For most cats, their lives revolve around a fixed routine and pampered lifestyle indoors. They’ll never discover what a great big playground the outside world can be. But not Gary. This 5-year-old rescue cat’s giving Instagram travel influencers a run for their money with his effortlessly stunning adventure photos. We’ve seen hundreds of feline get famous for their gorgeous looks, but this fluffy boy’s blazing an entirely new trail for himself!
Gary is part of the growing family of 29-year-old communications professional James and his partner. They adopted him while he was recovering from surgery under the care of his partner’s friend at the shelter. He had to undergo surgery because he was found by animal control with a broken leg. During his time at the shelter, this adventurous fluff went by the name ‘Bruce’, after Bruce Wayne. James recounted.
“The reason she picked him out was because he had suffered the same injury as his dog-brother Duke at the same age and they were a matching pair. They both had broken left hips and underwent femoral osteoectomy as treatment [which means that] the head of his femur was removed and his left hip joint is now just tendon and muscle, instead of bone.”
Because of this surgery, James shares that Gary isn’t able to leap like cats normally can. However, he assures us that their fluffy adventure companion is perfectly fine. In fact, he’s living his best life!
Meet Gary the meowtaineer
Gary is a domestic longhair. But James fondly jokes that he thinks “Gary is a breed of his own – he’s a Canadian forest cat!”. According to James, their little explorer’s introduction to adventure took a while. “We only started adventuring with Gary recently,” he shares. “He showed a keen interest in going outside and even escaped once so we decided to harness train him after we moved.”
Their decision to harness train their curious cat stems from two good reasons. First off, they want to make sure that Gary never runs into trouble like he did before. Secondly, they also want to protect smaller animals like birds from their pet’s predatory tendencies. “There’s a lot of predators like bears, wolves, coyotes, and birds of prey in our area and it’s unsafe to have free roaming cats,” James explained.
Gary is harness-trained
Harness-training their cat was challenging. So, to get him more comfortable wearing the restraint, James would take him outside with it on. They started small, with just exploring the yard and local parks. “As he got more comfortable on a leash, we began to go on bigger adventures. This summer, we’ve branched out into paddleboarding and kayaking, camping, and even meowtaineering when he walked on the toe of a glacier!” James enthusiastically recounts.
“It’s taken several months but Gary’s finally figured out the point of hiking trails and now whenever he sees one, will follow it.”
His human makes sure he’s ready for adventure
“Gary really likes our adventures, and I work really hard to make sure he’s always happy and comfortable. I’ve created a bit of a monster though, because if I don’t take him out enough, he sits at the door and meows.”
Since they live in the Canadian Rockies, where it gets really cold, James takes extra precautions to ensure that his beloved companion has a great time exploring outside. They don’t let him out when it’s -10? outside. But if they do go out and it’s cold or snowy out, James outfits Gary with protective gear like shirts, vests, goggles, and boots! Most notably, the goggles boggle a lot of their fans, per James, who explained:
“Up high in the mountains, the sun reflects off the rocks and the snow and can become very intense, [the goggles] provide sun protection for him, and makes it more comfortable to be outside when it’s bright. He’s never had an issue wearing them and will only try and paw at them if they end up askew.”
Gary’s other fur-siblings also don protective gear when they join in on the adventures. It may seem unusual, but if James says it doesn’t bother his pets and helps them enjoy their adventure better, then we’re all for it! James and his partner have four pets in total: two dogs and a pair of cats.
This adventurous cat surprisingly enjoys paddling a lot
Introducing a new activity to their curious cat takes a lot of time. Thanks to his owners’ patient training, our adventurous feline’s experienced and seen a great many things. However, James claims that one activity seems to be on the running of being Gary’s favorite: paddling.
“His favorite activity seems to be paddling [as] he is very relaxed when we are out on the water and sometimes end up falling asleep on the front of the kayak!”
Unfortunately, James also shares that there’s one downside when they’re out with their curious adventurer. Apparently, stopping and taking a moment to appreciate the views or snapping a photo aren’t things that their four-legged trekker likes to do. But if he does get tired, James shares,
“When he gets tired of walking, he’ll stop and meow at my feet so that I’ll pick him up and carry him – he likes to ride on my shoulders but we also have a backpack he will ride in as well.”
Taking animals along on adventures is a really great way to bond and help them develop their socialization skills
We all know that traveling and going on vacations is good for our holistic health. And apparently, it does wonders for our pets as well! According to James, their pet cat’s become more confident after they started going out on adventures. He explained that,
“He used to be a very timid cat and would would run and hide under the bed or in the closet or in the closet whenever we had guests over [but] now, he seems much more confident and he’ll great new people when they arrive and let him pet him – something that would not have happened he became ‘adventurecat’.”
His stunning posts brighten his audience’s day and have even inspired other cat owners to start harness training their pets
If you visit Gary’s Instagram, you’ll see that James takes a lot of time to interact with his pet’s fans. A lot of their followers express their interest in training their own cats now. James graciously accommodates and gives advice to them. He also tries to teach interested owners the proper way to visit parks when he can.
“I get lots of messages from people who tell me that Gary’s posts have helped brighten their day, or helped provide a bit of happiness when they’re going through a tough time. There’s lots of people whose offices or families will message Gary’s latest updates to each other. It’s nice to know he provides a bit of joy on social media! He’s also helped inspire lots of folks to try adventuring with their cats, which is great! I love getting photos of people’s cats they’re training to walk on-leash.”
Check out how calm Gary is while paddling