Traveling Cat Tales

Learning about People from a Cat Who Goes Places

black and white tuxedo cat is petted by stranger

Having Cupcake on the go with me for the past year and a half has been a big learning experience. I kind of expected to learn new things, but what I didn’t expect was to learn so much about people.

People love to talk about their own cats

There’s something about seeing a woman out in public with her cat that lets people know it’s OK to talk about their own cat, and they do! I think this is because we live in a society where talking too much about your cat can get you the dreaded label of “crazy cat lady,” so people don’t know who to it’s safe to talk to about their cat.

I love it when people tell me about their cats! I often hear great stories about how their cat got their name and the antics their cats are known for.

Living in a tourist area, I also hear a lot from people who are homesick for their cats. Petting Cupcake can open the floodgates of how much they miss their cat back home, and I hear so many sweet stories.

I also hear lots of stories about cats people used to have. There’s something about talking about lost cats that brings out the sentimental stories from cat lovers.

black and white tuxedo cat bumps fists

Assertiveness is more OK than I thought

I am not good at saying no to people. After all, I want to be liked. But when I am out with Cupcake, I have to look for her best interests first.

As much as I want to let her greet everyone who comes along, she can get tired of new hands petting her, sometimes in the middle of a shopping trip when I can’t drop everything and take her home that very moment. That’s when I have to say no to people. Sorry, no petting right now.

You know what? People are surprisingly cooperative about it, especially when I explain she has been out of the house for several hours and is “over it” the way a toddler gets over a shopping trip with their parents.

People are OK, Even People Who Don’t Like Cats

Not everyone likes cats. I can respect that, especially when Cupcake is showing up unexpectedly in places that people don’t expect to see a cat. Sometimes you’re going to get a less-than-welcoming response.

When they see me with Cupcake, these people often explain to me why they don’t like cats. For many of them, it’s allergies, and oh, boy, I feel for them on that one. Neither Cupcake nor I want to set off an allergic reaction in anyone.

black and white tuxedo cat in carrier

Sometimes, the person had a really bad experience with a cat when they were younger that left them less than fond of cats. I think it’s important to not invalidate their feelings and try to convince them that not all cats are like that. Most people learn better organically by experience than being argued out of a belief or fear.

Children are OK, too

I’m not really good with children. My branch of our family tree hasn’t had any, so I never know what to say to kids.

Cupcake doesn’t have that problem. She sees all people as people, and as long as they are kind to her, she thinks they’re all right, too.

Children are often drawn to Cupcake, and will chatter delightedly about their own cats. One lucky young man even had Cupcake jump into his lap earlier this year. I’m not sure which of them was more surprised, but he was delighted.

black and white tuxedo cat in child's lap

If you’re curious, you can read the whole story about Cupcake and the Unexpected Lap on Cats Herd You.

Cupcake has made me stretch my boundaries and interact with lots of children — and other people — who I would otherwise have passed by. My life is a lot richer for it, and I have her to thank.

You can learn a lot about people from the encounters you have with them when you adventure together. #catsgoingplaces #catonaleash #adventurecats #adventurecat #humananimalbond


  • We have learned the same things. It is so interesting to be sitting somewhere with Chanel and have people walk by, stop and then back up to talk once they realize they really DID see a cat.

  • My human and I can totally relate to this! Except for the getting tired of petting part – I have lots of stamina for that. But yeah, one of the reasons we love therapy work is because people get to talk about a) their cats at home, b) their cats from the past, or c) why they don’t like cats or are indifferent to them (and sometimes these people wind up thinking I am really cool!). And I love kids WAY more than my human, MOL! I think we are all doing a public service, getting out there and seeing people. Honestly.

  • What a nice post! I hope you’re an extrovert. Because all that attention can be exhausting for people too. My husband says that when we travel with our dog Honey, it’s like being in a rock star’s entourage.

    One difference in our experience is that people tend to push the boundaries more with our golden retriever than it sounds like people do with Cupcake. It’s great that people who know and love cats understand that they have boundaries.

    Because golden retrievers are the poster dog for friendliness, we have issues with people touching her as we walk by, folks wanting to be too rough with her, and people insisting on pulling their snarling dog toward her to “say hello.” Strangely, it’s adults who do this. Children are generally very gentle and polite.

    I hope you and Cupcake continue to have good experiences and enjoy learning about people you meet.

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