How Adventure Cats Manages Their Side Hustle

The team behind the Instagram account turned business offers their strategy for balancing priorities.

Cats hiking on a leash, cats sauntering through snow, cats floating on a kayak. On Laura Moss’ and Cody Wellons’ popular Instagram account Adventure Cats(which boasts more than 128,000 followers), wayward kittens know no bounds.

“We simply wanted to share information on leash-training cats and safe ways you can explore the great outdoors with your feline friend, as well as challenge negative stereotypes about cats and cat people that can hurt adoption rates,” Laura says.

What began as a website and some social media accounts soon blossomed into a full-fledged e-commerce store that offers cat harnesses (their top seller), t-shirts, Nalgene bottles, stickers, and myriad pet products, including a book that was published this past spring. (If you’re a pun lover, you’re in for a treat—their site has loads of them, including one shirt that reads “Happy campurrs, meowntain climbers, pawsome hikers.”)

But working on all of Adventure Cats can be tough, especially when both Laura and Cody have full-time jobs and are pawrents to 3 rescue animals. Here’s how they manage their side hustle:

Laura is a freelance journalist and copy editor with more than a decade of experience writing about pets, animals, nature, and more. Cody is a full-time graphic designer and photographer, so he squeezes in working on Adventure Cats during nights and weekends. To save on time, the duo doesn’t only use their own photographs; they share other cat lovers’ adventures, too.

“We’ve had to learn to prioritize and work ahead when we can,” Laura tells us. “Being able to schedule social posts on Buffer, for example, has been a lifesaver, but there are times that things almost slip through the cracks.”

“We have to make it a daily priority even though it’s far from our only priority,” Laura says. “We want the photos and stories we share to brighten people’s day, change their minds about what it means to be a cat lover or owner, and hopefully lead to more shelter cat adoptions.”

She adds: “I think when you believe in your mission and have that underlying passion, your work is very personally rewarding even during those times when it’s not necessarily financially rewarding.”

Laura and Cody were packing for a multi-day backpacking trip over Thanksgiving this year when they realized that Black Friday would occur while they’d be deep in a canyon with no WiFi access. So they stopped rolling sleeping bags and gathering dehydrated food to set up “Black Cat Friday” and “Cyber Meownday” promotions, create graphics for them, and schedule newsletters, social posts, and more, Laura says.

“We’ve certainly learned that when you’re running a business—even one as fun as ours can be—there are times when you have to put things on hold or sacrifice something you’d much rather do for something you have to do.”

“The majority of our audience is on Instagram, and because of that, many people think of us as solely an Instagram account that posts adorable photos of fearless felines,” Laura explains. To change this misconception and drive traffic to their site, they often tease content on Instagram such as promotions, sales, and images of their merch.

They also have a lot of copycat accounts on Instagram, so they try to set themselves apart with positive captions and cats that are exhibiting comfortable body language.“It’s important to us that we encourage cat owners to always put their pets’ safety and happiness first, and I think that truly sets us apart.”