It’s easy to become enamored with Floyd, a 4-year-old Persian. It even says so at the beginning of his entry in “Adventure Cats: Living Nine Lives to the Fullest.”
“One glance at Floyd the Lion and you might assume his name comes from his magnificent silky mane; however, there’s much more to being a lion than simply looking the part. It requires strength, courage and a certain fearlessness when it comes to putting that whole cats-have-nine-lives rumor to the test — and Floyd certainly fits the bill.”
The book, a guide for cat owners who wish to take their feline companions into the wild, was written by Laura J. Moss, a journalist and co-founder of AdventureCats.org, an online resource for information on safely exploring the great outdoors with a cat. The book is filled with inspiring stories and photos of adventurous cats and their owners, as well as tutorials on how to leash train a cat and safely hike with it.
Floyd’s owners, Susie and Cami Floros-Garrison, reside in a suburb of Denver, CO, which allows them to live an active lifestyle that includes lots of traveling and outdoor activities. When they’re out for a hike with Floyd, Susie and Cami say they take precautions that include a cat carrier and harness. And he’s often accompanied by his best friend, TUD (short for “Totally Unnecessary Dog”) Doodle, a golden doodle that helped Floyd adjust to being on a leash.
According to Susie, Floyd’s biggest hike has been a trip to Moab, UT, which is known as being a popular destination for mountain bikers and other off-road enthusiasts. During the trip, Floyd hiked alongside his owners and ventured all the way to Corona Arch. And when he got tired, Susie and Cami gave him a break by placing him in an Outward Hound backpack.
“The best part of adventuring with Floyd is letting him experience the outdoors in a safe way,” Susie is quoted as saying in “Adventure Cats.” “He’s an indoor cat, and it’s fun to see him so happy and curious when we go for walks.”
His inclusion in “Adventure Cats” has placed Floyd in the spotlight, as it is enabling him to go on tour and meet the cat-loving public, including a “Pawtograph” book signing event that took place in July in Littleton, CO.
However, Floyd nearly didn’t reach his first birthday and get to enjoy his current celebrity status.
Floyd’s “adventure” started in November 2013, when Cami’s mother notified her that a friend of the family had a litter of Persian kittens available.
“Susie had been saying, ‘We need a cat, I want a cat,’” Cami reminisced. “This had been going on for a year.”
Susie, who at the time was editor-in-chief for Snowboard magazine, was on the road for business, but Cami was torn about letting her then-fiancé know of the opportunity.
“I felt there’s no way that we had time for a cat, so I sat on it,” Cami said. “If I tell her, then we’re going to get a cat. But I also knew there was no way my mom could keep her mouth shut, so I sent Susie a text message.”
After receiving the text, Susie immediately dropped everything.
“She was literally home within an hour,” Cami laughed.
When the couple visited the home of Cami’s parents, the kittens were gathered in a pen that was located in the living room.
“I sat outside the pen, crossed my arms and sat there,” Cami said. “Susie, of course, barrels in and within two seconds goes, ‘This is the one. This is the one we’re taking home.’”
Susie, who was raised in upstate New York on classic rock music, is a fan of Pink Floyd, and it was she who chose the name Floyd for the amber-eyed kitten that she described on his first Instagram photo as “the cutest little ewok.”
“He resembles a lion, so I started calling him that right away,” she said. “He’s a Persian cat with a lion heart.”
When Cami is asked if the name is an accurate representation for the cat, she didn’t skip a beat: “Completely.”
The furry marshmallow of a kitten has grown into a majestic creature, but Floyd experienced a string of bad luck during the first year of his life. Breathing issues led to the couple taking Floyd to a local veterinarian, where an MRI revealed that the frisky feline was born with one sinus cavity.
“He struggles to breathe sometimes,” Cami said. “When he gets stressed out, he just pants. And we are really careful about the foods that we give him.”
That experience was followed by another unfortunate event, which occurred when a friend brought a German shepherd over to the couple’s home, and the dog chased Floyd off the balcony. The result was a 20-foot fall onto the concrete below.
“We rushed him to the emergency vet and after thorough tests and overnight observation, we found out that Floyd miraculously only cracked his two front canines when he landed. Relieved, we brought the little guy home [and] scheduled his root canals.”
Susie and Cami thought they were in the clear, but Floyd had one more incident less than a week later when he got into some lilies, which are toxic to cats and can result in severe, acute kidney failure. Luckily, he was treated immediately and the poisons were quickly flushed out of his system.
Floyd’s early scares haven’t frightened the couple from allowing the cat to live his life to the fullest.
“Despite all the stuff that went down during his first year of life, he remains the most loving, resilient, fearless little guy, and he still loves dogs,” Susie exclaimed. “He’s funny. He is a routine guy. He has a very definitive routine that starts at around 5 a.m.: He jumps on our pillows and purrs to wake us up. He likes for me to brush him in the morning. So he goes into the bathroom, and we’ve gotten into this routine where I brush him and then I brush his teeth.”
“People are fascinated that a cat walks confidently on a leash,” Susie said. “And he has a salty expression on his face.”
“The amazing thing about Floyd is that if anyone approaches him — normally cats are quick to shy away or run away — but that’s the opposite of Floyd,” Cami added. “If someone approaches him, and this is a bit nerve-racking, he’ll run right up to them and rub against them.
“If you walk in the front door of our home, he welcomes you to the house and shows you his things and rubs up against you. People will come in all the time and go, ‘Ah, I don’t like cats.’ And then they start to hang out with Floyd for a few minutes and then go, ‘But that’s a cool cat, I’ll hang out with that cat.’”
Social media has been a major boost to Floyd’s level of celebrity. The cream-colored cat is a natural subject when it comes to photographs and videos, which has resulted in the fabulous feline garnering more than 44,000 followers on Instagram.
“This ‘world’ [of social media pets] is new to us,” Cami explained. “We both had Instagram accounts, but I had no awareness of the ‘catstagram’ world.”
Thanks to Susie’s magazine job, she had knowledge of the style of images that were popular on the magazine’s social media account.
“That’s when I decided Floyd needed his own account,” Susie said. “I had so many photos of him on my iPhone. Now Cami has an Instagram cat obsession.”
In 2016, Floyd joined Venus, the Two-Faced Cat, as special guests of the Denver County Fair in the festival’s Kitten Pavilion, which also featured TICA-sanctioned cat shows, adoptable kittens and daily screenings of cat videos.
The Denver County Fair appearance led to Floyd being featured on a Fox News show in Denver to help publicize the release of the 2016 movie, “Nine Lives.” Starring Kevin Spacey, the movie tells the story of a workaholic business tycoon whose mind becomes trapped inside the body of his daughter’s new cat, named Mr. Fuzzypants.
The company promoting the fantasy film had Susie, Cami and Floyd go on the show, but the segment was not well organized, according to the couple.
“We sat in a side room, and when [the hosts] were ready for us, we were walked into the studio,” Cami remembered. “We had no hint of what they were going to talk about.”
“It was the most awkward interview ever,” Susie chuckled. “I had Floyd in a cardboard box on my lap, and they got Cami’s name wrong. It was pretty funny.”
“I’ve always been laid back about pets and hadn’t put a lot of thought into them,” Cami said. “Now, through Floyd, I put an enormous amount of thought into him.
“Susie and I got married a year ago January, and we just finally went through the name-changing thing,” she continued. “We hyphenate it. And do you want to know the truth? When we were trying to decide whether we were going to go Garrison-Floros or Floros-Garrison, we actually based it on what sounded best with Floyd. We both agreed Floyd Floros-Garrison sounded best.”
Cami bursts out laughing.
“It sounded very sophisticated,” she added.
It’s obvious that their lives wouldn’t be the same without “The Lion.”
“I had no idea that cats could have a personality like Floyd’s,” Cami stated. “In my experience, cats have always been aloof, but he’s not. He is not the average cat.
“Floyd is such a cool character,” she continued. “And this is true of any pet, but the amount of unconditional love that you get from a pet — a dog or cat or whatever animal it is — is always amazing. And I think it was something that we were missing in our lives and in our relationship. It’s been awesome to have him. I think he completed us.”