“How many people take their cats out walking in the hills? My daughter does. The cat loves its adventures and even goes on trips to the beach too.” So announced 1000-miler Jenny Page in our Facebook group. We HAD to know more...
... So we spoke to Jenny's daughter – 20-year-old Animal Rescue centre managaer Sophie Page from Newark about her extraordinary 2-year-old cat Bella...
How did you discover the two of you enjoyed walking together?
Bella is an indoor cat mainly, as I live on a main road, but I wanted her to experience the outdoors – only safely. So I taught her to walk on a lead from when she was 12 weeks old. It took a few attempts but she finally got the hang of it when she was about 5 months old.
You have become quite adventurous!
Things progressed little by little – first it was a field down the road from my house, then Rufford Park, then Skegness and finally the Peak District (we have been on little walks elsewhere in between but these are the bigger progressions).
Where have you walked together now?
Local village, over fields in various places around Ollerton, Rufford Park, Skegness, Castleton up the hills... We walk as far as we can. When she's a bit tired she will start to lay down a lot and that's when she goes into her fabric travel carrier. She gets in it on her own when she's had enough then cries to come back out when she wants to walk again.
How do other people (and dogs!) react?
They’re usually quite surprised! I've not yet had any negative comments though. A lot of people think it's adorable. When it comes to dogs I pick Bella up for her own safety. I know she is perfectly fine with all dogs but I wouldn't know what the dogs would be like with her so I'd never risk it just in case.
What advice would you give to a cat owner inspired by your example?
Time and patience! It can be frustrating trying to get them to walk. Don't rush them and try not to get frustrated. Walking on a lead isn't for all cats so don't get your hopes up too high! It took me countless amounts of efforts to get her to walk. Still to this day she doesn't comfortably walk on pavement but we're working on it, baby steps!
And if you could sum up your cat's personality in a few words, what would you say?
I'm the manager in an Animal Rescue Kennel so have seen many cats but not a single one comes close to Bella! She is the most confident, outgoing cat I have ever met in my life! She has so much love to give and is super cuddly and is very adventurous!