This fluffball is Gary and he is basically a celebrity on Instagram now! And rightfully so, we must say, since he definitely has one of the most entertaining accounts out there. What makes him different from other cats is that this cat is a true adventurer as he loves hiking, mountaineering, and paddling!
According to James, who is Gay’s owner and also his social media manager, “Gary really enjoys our adventures, and I do my best to make sure he’s always happy and comfortable.” Since it takes time for Gary to adjust to these activities, James says, Gary has been introduced to new activities slowly. He says Gary’s love for outdoor activities went a bit out of hand, though, as the cat just sits at the door and meows if James doesn’t take him out enough!
James said that they decided to adopt Gary thanks to his partner. “She wanted to adopt him because he had suffered the same injury as his dog-brother Duke at the same age, and they seemed to be a good pair,” explained James. “They both had broken left hips and had to undergo a femoral head osteoectomy as treatment. That means the head of his femur was removed, and his left hip joint is now only tendon and muscle.” That’s why Gary can’t really jump that high, but he has no problems other than this. Also, he was called Bruce back when he was at the shelter since he was named after Bruce Wayne!
His owner James is 29 years old, and he is a communications professional. The idea of starting an Instagram account for Gary came to him when he moved to the Canadian Rockies with his partner during his period of unemployment. At first, he just wanted to “maintain a social media presence while I looked for work in my field”, and he wasn’t expecting the account getting so popular. He said, “We only started to go on adventures with Gary very recently. He was very eager to go outside and even escaped once so we decided to harness train him after we moved.” They decided to harness train the cat since the outside could be dangerous for him due to traffic and other dangers awaiting the kitty. “There’s a lot of predators such as bears, wolves, coyotes, and birds of prey around where we live and it’s not safe for him to go around freely,” the owner explained. He also added that they managed to protect other small mammals and songbirds from being the cat’s prey by making Gary wear a harness.
At first they were going on smaller adventures in their yard or local parks, and after that, they started to go hiking in the mountains since Gary started to get more comfortable on a leash. “This summer, we’ve managed to do some paddleboarding and kayaking, gone camping, and Gary even walked on top of a glacier during his mountaineering adventure,” said James enthusiastically. “It has taken a couple of months, but Gary has managed to learn the point of hiking trails, and now whenever he sees one, he will follow it,” he added. Sadly though, even though it makes walking with Gary easier, it also has a downside which they weren’t expecting. It’s kind of hard to stop and take photos with the cat. But what happens when Gary gets tired? James says Gary has a way of showing that: “When he gets tired of walking, he’ll just stop and start meowing at my feet so I’ll just start to carry him. I also have a backpack so I sometimes put him in it.” Apparently, Gary sometimes takes naps in the backpack too!
James says now Gary also has some favorite activities amongst the ones they’ve tried. According to him, Gary’s favorite activity is paddling as the water is getting him relaxed, and he sometimes ends up falling asleep on the front of the kayak! Not only are these activities good for his health, but also Gary has built up a strong confidence thanks to their adventures. “He used to be very shy and he would run and hide under a bed or in the closet whenever we had some guests around but now, he is letting people pet him and he’s much more comfortable around new people. That was unimaginable before our adventures,” James said.
“People messaging me, saying that Gary’s adventures are brightening their day or helping them with their mood when they’re going through a hard time. People are sharing Gary’s adventures with their families and friends. It’s really nice to know that we’re helping people all over the internet. Apparently, people started to go on their own adventures with their cats which I also support. I love it when people share their photos with their cats with me,” James said. James is trying to spread positivity through Gary’s Instagram account, and that’s exactly what we need especially when we already have a lot of negativity surrounding us.
James also uses Gary’s account to spread awareness and educate people on certain topics when he can, especially when it comes to “how to visit parks and natural spaces in a responsible way.” “One of the biggest problems parks are having right now is that people are going into the outdoors to get a good photo for Instagram, but they end up either getting hurt or damage the natural landscape while trying to take a good picture,” he added.
Apparently, a lot of people have concerns about Gary wearing goggles and that’s among the things they ask James about the most. “When you’re in the mountains, the sun reflects off of the rocks and the snow and can become very intense, so he is wearing goggles for sun protection. Goggles make it a lot more comfortable for him to be outside when it’s bright,” James explained. “Gary has never had any problems wearing them and he will only try and paw at them if they end up askew,” he added.