Traveling cats – and their hoooman slaves – are pawesome. Here on our blog we want to help you gather all the resources and information you need to travel with your cats, but we also want to share the stories of other cats who hit the road, to inspire you and show you that anything is possible.
(If you haven’t read it yet, check the story of how we rescued Dobby in our van)
Today we want to introduce you to Matcha, a cat who left his home in France, flew all the way to the other side of the world, in Chile, and started exploring South America in a van.
This traveling cat’s story is special, and even more so because it will be Matcha himself to tell you about it. Without further ado, meet Matcha:
Hey, my name is Matcha
Hi, my name’s Matcha, and I’m travelling with my two humans – I know, nobody’s perfect – Anna and Thibault.
Born in the French vineyards, south of Lyon, I soon left my furry siblings to move to Paris, where I lived in a cozy apartment close to Canal Saint Martin for three years.
While I had a great friend on the 6th floor, unlimited access to Pigeon Channel, a decent amount of organic cat food – not my favorite, but being a hipster has a price – and vacations in the South of France every summer, my crazy humans decided to pack everything and move to South America to live in a campervan.
Everyone warned them that bringing me along would be a disaster, that I’ll end up as stray dog’s food – wait, what? –. but they knew that they couldn’t live without me. And thought that I could do with a bit of fresh fresh air, too.
First, Anna and Thibault had to get me to the vet – I haven’t forgiven them yet – to get me my international passport, all the rabies shots, and the usual vaccination package.
Next, they had to find an airline that was willing to take me onboard: they picked Iberia, since they allowed pets weighing up to (travel crate included) 8 kg in the cabin, and I’m not a skinny one. I’m pretty sure that they put me on a diet the weeks prior to our departure, just to make sure that I wouldn’t be kicked out of the plane.
We also had to go back to the vet 10 days before leaving, to make sure I had no deadly diseases ? and to fill out an official form to enter Chile.
I took the plane for the very first time – first one in my family to fly! – and I’m not sure I ever want to do this again. I had to pee in a folded cat litter in the humans’ bathrooms, I couldn’t run freely and had to stay in my travel crate for 14 hours. Flying is overrated.
Home new… homes
If I have to be honest with you, the first two months were pretty harsh: we moved from Airbnb to Airbnb while Anna and Thibault were looking for our perfect rolling home.
I did scratch a few sofa and curtains ?, Chilean cat food wasn’t my favorite and I had no idea that there could be so many dogs in one place; but, luckily, they soon found our new home on wheels – named her Red Rocket – and we moved in the van in June.
Our very first van life spot was a beach in Arica. I was dreaming about treading on the sand, eyes on the horizon… when they put a harness on me, and tried to walk me on a leash. Can you believe this?
Nope, that didn’t work for me. They soon realized that I’m too much of a free spirit and allowed me to roam around with them off the leash, with my collar on.
The first few days I didn’t feel too adventurous, but the more we travelled, the more confident I got.
Along the journey, the hoomans adopted another four-legged friend.
Georgie and I are the same age and we’re pretty similar… except, she’s a dog and I’m a cat.
Wait, what? Yep, that’s correct.
It took some time for us to adapt. She has a strange way of playing, and we’re more like “friennemies”: I run when she runs after me, she screams when I scratch her nose, I jump when she scares me… the usual.
Since we’ve started our journey, I’ve met a bunch of other cats and dogs, a couple of calves – they’re so much fun to play with! –, horses – way too big if you ask me –, guanacos, nandus, and other-looking weird and oddly-named animals.
A typical day in my #vanlife
I sleep at the feet of my two hoomans, or curled up against them if it’s winter.
In the morning, I’ve got big responsibilities: making sure that Thibault gets up and doesn’t go back to sleep while Anna makes breakfast.
If we stay at the same spot for 2 days or more, I go out in the morning to run my errands and come back when I’m hungry, thirsty, when I have a #2 emergency – I never poop outside, I have some decency – or if I’m the mood for hugs.
When my hoomans call my name, I know that I have to get back to the van. Sometimes, I couldn’t care less and let them wait around until I decide it’s time for me to hop on.
(Although I have a weak spot: if the hoomans slice a melon open, I’ll drop whatever I’m doing and run straight to them. Don’t tell anyone.)
Now, if we have to drive out to a new spot, I’m not allowed out at all. ?
For most of the day, I take naps, play hide and seek with Thibault, explore the neighborhood, climb on trees, and hit the sack at around midnight.
Whenever we’re on the road, I lie down on the bed and watch the landscapes go by or just take a nap.
From city life to van life
What has changed in my life since we’ve left Paris? Everything.
Anna and Thibault are way more relaxed, and spend a lot of time with me – sometimes too much, if you ask me.
I get to live my outdoor dream life, I quit my bland organic cat food diet, I’m fitter and way more agile, and I have new friends. So many people take pictures of me, I really think I’m going to be the next Cat-stagram star – so watch this space.
The downside? Way too many vet appointments. ?
Every time we cross a border, the hoomans have to take me to a vet clinic so that I can get flea treatment and a new health certificate. The vets are always impressed with my size and weight, as the average cats in South America are half my size; they’re more like mini-cats.
Also, I’m not too fond of the sniffing dogs at the borders. They come into my home on wheels with their big smelling bodies and look for stuff. I’m not sure what the fuss is all about. Sometimes, my hoomans have to put me in my travel crate so that I don’t attack the dog… or the other way around, I’m not sure.
Van life: yay or nay?
Call me Outdoor Junkie, if you like. A definite YAY!
Van life is super cool. I’ve got used to move around a lot, and I’m super excited to explore so. many. more. places.
My hoomans better have a nice big outdoor space for me to roam whenever we go back home.
About Matcha’s hoomans
Anna is a full time van lifer and digital nomad. She lives with her partner Thibault and their cat Matcha in their van Red Rocket. They started their journey on the Pan-American Highway in June 2019. She love reading maps (while she sucks at using GPS), discovering local street food, eating any baked food with cinnamon, learning as many languages as possible, and wandering in the mountain every day.