Between Bodhi the Maine Coon and Magic the outdoorsy rescue kitten, cats are proving that adventures aren’t only for dogs. More people are training their cats to walk on leash, and this wonderful trend is helping some seriously awesome cats take the world by storm. They’re out there spreading smiles, and a lot of them have even earned Internet fame. One of the newest cats in that category is Pip the Beach Cat.
Emily Meadows and her husband love cats, but the idea of having one of these famous adventure cats never crossed their minds. Their two black cats, Natty and Mowgli, were purrfectly content to spend their days lounging indoors. Two cats seemed like enough, but then they met Pip. It’s been a year since the high-energy ginger entered their lives, and so much has changed.
How it All Started
When Pip showed up on a Maryland doorstep in the middle of a thunderstorm, he was frail, hungry, and afraid. He most likely wandered away from a nearby feral colony, and the family who found him knew they had to help. The problem was, they couldn’t keep him. Pip was passed around until he eventually landed in Emily’s welcoming hands. Emily’s original plan was to keep the kitten only long enough to drop him off at a shelter, but fate had other ideas. The shelter was full, and that could have been bad news for the sickly little kitten. But Emily knew Pip needed her help, so their family grew by four paws.
Before Pip could settle into his new home, he needed to get healthy. His eyes were swollen and crusty, and his ears were so dirty it affected his hearing. He needed a serious bath and help from a vet, but with time, he started to heal.
With each day, Pip’s personality started to show. Now that he wasn’t sickly or afraid, he had energy to run and play. He also had energy to get into mischief. From the start, little Pip was a troublemaker. His favorite activities included climbing the window screens, knocking over cups, and pouncing on his new feline family members. Meadows told The Dodo,
“It was Pip’s world. We were just living in it.”
Trying Something New
Pip’s antics seemed to be more than the average kitten playfulness. He was constantly moving and seemed to have more energy than he knew what to do with. Emily realized their family needed a solution that would help Pip release pent-up energy while also saving their sanity. That’s when she decided to try out a leash.
When dog owners have high-energy dogs, they take them for walks. Why couldn’t this strategy work for Pip? Emily was willing to try it, so she got Pip his own harness and headed out into their hometown of Ocean City, Maryland.
Their first destination was to the beach. To their surprise, Pip didn’t hesitate. He charged across the boardwalk and headed with confidence straight to the sand. He dug little holes, ran around, chased seagulls, and played with shells. After a while, he got tired and took a beach nap with his humans. Being outside and at the beach put Pip in his element. He was still active and high-strung, but he had freedom to be himself.
After that first trip, Pip started taking regular visits to the beach. He eventually worked his way down the sand toward the water. When he rode his first wave on a boogie board, Emily knew Pip was no ordinary cat. While most cats would have hated the water, Pip loved it. He swam around in the shallows and was perfectly comfortable on a boogie board. And when Pip made it back home, he was too pleasantly exhausted to get into much trouble. It was a win-win deal for the entire family.
An Adventure Cat Was Born
Eventually, people started recognizing the beach cat. They took videos of him swimming and asked to meet him. A local news agency caught wind, and Pip had his first interview. Pip’s popularity grew so fast, Emily couldn’t keep up. Before she knew it, she had a famous adventure cat on her hands.
Besides the beach, Pip explores other areas of Ocean City. He loves the arcade, and he walks along the boardwalk. He has to be careful about going to areas that aren’t pet friendly, but most of the local businesses recognize him and happily invite him in. He’s even made trips to Atlanta and New York City.
Faced with the surprising reality of having a famous adventure cat, Emily decided she wanted to use Pip’s platform do some good in the world. In addition to his outdoor adventures, Pip also makes regular trips to nursing homes and schools. He works as an unofficial therapy animal to spread happiness to everyone he meets.
To take it a step further, Emily also started The Little Pip Project. Emily created small stuffed animals, or “Little Pips,” and for every toy sold, she donates one to a child or another deserving individual. Nursing home residents have especially enjoyed the project. The stuffed animals go to seniors that can no longer live with cats due to health issues or living situations. They look forward to seeing the real-life Pip but have their own Little Pip to keep them company during the week.
Pip hasn’t been a famous adventure cat for long, but he’s already making a big impact in his community. He’s known almost everywhere he goes, and he even published his own book. It’s a travel guide to Ocean City, and yes, it’s just as cute as it sounds. Emily hopes Pip’s fame continues to help others and inspire more people to help cats in need–even when those cats poop in your houseplants.
Featured image via Pip the Beach Cat
REMEMBER: SPAY/NEUTER, FOSTER, VOLUNTEER, TNR & AS ALWAYS, ADOPT, DON’T SHOP!