By Jack Williams
This adventurous feline really is an outdoors cat – as he is currently making his way around EVERY NATIONAL PARK in the United States.
So far, Vladimir the cat has visited 52 of America’s 59 National Parks, which have included deserts, mountains, forests, beaches and even volcanoes.
That has meant trips to Yosemite, the Grand Canyon, and the Great Smoky Mountains for adventurous Vladimir, who is traveling in a 1989 Toyota motorhome with his owners, Cees and Madison Hofman, from the Bay Area, California, USA.
Through their website, ‘Our Vie,’ and social media, Cees and Madison are documenting their travels.
Their shots show lovable Vladimir happily perched on backpacks as his owners hike; walking on or off a leash while on trails; snoozing on the dashboard Cees and Madison travel cross country; and happily riding on the front of a canoe.
The couple decided to carry out the wild expedition in 2016, in keeping with the 100th anniversary of the national parks, and a celebration of their recent wedding and graduations.
Cees and Madison, both 26, are so fond of the national parks, in fact, that they got engaged atop of Yosemite, in 2014, and their son, Theo, who was born on their travels, is named after Theodore Roosevelt, a strong conservationist who fought tirelessly for the protection of national monuments.
Cees said: “What we have really come to see is just how extremely varied our country is.
“We have seen deserts, rainforests, glaciers, redwood forests, beaches, caves, river ways, volcanoes, tundra and everything in-between.
“The United States is really incredible.”
Vladimir was adopted by the couple as what they called a “stress kitty” during their final exams in college.
Knowing that they were hoped to one day live a mobile life, they trained him to become one of a growing number of so-called “adventure cats.”
The adventure cats movement has seen many individuals take their pets into the great outdoors, photographing and videoing them on the likes of hikes and in front of stunning backdrops.
Laura Moss, founder of adventurecats.org, said: “I think that many cat owners are looking for ways to spend more time with their pets, and they want to incorporate their cats into their already active lifestyles.
“Adventure Cats has shown people that this is possible and that there are safe ways you can enjoy the outdoors with your feline friend.
“I also think many people are simply being inspired by seeing other cat owners take their cats outdoors.
“What Cees and Madison are doing is particularly worthwhile because they’re no doubt inspiring more people to visit our national parks.
“The parks have been attracting fewer young visitors in recent years, and I think the Hofmans’ trip — and all their gorgeous photography — is exposing young Americans to the splendor of our park system and sparking an interest in them to explore the parks for themselves.”
Going forward, the family still have to tick off island locations such as Hawaii and American Samoa, as well as certain parts of Florida.
Vladimir will, of course, be with them every step of the way, and, Laura Moss of Adventure Cats said, she is unaware of any other cats that have completed all 59 parks with their owners.
Cees said: “He loves being outside.
“He loves to sniff around and explore the new areas.
“We think he’s let the Instagram attention go to his head – he is pretty full of himself – and he is very smart.
“Vladimir’s totally learned the ‘rules’ of hiking – he stays on the trail and can even follow us off leash.”