"Cats would much prefer to explore outside, in their own territory, with control over their own movements.”
Animal lovers have criticised Nicole Kidman for admitting to carrying her cats in a backpack while hiking.
The Big Little Lies star has two cats called Ginger and Snow, who last year accompanied her to the Telluride film festival for the premiere of her movie Destroyer.
Kidman has now spoken of the methods she uses to transport the pets in a new interview, which has sparked a response from animal welfare groups.
“I’ve just got one of those carriers,” Kidman told You. “Have you seen those? Those backpacks that you can put them in? A cat carrier that’s a backpack and it has a window that they can peek out of and it’s got air and everything and they love it.”
The actor went on to describe the bag as “really cute”, explaining that the cats “can’t wait to get in” them.
In response, Daniel Cummings, behaviour manager at Cats Protection, advised against this sort of transportation in everyday life.
“We don’t advise people taking their cats out unless absolutely necessary as they are very territorial and crave freedom of movement,” he explained (via The Guardian). “Placing them in small and confined spaces and taking them to unfamiliar environments will cause a lot of cats stress. When transporting a cat it should be for a minimal amount of time; the cat should comfortably be able to have all four paws firmly on the base of the cat carrier and have space to turn and to lie down.
“Putting them in a backpack with a window means they have little opportunity to hide, which is what they would want to do in situations where they are scared. It’s unlikely that an experience like this will be beneficial for most cats.”
Cummings added: “It’s a very human perspective to think they would enjoy seeing the world like this, rather than considering the situation from a feline perspective. Cats would much prefer to explore outside, in their own territory, with control over their own movements.”
Elisa Allen, Director at the UK wing of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, also weighed in on the issue, saying that “although most cats would prefer to lounge indoors than to go hiking, all cats are different, and it’s possible some may enjoy the outdoor experience.”
She added that “PETA encourages anyone who uses specially designed cat-carrying backpacks or any other animal-carrying accessory to be responsible and ensure that animals are carried gently and with care, aren’t confined for long periods of time, and are never left unattended.”
Meanwhile, Nicole Kidman recently returned to screens for season 2 of Big Little Lies – check out NME‘s review of Episode 1 here.