This well-travelled feline is anything but a lap cat.
In fact, the intrepid pet has spent the last two years joining her owners on trips around the world, visiting five countries and most of the USA.
Hélène Vincent, 34, who works in education technology, and her wife, Alice, 38, who works in insurance, have taken their cat Bao Zi across 45 US states and 22 national parks so far, and have no plans to end their globetrotting.
The Boston-based couple, who work remotely as digital nomads, bring the six-year-old a half Maine coon rescue everywhere they go, encouraging Bao Zi’s curiosity through hiking and sightseeing.
‘The most amazing part is the chance to experience the world through her eyes,’ said Hélène.
‘We always want to keep a close eye on her to keep her safe, so we have to be super in the moment when hiking outdoors which is fantastic.
‘She explores the world from a different vantage point, she also helps us notice things we wouldn’t notice otherwise.’
Alice and Hélène love the ‘freedom and spontaneity’ their unconventional way of life offers. Not only do the trio move almost every week, they only decide on their next destination a few days in advance.
Hélène explained: ‘We started this lifestyle back in Covid when our jobs both went remote. Before, we had lived in the city and always felt like something was missing from our life.
‘Despite this feeling of unease, we couldn’t pinpoint what was causing it. During Covid, we took longer and longer trips and realised that we had never been happier than being out in nature with a frequently changing home.’
Although Bao Zi looks perfectly at home on her travels, the cat was previously anxious and ‘afraid of everything.’ It took a couple of days on the road for her to get used to things, but being out and about has done her plenty of good.
‘She’s happier and healthier than she’s ever been,’ said Hélène. ‘She used to have all kinds of medical problems that cleared up when we started travelling with her at four years old.
Bao Zi’s humans say she’s actually more like a dog than a cat in many ways now, from her curious nature to how attached she is to them.
‘We didn’t want to have a litter box in the car so we got a harness so she could do her business outside like a dog,’ Hélène added. ‘She enjoyed walking on the leash during her bathroom outings and eventually she was the one who started taking us on walks.’
She is also an easygoing traveller and has no trouble flying long distances, tucking herself away in a little carrier backpack that goes under the seat on flights.
Hélène said: ‘We’ve never had to use it, but I do carry a travel litterbox just in case, however, because she goes to the bathroom on a leash like a dog, she prefers that over the litterbox.
‘When we arrive at our destination, we quickly find some dirt for her to dig around in.
‘She loves car rides and just falls asleep until we get to our destination.’
The trio are currently in Paris and are heading to Italy, with the American Southwest (including Arizona and New Mexico) next on the agenda.
So far, their favourite location is Utah, as Bao Zi loves the desert, especially the slot canyons. Arkansas, where the couple took the cat on long kayak trips, was also a favourite, as was their current location, France, for its pet-friendly cafés, stores, and even museums.
Hélène added: ‘We’ve spent the last two years as digital nomads travelling to 45 states and five countries and our kitty has been with us every step of the way.’
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