Who doesn’t love kittens and traveling? Well, the best story of the week combines both! A 31-year-old backpacking cyclist found a stray kitten while traveling across Europe. Now, they’re travel buddies, seeing the world together. Read on to discover the story of Dean Nichols and his now-famous stray kitten friend…
Finding A Stray Kitten
Dean Nichols is a 31-year-old backpacker, originally from Dunbar, Scotland. One day, he decided to leave it all behind, take his bike, and ride across Europe. Sounds like a once-in-a-lifetime adventure! However, Nichols never imagined finding a lifelong furry friend on his trip.
After leaving Scotland, Nichols cycled across Serbia, Italy, Switzerland, among other countries. One day, he reached the port of entry at the border of Bosnia and Herzegovina. There, Nichols heard little noises – cat noises, to be specific. Suddenly, he found a stray kitten, loudly meowing for him. Nichols noticed no one around; meanwhile, the kitty was very friendly and unafraid. “She was probably abandoned there, as she ran to me like she knew I would rescue her,” he said in an interview. Without thinking much, Nichols bent down and pet the cat; immediately, she showed him an immense amount of love.
Nichols tried to walk away, but the stray kitten followed him. So, Nichols picked her up and decided to take her with him! Thus started a new life of adventure for the stray kitten…
Nala, The Adventure-Loving Cat
Nichols did not want to diverge from his bicycling plans across Europe; so the stray kitten went everywhere with him. He gave her the name Nala – after Simba’s fierce wife from the Lion King – she very quickly became the most spoiled and loved kitten in the world. Nichols took the cat to the vet, making sure she stayed alive and healthy. There, she also got her shots and chip, to make sure Nala never gets lost again. At first, she was a little dehydrated and hungry, but her owner took excellent care of her. Now, Nala has her own basket, where she sits in the front of the bicycle and also her own cat bed for nighttime. Nichols works as a kayaking instructor and bought Nala her own life vest so she could go with him. “She loves it. She’s very chilled about kayaking,” he said.
While Nichols takes care of his furry friend, she also takes care of him. Nala doesn’t leave Nichols’ side; wherever she can go with him, she does. For example, earlier this month, Nicholas needed to stay in the hospital for a few days, after a nasty snake bite. Meanwhile, Nala stayed by his side, giving him plenty of snuggles and purrs to help him get better.
Now, Nala is quite the internet celebrity…
Nichols’ Important Message
Nichols documents their journey together on Instagram, and Nala became an internet sensation. Currently, they’ve settled in Greece for a little while, where they sleep together in a hammock. “She loves it,” Nichols says. The whole world is literally her playground, and she gets so much attention. Tourists love posing with her for pics, recognize her and Nichols, and she even gets her own dish of fish when they go to restaurants together!
Nichols’ Instagram page has over 400,000 followers. His goal, beyond documenting adorable Nala, is to raise awareness for recycling and keeping our planet clean. He uploads videos of him cleaning the beach and the sea, and makes sure to talk plenty about it. It’s also important for Nichols to get people to adopt pets and show how much love animals give back!