What’s your cat doing right now? Is he curled up in a chair, ‘helping’ you by sitting on your lap while you’re at your keyboard, or trying to hypnotise you into feeding him? Or is he, on the other hand, out sitting in the prow of a kayak or picking his way through a snowfield? While most moggies are home bodies, there’s a growing number of intrepid felines who are out pioneering cat-friendly adventures. We meet four path-finding pusses who are blazing a trail for feline feats.
The outback cat
Queen of clocking up the miles is rescue cat, Willow, who for almost two years around Australia with owner Rich East. Rich sold up all his possessions to take a trip of a lifetime by travelling 50,000km in a campervan, and who better to share the adventure with than meow-ver and shaker Willow? Together, the pair have visited all eight Australian states and territories, and have even sailed the Great Barrier Reef. Laid back Willow would happily wander alone around new campsites, but for longer walks Rich used a lead. She was also fitted with a radio frequency collar just in case she decided to go ‘paw-lkabout’ in the bush. Together, Rich and Willow covered about 60km a day on average. Willow travelled in a cat carrier while Rich was driving, jumping out to explore at each new location and taking catnaps on the roof. The pair enjoyed the experience so much that Rich has been planning new challenges – with Willow as his purr-fect companion.
The dynamic duo
Brothers Bolt and Keel who rose to fame on Instagram, didn’t get off to the best start in life. They were discovered as abandoned kittens behind a rubbish bin in a park by Danielle Gumbley and Kayleen Vanderree, and only embarked on their present career by accident. The two friends would have taken the kittens to the local animal shelter, but it was closed for the evening. The following day, they were due to leave on a two-day canoeing, hiking and camping trip, and, reluctant to either postpone their trip or abandon the cats, they decided to avert a cat-astrophe by taking them along. Since then, the pioneering pair have hiked along snowy trails, camped out on mountain tops and even canoed down rivers, providing inspiration for couch-potato pusses everywhere to head into the great outdoors. Bolt and Keen are freerange felines, but Danielle and Kayleen recommend preparing in advance for your adventure by teaching Kitty to walk close to you, and always using a harness.
Currently on retirement from their instagram fame, they also have a book sure to inspire many a cat.
The culture cat
Longhaired Siberian cat Gandalf is a wizard at travelling. He’s got more stamps in his ‘paws-port’ than many humans, having visited two countries and nine US states in a year. Another rescue, Gandalf’s owners adopted him from a vet’s when they were living in Korea. He was only five weeks old at the time and had a respiratory infection, but he hasn’t let a slightly shaky start in life give him any paws for thought. So far, his adventures have included visiting Hollywood (where he turned the Walk of Fame into a catwalk, but unfortunately wasn’t asked to add his pawprint), and trips to San Francisco, Texas and the Sierra Nevada mountains. He has shared a little of that animal magic on Instagram. Gandalf prefers to stay on a lead when exploring, so he can get up close and personal with nature in complete safety.
If you and Kitty are inspired by our travellers’ tails and are jumping up and down with excitement like a cat on a hot tin roof, it’s time to get out there! Start by investing in a well-fitting harness. This makes it easier to pick your cat up if necessary, and also makes it more comfortable for them to walk on a lead. Practice using the lead around your house and garden until Kitty puts her best paw forwards. Check that ID tags and microchip details are up to date, and build up with short walks first. Once you’re feline fine, head off into the wild for a tour by paw!
Images by @vancatmeow, @boltandkeel & @ganddygram
Keen to hear more about inspiring feline companions? Meet the UK’s furriest political divas.