See the World Social Distancing From Your Sofa with This Traveling Cat's Stunning Instagram
Suki is the ideal virtual tour guide: sweet, soft, silly and photogenic. Before the coronavirus pandemic, the Bengal cat traveled the world with her owners Martina Gutfreund and Kenny Hildebrandt, and posed for stunning photos wherever she went. These sweet shots, many of which feature iconic vistas from around the globe, are available to view on Suki’s Instagram (@sukiicat) where she has over 1.8 million followers, and will soon be compiled into a new book, Travels of Suki the Adventure Cat, which will be available in May from Andrews McMeel Publishing.
The book, written by Gutfreund and Hildebrandt’s cousin Dr. Leigh-Anne Ingram, is crafted to feed the wanderlust of the reader and serve as an inspiration for future plans, whether those plans be tackling a new dream or training your feline to be an adventure cat or something else entirely.
To add a little more detail to Suki’s transportive shots, PEOPLE talked Gutfreund, Hildebrandt, and Dr. Ingram — all of whom reside in Canada — about their travels with the 3-year-old adventure cat and the impact Suki has had on all of their lives.
Gutfreund and Hildebrandt welcomed Suki into their lives three years ago when the feline was just a kitten after the couple found themselves kitty-less for this first time in years following the death of their 19-year-old cat.
“I knew that if we would get another kitty it would be so much easier if we never had to leave it behind on trips,” Gutfreund told PEOPLE. “That’s where Suki came in. I did a ton of research trying to figure out what kind of cat might be up for the challenge, and have enough energy to enjoy an adventurous lifestyle. I came across the Bengal breed, most accounts suggested that this breed is an absolute handful … and boy was the research ever accurate. Suki is the personification of energy, this is no kitty for the house cat life.”
Not one for sitting around, Suki speedily adjusted to the adventure cat lifestyle. “It took Suki about two minutes to fall completely in love with the outdoors (under a bush in our backyard), which made leash training much easier. Being outside became the reward its self, so she is always up for new adventures,” the cat’s owners recalled.
Once acclimated to local adventures, the “extremely curious, energetic, and bold” started to travel more with her pet parents, who always make safety their number one priority.
“We make sure to bring her harness, leash, and kitty backpack in case she gets tired and wants a lift,” Gutfreund and Hildebrandt said of how they prepare for their trips in Canada. “If we are traveling out of the country, it is a different story. Each country has specifications for what kind of paperwork they need, so we always do our research beforehand. Most of the time it comes down to getting updated vaccinations and recent veterinarian records.”
Regardless of where they go, Suki is content on their trips as long as she gets to visit nature — she adores “hiking, canoeing, or just lounging in the woods” — and receives a respectable rate for posing for photos.
“Our number one preparation involves packing the treats if we plan on taking photos,” her owners said. “Suki demands payment for her modeling, so we are certain to get a whole lot of sass if we forget those”
Suki so looks forward to her treats that she is happy to sit pretty and pose on command when the camera comes out. If anything, her owners have trouble getting shots that aren’t perfectly posed.
“Having only perfect photos of Suki sitting pretty is not so exciting, so we have to use a lot of tricks to get her moving and looking in certain directions,” the pet parents said. And while some of the shots look like Suki is leaping about restraint-free, her owners assure that Suki is always wearing a harness, it is just edited out of photos later.
Not surprisingly, folks lucky enough to spot Suki out in the wild “are always excited to see” her and it is common for a 1-hour hike to turn into a 5-hour hike because Suki loves to lap up attention from her adoring fans.
Suki’s parents hope that those who meet Suki in real life, on Instagram or in her upcoming book are inspired to safely spend more time in nature and find comfort in the adventure cat.
“At the base level, I hope that the visually-pleasing and captivating imagery can create a whimsical escape from the everyday monotony that our lives can sometimes have,” her owners added.
Dr. Ingram echoed these feelings when she spoke on what she hopes readers take away from Travels of Suki the Adventure Cat.
“It is a reminder to all of us, whether cats or humans, to really connect with the world through all of our senses, to be mindful and fully present in each moment. In times of difficulty and stress, we can follow in Suki’s footsteps by taking a walk in the woods when we can, feel the breeze on our faces, and appreciate the beauty of nature before us. It can really help to keep us grounded, reduce our anxiety, and remind us to relish our loved ones and simple things, like the bright orange leaves before us, the smells of spring blossoms wafting in towards us, and the cheerful chirping of the birds in the trees,” she shared. “Go wild just like Suki — even if you don’t travel far right now, you can see the world through the pages of Suki’s book!”
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