When you make the incredible decision to rescue a pet from a shelter, you save a life and gain a best friend. And in the case of a couple from Queensland, Australia, you bring home an ocean-friendly kitty who becomes an internet star.
The outdoorsy couple wanted to make sure Nathan could enjoy all that nature has to offer, so, when Nathan was 11 weeks old, Melissa and Rian brought her on a trip to the beach.
“We both love the beach and felt this would be a great place to start,” Melissa tells PawCulture. “We initially started by putting a harness on her at home to get her used to it and then took her to the beach.”
The couple kept Nathan away from other beachgoers so that she wouldn’t get scared, and kept her on her leash and harness. Nathan loved the beach walks and quickly adapted to going on adventures without her leash.
“She was great,” Melissa says. “She came when her name was called, she walked beside us, chased us around on the sand, it was fantastic.”
Then one fateful day, Rian went for a swim during one of their trips, and Nathan fearlessly followed him right into the water. “It was very cute,” Melissa says.
“From then on, she just got more and more confident in the water, coming out further and further until she eventually just started swimming,” she adds.
Melissa says Nathan loves being in the ocean and “will often swim between us in the water from one to the other.”
If one person is on the sand and the other is in the surf, however, Nathan tends to go splash in the ocean with the latter.
Nathan will only go as far as her humans go, and they assure it’s never far from land.
“She really surprised us with the swimming to be honest, but there was never a time we were nervous,” Melissa says. “She really was a natural and really very comfortable in the water. We are always close to her to make sure she is safe.”
The couple, who says they’ll eventually try and let Nathan explore paddle boarding, initially set up an Instagram page for friends and family to see Nathan’s swimming skills, but when word got out that there is a 5-month-old kitty swimming in Australia, it was hard not to cause a stir.
Since creating her page, Nathan’s Instagram has racked up more than 63,000 followers and counting in just a few week’s time.
“It was a bit of a shock to have our little Nathan go viral,” she says, but the pair is thrilled to see Nathan have so many fans who she can bring joy to. She also points out that whenever fellow beachgoers spot Nathan, they tend to stop, stare and smile.
Melissa says that while Nathan is an ocean-friendly cat, fellow pet parents should always follow what their animal is telling them and never force anything.
If curious pet parents want to see how their cats do near water, she advises to “keep them close and safe.”
“You need to have strong trust between you and your pet so they feel safe enough to come out in the water and know that you’ll always protect them,” she says.
The trust is definitely there between Nathan and her parents, as is the love.
“She has such a good little personality. She knows what she wants and is very persistent until she gets it,” Melissa says. “She’s quite goofy and makes us laugh an awful lot. We get a big greeting at the door whenever we come home … essentially she is always by our side.”
Images via @nathan_thebeachcat