Meet The Kitty Who Likes To Go Hiking, Skiing and Paddling
Meet Gary; he’s a housecat from Alberta. He likes to go for a leisurely ski sliding down mountain slopes while wrapped around the neck of his owner.
From the hill town of Canmore, Gary the cat has also crossed mountain ranges hiked frozen lakes and — his favourite — being rocked mildly to sleep on the bow of boats.
All while he’s being snapped in photos and video that have made him an Instagram star.
You can follow Gary here on Instagram: greatgramsofgary
Fun fact: Gary has over 350k followers
Described by his owner James Eastham as white and grey, fluffy and “pretty cute,” Gary, the six-year-old feline, was adopted from the Calgary Humane Society about five and a half years ago.
But his thirst for adventure and bids for freedom eventually led to internet fame.
“Gary tried to escape our apartment, so we decided if he wanted to go outside, he’d have to go out on a leash,” Eastham said
“So we began harness training him. And as he got more confident and happier outside, we just kind of slowly started going on longer excursions — first just to the local park and then shorter hikes.
“And eventually day hikes, paddling and even skiing.”
Gary likes to roll around Eastham’s neck like a scarf as he skis the slopes and documents their adventures with photos and videos.
Eastham said: “Skiing with Gary is a pretty casual affair, so we stick to the easy runs,”
“He doesn’t love it if we go too fast; the wind kind of messes up his fur and gets in his face, so we ski slowly and carefully.”
However, Eastham says there’s one adventuring activity that Gary favours above the rest.
“Gary’s favourite thing to do is paddle. He sits on the front of my boat and soaks up the sun and gets rocked by the waves gently to sleep.”
Fame on social media like Instagram and Reddit where you can find photos and merchandise, wasn’t hard for Gary. With more than 380,000 followers on Instagram. However, it doesn’t mean he is consistently identified.
For example, he rides the chairlift in a backpack, which allows him to be discreet for a time.
But when he appears to double as Eastham’s ski scarf on the slopes, the second glances and shouts from the chairlift begin: “Oh, it’s the cat guy!”
“I think it’s a bit surprising… You don’t see a lot of cats out doing these sorts of things,” Eastham said.
Eastham’s advice for pet owners who want to get their cats into adventuring? Go slowly.
Gary was acclimatized to a harness indoors and at his own pace. They embarked upon activities with care and provided clothing to protect him from the cold and his eyes from the sun.
“Gary’s a pretty tolerant cat, and we’ve worked up to this over a long period, so he’s comfortable with it,” Eastham said.
“Cats do what they want to do, so I don’t recommend just stuffing Fluffy in a bag and going to hit the slopes. That probably won’t go well.”
This very adventurous Alberta cat has made it to the summit of many peaks in the Rockies.