We all know what excellent adventure companions dogs can be, but two cats from Victoria, British Columbia, have proven that felines can be just as good at taking on the outdoors.
The cats were found abandoned behind a garbage bin by Victoria residents Danielle Gumbley and Kayleen VanderRee this past July. The girls’ original plan was to take the month-old kittens to the local shelter, but it was late in the evening and the shelter was closed. With a hiking trip planned for early the next day and no one to take care of the kittens, they decided to take them along.
It wasn’t long before the cats won the girls’ hearts and they decided to keep them, naming them in honour of their love for the outdoors: Bolt after Gumbley’s passion for rock climbing and Keel after VanderRee’s fondness for sailing.
Bolt and Keel have since become the girls’ regular adventure buddies, spending most of their time in the girls’ jackets and backpacks, tagging along for camping trips, hikes to alpine lakes, and even a week of sailing.
But as incredible as their story is, Bolt and Keel aren’t an anomaly—more and more people are opting to take their kitties with them on trips like these. It’s become such a trend, in fact, that cat-lover and outdoor enthusiast Laura Moss built Adventurecats.org, a site dedicated to teaching people how to safely bring their cats on adventures. Articles on the site, which launched in 2015, include “What Kind of Harness Does Your Cat Need?” and “Camping with Cats: The Ultimate Guide.” Along with how-tos, visitors to the site will also find features spotlighting brave felines climbing trees, scaling mountains, and sitting in kayaks.
Moss started by creating a simple Instagram account last April, which quickly led to people tagging their cats in forests, fields, and mountains. “Every day I’m awed by these incredible cats and their owners,” Moss told Wired.
The account has since amassed 36,000 followers, and like Bolt and Keel, many of the cats featured have their own social accounts and dedicated followings. In fact, you can stay updated on Bolt and Keel’s adventures by following them on Instagram and Facebook, or by checking out their very own website.