Never mind nine lives. These three Manhattan cats are enjoying the high life.
Cat SpongeBob – a Scottish – and British Shorthair Mocha and Donut have traveled to France and Italy with their owner Dan Nguyen and his wife, Olivia.
But they are not just staying in hotel rooms, or even in carriers. The trio – all 2-year-old males – have posed in front of the Duomo in Milan, seen the Eiffel Tower and even cruised the canals of Venice in a gondola.
And while the idea of taking most cats anywhere might sound crazy, if not impossible, Dan, a corporate lawyer, insisted he couldn’t leave them at home.
“We had some trips planned and wanted to take them with us. It was hard not being with the cats because we consider them our family,” he told The Post. “We know it’s a little unconventional to travel the world with one cat, let alone three, but we love them and they love us, so we don’t think it’s that crazy.”
To get these housecats ready for the outdoors, Dan and Olivia ventured near their Midtown home: Central Park, where cats graduated from pet carriers to leashes.
“They seemed to enjoy being outside and exploring,” said Dan, who could tell they were happy when they went from snuggling by his feet to sniffing the air, lounging by the lake and playing in the grass.
The first out-of-town vacation for the cats — who have amassed nearly 300,000 Instagram followers and 177,000 TikTok followers — was at a Disney World resort in Orlando, Fla. (although they didn’t go to the park).
“They were nervous at first, so they stayed in their backpacks,” Dan recalls. “But we started walking them around the resort grounds on their leashes and they got used to it pretty quickly.”
This was quickly followed by trips to San Francisco and Sacramento, California. As for getting there, “It was pretty easy,” he explained. “They mostly just sleep on the plane. They are all so relaxed and calm. Sometimes, the other passengers on the plane don’t even realize we have three cats with us.”
They hit the ground running in Paris: “We put them down on the cobblestone streets and they took off, exploring every shop window until they decided to stop at a pastry shop,” Dan said. “Everyone passing by stopped to see these little cats discovering the shops of Paris.”
Afterwards, he added, “We took them to Venice and they loved it. They smell everything and ‘pounce’ on the canal walls.
“We’ve let them hit the ground running, but most of the time they prefer a free ride on my shoulders,” added Dan.
And when they’re not out in the world, at least one of the cats is missing.
“We haven’t taken them outside for a week because of the extreme heat and the sponge cake has been super sticky because it’s not getting the attention it usually gets when it goes outside,” Dan said. “I always see him looking out through the windows at all the people on the street.”
Moka is “super sweet. He will let other people kiss him on the head and is generally just super relaxed with people or other animals,” Dan said. Donut is the most social of the three: “He practically begs to go out often now. He lets us know by scratching the front door and meowing.”
The cats needed nothing more than a few vaccinations for their initial journeys. However, for the family’s upcoming trip to Switzerland this autumn, the trio will be taking their own European Union “pet passports” as they travel between the countries.
“On social media, it looks like we travel all the time, but really it’s only twice a year,” Dan said with a laugh. “We have enough content to post on social media all the time because we’re always taking pictures of them when we’re on a trip.”
And their constant content has turned their globetrotting cats into social media celebrities. “People stop us all the time in New York to say hello and pet the kittens. People definitely recognize them,” added Dan, who takes them for walks in Hell’s Kitchen, Korea Town and Times Square.
They also make it a point to hit Mocha favorite Fifth Avenue as often as possible. “Mocha loves Fifth Avenue. It’s something about all the glitter and lights that make it curious,” Dan said.
Even Drew Barrymore, who recently reposted a photo of the adventurous trio on her Instagram stories, is a fan. The couple’s kittens have become so popular and beloved that Dan is self-publishing a book, “Adventure Cats: How to Train Your Cats for Outdoor Adventures,” which hits online retailers next week.
“In the future, we plan to take in more cats. Maybe in a year or two, because it’s too hard to travel with three already, but we want more.”
Leave a Reply