Unable to leave the cat alone, Dean decided to feed her, take her to the vet, and see if she was microchipped. She wasn’t and by then Dean had fallen in love with her.
He named her Nala and took her along with him on the long journey. The two have since become the best of friends.
‘I wanted to cycle the world as I felt it was a good challenge to set myself, I wanted to do something exciting,’ Dean tells Metro.co.uk.
‘It didn’t take that long, it was a split second decision that I was going to do it and after that, I worked for about seven months, saving every penny I could and getting all my equipment.’
Last September, Dean headed off. He is currently in Santorini, Greece, where he and Nala are enjoying kayaking.
Dean often travels with Nala in a little pouch at the front of the bike so he can watch her while he cycles. She either naps or sits atop her loving owner’s shoulder.
‘I found Nala when I was cycling through Bosnia,’ he tells us. ‘I was cycling up a steep hill so wasn’t going that fast and had my music system on the back of my bike playing music, there was a break in the song and I heard this meowing coming from behind me.
‘I stopped and here’s this wee kitten chasing me up the hill trying to get my attention.
‘I gave her some of my pesto which is all I had and she wouldn’t leave my side since. After the vets, I got her chipped, a passport and started with her vaccinations allowing me to keep travelling.
‘I let her do her own thing and she sometimes climbs onto my neck and sits there instead.
‘She’s actually a lot easier than most people think: she sits and sunbathes most the day and falls asleep when I’m cycling.
Dean works as part of his trip to raise funds for his travels. At the moment he is a kayak tour guide – Nala often joins him on the waters.
‘Nala is doing really well,’ he says.
‘We are living in a cave down the beach and she loves playing in the sand so she’s very happy.’
As the media partners of CatFest, coming to London on 29 June, we’re excited to share loads of stories about brilliant cats.
All cats are wonderful, of course, but if you have a story of a truly exceptional kitty, we want to hear it.
We’re talking about lifesaving cats, cats who’ve overcome challenges, kitties who’ve changed things for the better.
If you’ve got a story to share, send us an email at [email protected] with the details and pictures.
To book your tickets to CatFest, do head over to Eventbrite.
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