Courageous Kitty Vlad the Explorer Visited All 59 National Parks with His Humans
This adventure cat loves the open road, hiking, biking and kayaking!
Vladmir Kitten has many backyards.
The adventure cat has been on the road since 2016 with his owners Cees and Madison Hofman. In 2016, the couple graduated and decided to visit all 59 of the United States’ national parks in celebration of their achievements and the 100-year anniversary of the National Park Service.
Vlad was along for the entire ride, gradually becoming leash-trained and joining his humans outdoors on adventures. Now the black-and-white feline is a natural explorer.
“From the beginning we wanted to train Vladimir to be an adventure cat. We wanted to share our adventures with him. So really, it’s all he knew since he was a kitten. He’s never really been outside on his own — always with us on a leash. Honestly, he loves it. He totally understands how it works to hike down a trail, and can even follow us off leash,” Madison Hofman tells PEOPLE.
Along with knowing how to hike, Vlad is also a master biker, climber and kayaker. Basically, he is fearless.
Now a pro on the majestic beauty our country has to offer, Vlad has formed some strong opinions on his favorite parts of the USA. While he enjoyed all his adventures, one trip stuck out in particular.
“We had some really fun adventures in Great Sand Dunes National Park. He LOVED hiking in the sand. We joke that he thought it was his giant litter box,” Hofman says.
Overall the epic trip, which took several months, was a breeze for Vlad but there was one dramatic moment that Hofman recalls.
“He snuck out of the RV when we were parked for lunch on the boundary of the Arctic Circle in Alaska. We didn’t realize he had gotten out of the rig for over an hour or so. We went out looking for him and didn’t find him for a while! We thought he was lost for good in the Alaskan Wilderness. We hung out for a while and we kept calling him. Finally he showed up with his tail straight up and looking very pleased that he was able to take himself on an adventure,” she says.
After all this exploring with a kitty companion, Hofman has one piece of advice for the those who are inspired to try something similar with their cats.
“Start them young and be patient,” Hofman advises. “Cats learn at their own pace and usually need time to adjust to new things. Don’t give up if your cat doesn’t immediately respond.”
Vlad has recently learned something new, how to be a big brother. Cees and Madison welcomed their son Theo into the world this year, who seems to have already won Vlad’s approval.
“He’s doing really well! He comes up and sniffs Theo’s head every once and a while … and in the morning, he comes and snuggles with all of us!”