Two kittens were abandoned behind a trash can in a park in British Columbia. If they had been picked up by anyone else, the felines would probably have ended up at the shelter. However, these two brothers were adopted by Kayleen VanderRee and have the adventure of their lives.
17. Abandoned Kittens
British Columbia residents Kayleen VanderRee and Danielle Gumbley love to have adventures. In 2015, the two friends were working as camp leaders at a children’s summer camp and were preparing to take a 2-day trip into the mountains. Before leaving, they spotted two kittens behind a trash can while at a park.
16. What to Do Next
The two male kittens looked healthy enough. They had clearly been abandoned though and needed someone to look after them. Kayleen and Danielle looked at the kittens then at their charges, 20 children who urged them to take the kittens. They decided they had no choice and planned to take the kittens to the shelter.
15. The Shelter is Closed
However, when they got off work, the shelter was closed. The women were supposed to embark on their mountain climbing adventure but now they had two kittens. With no place to take the kittens and wanting to keep them safe, they decided to take the kittens with them up the mountain, grabbing them harnesses and leashes.
14. Island Bound
At just a month old, the kittens were taken on the trek to Vancouver Island. They traveled by canoe with the women and handled the trip fine. Kayleen and Danielle even picked up the kittens and tucked them inside their jackets, snuggling the felines close for their trek up a switchback — “a trail up a steep hill or mountain that is like a zig-zag pattern instead of a straight trail.”
13. Excited for the Adventure
The kittens were clearly excited about the events because Danielle said that they leaped out of their jackets as the women hiked up. In just a few days, they’d gone from abandoned kittens to seasoned hikers, and they were loving every minute of it.
12. Braving the Elements
Most cats have a reputation for being finicky about water but these felines weathered the elements perfectly, even dealing with being drenched with rain. As Danielle and Kayleen climbed, they fell even more in love with the cats and knew that they couldn’t take them to a shelter.
11. Meet Bolt and Keel
Kayleen decided to adopt the kittens and named them Bolt and Keel. She decided that since the kittens liked their first adventure, she should start taking them on all of her adventures, officially making them adventure cats.
10. A New Perspective
She credits Bolt and Keel with changing the way she approached her adventures. “These cats have helped me through a lot and helped me to relate to nature in a fun, new way. They have brought so much joy and laughter into my life and into my friendships. They have taught me to stay curious and to not be afraid to test my own limits,” she told Adventure Cats.org
9. Adventure Ahoy
Since that day in 2015, Bolt and Keel have been on all kinds of adventures with Kayleen and her friends. They aren’t just hiking, they’re camping, canoeing, even sailing! Kayleen marvels at the way the cats seem to get even bolder each time they go out.
8. Their Pace
Kayleen’s favorite thing about hiking with Bolt and Keel is moving at their pace. She has them wear harnesses and leashes and lets them explore as they like. She says “The adventures that are most successful are ones where we let the cats move at their own speed and take the time to be curious with them.”
7. Telling Their Story
Bolt and Keel were such happy adventure cats that Kayleen decided she should share their story with the world. She created an Instagram page – boltandkeel – where anyone could see the cats on their latest jaunt. To date, the cats have 108,000 followers! But that’s not all…
6. Publishing a Book
Bolt and Keel are also stars of their own book. Published in 2017, Bolt and Keel: The Wild Adventures of Two Rescued Cats chronicles the brothers’ life. Inside are 60 amazing color photographs of the cats plus text by the owners.
5. Adventuring with Cats
Kayleen and her friends are careful when they’re out adventuring with the cats. “We won’t take Bolt and Keel out in kayaks if the waters are rough or if we are going far from shore. When on the sailboat, we would closely supervise Bolt and Keel on the deck or have them on a leash.”
4. Water Cats
Surprisingly, Bolt and Keel like being out on the water! Kayleen says that Bolt is especially curious about water. One day he decided to walk out on the deck of a kayak then ended up swimming before being pulled out. She said that he wasn’t even fazed and now seems even more comfortable with water!
3. Famous Cats
Bolt and Keel are now just as famous as Grumpy Cat! Not only do they have a book, but they’ve also appeared in People magazine and on Buzzfeed, ABC News, and other outlets. Kayleen’s biggest wish though is for the cats to be on Ellen. Maybe one day! Click to see more of Bolt and Keel!
2. How to Make Your Cat an Adventure Cat
If you want to know how to make your cat into an adventure cat, Kayleen has some tips. First be sure you move at your cat’s pace. Second, be aware of possible dangers or problems. When Kayleen has Bolt and Keel out, she’s careful to pick the cats up if there’s a dog approaching or another hiker.” Finally, make sure you don’t push your cat too much — some cats just aren’t made for adventuring, and that’s okay.
1. Living Life to the Fullest
Bolt and Keel have a truly amazing life with Kayleen and Danielle. It can be hard to manage two cats at once, Kayleen says, but it’s worth it. Together, they’re exploring everything they can together. For video of their travels, you can visit their YouTube channel and see them interacting with nature.