTH Social” app is meant to remedy his suspensions from sites such as Facebook and Twitter in the wake of the January 6 storming of the Capitol by his supporters as legislators met to certify the victory of the Republican’s Democratic rival, incumbent President Joe Biden.
“We live in a world where the Taliban has a huge presence on Twitter, yet your favorite American President has been silenced. This is unacceptable,” Trump said in the written statement included in a news release.
“I am excited to send out my first TRUTH on TRUTH Social very soon. TMTG was founded with a mission to give a voice to all. I’m excited to soon begin sharing my thoughts on TRUTH Social and to fight back against Big Tech,” he said.
The social network is set for a preliminary rollout in November and a full rollout in the first quarter of 2022, according to the release. It is being created through a new company formed by a merger of the TMTG and a special acquisition company.
The social media platform is the first of the three stages in the company’s plans, followed by a subscription video-on-demand service called TMTG+ that will feature entertainment, news and podcasts, and an entry to the cloud-computing space, according to the release.
Trump, who was impeached by the US House of Representatives for his role in egging on rioters on January 6, but later acquitted of the charges in the then Republican-controlled US Senate, has been vocal about his desire to launch his own media platform following his presidency.
An earlier effort to launch a blog on his existing website was abandoned after the page drew dismal views.
In May, a semi-independent Facebook oversight board upheld Trump’s suspension from the site, on which he had about 35 million followers, while criticising the open-ended nature of the ban and calling for the company to determine a more concrete timeline of the ban within six months.
In July, Trump sued Facebook, Twitter and Google, along with their chief executives, seeking the restoration of his accounts and punitive damages.
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