January 1, 2015

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Interview by PussWeek Magazine

For years us cats have been trying to get closer to birds. We can never seem to catch them, but why? Because we can’t fly, damn it. But one cat has gotten closer than many of us, flying all the way from Japan to Australia. No, he doesn’t have delicious feathery wings, he is Gershwin and he is a travel cat.

From sniffing cherry blossoms to licking vegemite, Gershwin now spends his time traveling around Australia’s East Coast, sleeping in hotels and gathering info for his very own Pet-Friendly Accommodation guidebook.

Pussweek’s Fred Little gets up close and purr-sonal with the captivating Gershwin-San himself and finds out just what it takes to be a brave, adventurous, world traveling feline.

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What makes you a ‘travel cat’?
I have a keen interest in world history, anthropology and marine biology – particularly fish.

How many languages can you meow in?
I’m multi-meowal in 10 languages including Japanese where meow is nyan.

Have you ever been in any dangerous or sticky situations when traveling?
I’ve been stuck up more trees than I care to admit, in more countries than I care to disclose. Once in Japan I got stuck on a tennis court (when I should have been spectating) – I couldn’t resist the green netting.

What was quarantine like? Were you scared?
The food tasted different. I had to get the human to bring something I was more used to. Also, it was strange sleeping in a place where there were 80 other cats – no privacy. But I was opposite some Japanese racehorses. They were good company.

Is Japanese fish better than Australian fish? Do you like sushi?
Japanese fish because they’re easier to understand (and catch). I am also partial to niboshi, small dried fish – a popular Japanese snack, and of course sushi, but ebi is my ichiban suki.

When and where will you travel on your next trip?
I’m going to a cat-friendly cabin in the Blue Mountains to do some bird spotting. The drive isn’t too long and there are some great places that welcome pussycats and aristocats. My favourite accommodation has a Japanese maple tree, good to climb and reminds me of home.

Do you think you will ever settle down?
My motto has always been ‘where ever I lay my cat mat, that’s my home.’ But since I’m going a bit grey around the whiskers, and some say long in the tooth, there’ll be less international trips but definitely more Aussie ones.

A lot of cats get lost venturing more than 400m from their houses. How do you not lose your way?
I’m micro-chipped and wear a harness for my own safety – handy if you like to roam. The humans used to try the old butter on paws trick with some of my housemates and they’ve never got lost.

How many passports do you have? Is it tricky to get a passport?
I have 3 passports: a Japanese one, a EU one and an Aussie one. Fortunately, passports are easier to get for us felines than humans. There aren’t any tricky language tests or work references (as if) – just a couple of jabs and you’re done!

What advice would you give to cats who want to travel?
Keep calm and purr on!
My top travel trips include always packing your litter box, some sick bags and some pheromone spray. If you’re anything like me – classical music might help to ease the stress of car journeys. One more thing, try not to vomit on the upholstery – humans hate that – aim for their lap instead!

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