This is Vladimir Kitten, a fearless and adventurous feline who is having the trip of his (nine) lifetime(s).
Vladimir and his pet parents—nature-loving newlyweds Cees and Madison Hofman—are currently in the midst of visiting every national park in the United States. They document their adventures on their blog Our Vie.
With Cees and Madison at the wheel of their trusty RV, named, fittingly, Vie, the cute and courageous Vladimir has taken part in all the awe-inspiring fun.
PawCulture caught up with Madison, Vladimir’s mama, while they were in El Paso, Texas, having just left Big Bend National Park. To date, the trio has visited 42 of America’s 59 national parks.
After having adopted Vladimir (who also goes by “Gorby” and “Kitty”) in their last semester of college, the lovebirds knew their fur baby would be an essential part of their incredible journey across the USA.
“He is our best friend and part of the family, we wouldn’t want to leave him out on our adventures,” Madison tells us.
While she admits that “bringing him along on our journey definitely complicates things a little” (like when kitty walks too slowly to a can’t-miss sunset), Madison says that having Vladimir as their furry travel companion is worth every bump in the road.
“It’s so fun to watch him explore and to know that he’s so happy,” she says. “The RV is totally his domain and he loves it, but he really loves being outside, too.”
Madison says that whenever she and her husband arrive at their latest location, the curious Vladimir will hop out of the RV and scope out his new terrain. The couple, of course, makes sure that their pet is safely harnessed in the great outdoors.
“He is pretty fearless and seems to adapt really well in new situations and environments.”
As anyone who has come across this unconventional family’s Instagram can attest, calling Vladimir fearless is something of an understatement. The feline has joined his humans on all sorts of adventures from kayaking to hiking to, as Madison calls it, “meowntain biking.”
But Vlad isn’t just wowing people online, he’s a welcome and inspirational surprise to fellow travelers. “People lose their minds when they see Vlad,” Madison says. “They can’t believe that a cat can do anything that dogs do. I think people have preconceived notions about cats being scared, stubborn, and aloof and forget that cats can be very adventurous, curious, and adaptable, and—don’t forget—loyal!”
Vlad isn’t just a fearless traveler, however, he’s a groundbreaking one, too. According to park rangers in Alaska’s Root Glacier, Vladimir is the first kitty to ever step foot on that trail. “Vlad is pretty proud of that,” Madison jokes.
For any cat-loving traveler who takes inspiration from this wild ride, Madison simply wants people to know they should do what best suits their pet’s lifestyle.
“I think it’s important to know your cat’s personality and to realize that not every cat is going to be a happy camper in the great outdoors,” she says. “Some cats would simply prefer to be indoors-y and you have to respect that.”
“Every cat is unique, but I think at least for us, we realized early on that Vladimir Kitten is very curious, adventurous, friendly, high-energy, and adaptable in all kinds of new situations,” she adds. In addition to his participation in outdoor sports, Madison says that Vladimir also loves watching birds, catching bugs, and playing fetch.
So for all the Vladimir Kittens and their equally adventurous humans out there: “Know your cat, go at their pace, be patient in leash training, be aware of your surroundings at all times and plan adventures with your kitty in mind.”
Images and video clips courtesy of @ourvieadventures