The Best Interview With Bolt and Keel the Traveling Cats!
I am thrilled to welcome fellow Canadians Kayleen and Danielle of Bolt and Keel to the Montecristo Travels “special correspondent” series. A collection of interviews here on the blog that proves we are not the only ones “crazy” enough to travel the globe with our pet(s). It’s a growing trend and no longer quite so rare an occurrence.
We are building a community of people passionate about both their pets and travel. What IS RARE are travelling CATS! So we are extra super thrilled to welcome this team. So welcome WELCOME!
(Note: All photos are by Bolt and Keel and used with permission)
First off can you tell us a little bit about yourselves? Who is who; do you have a basecamp town or country? How did you two find each other?
Danielle and I (Kayleen) found Bolt and Keel behind a garbage bin in a bush when hiking at a local park two years ago. Danielle and I are adventure buddies – both outdoor enthusiasts and take every chance we can get to get out hiking, canoeing, sailing, and rock climbing so when we found the kittens we knew we would have to take them to the local shelter, as they wouldn’t fit in with our lifestyles. The shelter was closed by the time we got there, so had no choice but to bring them with us on our already planned canoeing and backpacking trip into the mountains that weekend. They happily joined us on our adventure and we knew by the end of the weekend we couldn’t take them to the shelter anymore.
How many countries have you two been so far? Do you have a favourite (I know that is such a tough question!) and where was it the biggest challenge and why?
We’ve been to two: Canada and the USA. We have so many wild places to explore here in Canada, we have so much to explore here still that we are in no rush to explore further with them.
I have to ask — what do you believe is the best part about having a pet with you while you travel? I know that for us, having a pet brings a variety of enhanced experiences; the most unexpected and best one is that we aren’t treated like tourists. People think we live there and so the entire “vibe” changes. We don’t feel targeted by the tourism industry. What is your take?
One of our favourite parts of traveling with Bolt and Keel is it forces you to slow down and experience your journey in a different light. A cats’ curiosity is a contagious thing and is a refreshing reminder to enjoy what is around you, especially those giant sunbeams.
We know a lot about flying in-cabin with a small dog. Can you walk us through what it means to have cats travelling? You seem to favour water as a way to get around is that a challenge?
We’ve tried a lot of activities over the last two years with Bolt and Keel and with trial and error have found canoeing to be the best activity for everyone. The cats enjoy taking in the world as it passes by them while we do all the work. We do our best to listen to the cats’ body language to make sure they are enjoying themselves. Calm waters work the best.
People say cats are territorial and not ones to wander, obviously they are very wrong. What would you say to a person still hesitating? Are people’s concerns warranted? What is the big #1 tip you would like to share to make their lives easier when they set out for the first time?
Cats all have very different personalities; this isn’t for everyone and can often be much romanticized. Starting your cat out young definitely helps, as it becomes their new normal. We used to start Bolt and Keel out by carrying them in our jackets; eventually they would just jump out and join us on whatever adventure we were doing.
What have you learned about your cats on your journeys? Something you are convinced you would not know had you not taken this adventurous route. For us, it was tapping into fearlessness. After hiking up Mount Zeus in Greece on all four paws (8 km round trip in one day) the three of us (because I always knew this about myself) know that being 8” off the ground is not an impediment to full out adventure travel. We learned not to underestimate endurance. What about you?
That they are capable of more than we would assume, sometimes it just takes a little patience for them to get there.
How do you choose where to go next? Do you feel boxed in or limited by having your cats as your travel partner?
There are definitely many limiting factors, including the litter box! But, we know what works for them and try to stick to it. We did decide to leave them with family when we sailed to Hawaii and back last summer.
Your photos are truly stellar. Any tips for taking a great shot when the subject is often small and the backdrop majestic? Do you have your favourite photo ever?
Thank you! My wide angle lens (11-16mm) has been extremely useful with Bolt and Keel. I have had a lot of fun capturing them in their elements while showing the beautiful surroundings. Best tips are: Get low on their level, use a quick shutter speed, and take lots of photos as one will hopefully work out! This one is one of my favourites, as the light was so perfect and we were all so relaxed just enjoying being out on the water.
Wish we had more time and I hope we meet up someday! THANK YOU so much for taking the time to chat with us today. I can’t wait to see where you are off to next and I assure we will continue to follow you! I love that you are showing the world that CAT travel is not only possible but kinda epic and not limited to RV’s and sailing!