Leaving your animal companions behind is often one of the most difficult aspects of traveling. One couple from New York City, however, manages to bring their three felines along on adventures around the world. Dan and Olivia Nguyen have trained their cats—Sponge Cake, Mocha, and Donut—to love the outdoors and feel comfortable in public spaces. The adventurous family documents their numerous travels in an Instagram account with over 300,000 followers.
From wandering Times Square to sitting outside the Louvre in Paris, these friendly kitties have journeyed far and wide. And while they seem perfectly comfortable in their surroundings now, it did not come naturally. Dan and Olivia adopted all three cats in the summer of 2020, in the middle of the pandemic, and got them acclimated in small increments of outdoor time. Sponge Cake and Mocha are Scottish Folds—a breed that is distinguished by their small folded ears—while Donut is a British Shorthair.
Their Instagram photos usually feature snapshots of one or more of the cats in front of their current destination dressed up with a bow or sweater. Understandably, the Nguyens keep their felines harnessed and leashed when they're out and about, ensuring that there are no escapes. And when they're done walking around, they fit safely in Dan's cat backpack. “We get a lot of laughs, a lot of smiles, and a lot of curiosity,” Dan admits. “We get a lot of people coming up to us and wanting to say hello to them, which is always fun.” And, he adds, “All the bow ties and the ribbons that you see are custom-made by my wife.”
Going on these pet-friendly trips is not without preparation though. Prior to hopping on a plane, the Nguyens have to acquire certifications from their vet which state their pets are safe to fly and have their necessary vaccinations. Fortunately, because their cats weigh under 22 pounds, Sponge Cake, Mocha, and Donut can travel under the seat and stay near their humans—even if this sometimes means the couple has to buy another seat to accommodate their third cat. All of the efforts are clearly worth it when the family of five is able to stick together in new, interesting places.
You can learn more about how Dan trained his cats to love the outdoors in his book, How to Train Your Cat for Outdoor Adventures and keep up to date with the Nguyen’s travels by following them on Instagram.
Olivia and Dan Nguyen go on travels with their three cats: Sponge Cake, Mocha, and Donut.
The couple trained their cats to be comfortable in public spaces.
Now, they’re able to take all three felines with them on their trips abroad.
Olivia and Dan Nguyen: Instagram