Burma is one of the pioneers of catexplorers on social media. He and his dog sister Puppi has shown the incredible impact animals can have on people's lives.
We asked his dad, Stephen, to tell us all about them.
Tell us the story about how your Burma came into your family.
In spring of 2013 I was sitting outside a grocery eating a sandwich when a girl came up with a carrier of kittens to give away.
I asked if I could see one and she handed me a tiny brown kitten with a white mask and paws.
I knew immediately I was keeping him.
Tell us the story behind Burma's name?
I was telling my mom and sister about him over the phone the day I got him, and that he must have Burmese in him since he’s brown.
The next day my mom called to ask how he was and said “How’s Burma?” and I knew that was the perfect name for him.
Tell us about Burma's other siblings.
Burma also has brothers, DeLuca, who loved the outdoors and passed away in 2016, and Monk and Bean (@monkandbean), who live in NY and travel well and have milder, more tame adventures of their own as they learn from Burma.
My girlfriend Nicole and I have an adventuring family of our cats and our houndmix, Puppi.
What is your Burma's favourite thing to do?
Probably go on walks. But he loves most everything.
What kind of cat adventures do you like to go on?
I love taking him on walks, but as for cat adventures, it’s more like he just goes everywhere with us through everyday life.
Sometimes my life is more common, other times it’s somewhat unorthodox in the outdoors and more extreme.
The first 2 1/2 years of Burma’s life our life was off the grid extreme.
Tell us about your most memorable adventure.
I can’t, too many stand out as special.
Why did you decide to train Burma?
I didn’t decide to train him.
That day at the store when he was 8 weeks old and I kept him and brought him into our pack, the only life I had to offer him was the one Puppi and I had in our Jeep, in parking lots, and the mountains and wilderness of Oregon.
I was committed to keeping him safe and the only thing he had to do, the only thing he could do was adapt, and he did.
In fact he excelled with us.
How did you train Burma?
It was a learning experience on the go, I definitely learned some things that made life easier and safer along the way, but that was me adapting.
What truly made Burma the cat he is is that he grew up on the go with Puppi and I, it was our lifestyle.
It was the only life he knew.
What has been the most rewarding part of having a catexplorer?
Having Burma by my side through some of the most beautiful and trying times of my life.
He was a blessing at a time I needed one the most, and he gave me not only the will to live but the desire to embrace life and be thankful, and be happy.
What has been the hardest?
Hard times can make you stronger if you approach them or learn from the right way, and our life the first few years together was a physically and emotionally difficult life, for me.
But I don’t consider anything about having Burma something that’s hard.
Aside from him making it difficult to get a motel room once in a while after he was a grown tomcat, and he’s heavy to carry up mountains or along a trail sometimes.
In hindsight, what would you do differently?
Nothing that relates to him.
Would have liked to have had the present day’s phone cameras with their image and video quality, power pack’s for battery’s, as I often had to take pics sparingly so I could get through our adventures without the battery running out.
It would have been awesome to have the present day Instagram with the videos, stories and live options. Our first summer together Instagram was square pics only.
But we made the best of it and are thankful we had it!
What advice would you give other humans training their catexplorers?
Make their safety the most important thing.
Make their comfort and enjoyment of any outdoor experience a priority.
Have realistic expectations. Cats can’t be expected to walk on a leash the way a dog does, they can follow along at their pace on a safety line though for distances at a time.
Understand that not every cat makes a good catexplorer, and that’s awesome, every cat is unique and special whether they climb mountains or sit in the windows indoors asleep most of the time.
Love your cat no matter what they do.
Know your cats strengths as a catexplorer, and if you have to make your outdoor adventures together accommodate them rather yourself.
The more your life together is an actual lifestyle, the more adventurous your cat will be. Make their comfort zone wherever you all are.
Take them riding in the vehicle as often as possible, even if you’re just running out to go to a convenient store or to rent a movie, if you can keep them safe and they handle it well.
Unless you’re certain your older, or adult cat is up for adventures outdoors, consider letting them sleep on the couch, and getting a confident kitten to make into a catexplorer.
Be wary of dogs on trails and at parks, wherever. The common pet dog might be the one danger you don’t anticipate and underestimate. Considering predators, know what predators are potentially around when out on adventures.
Get a good tracking device for their collar.
Make certain they have water and food. Make certain they feel safe. Keep them safe.
What are your favourite products for Burma?
Military grade parachute cord, known as 550 cord. For safety lines of different lengths. Really cheap, thin, lightweight, and holds up to 550 pounds. Reason it’s known as 550 cord.
The LoCATor tracking device by Com-Spec. This system is made by a company that has made tracking devices for wildlife biologists for decades. It’s old tech electronics and is high quality and reliable. Made specifically for cats, it has the tracking device, which isn’t small, but is light enough, and is used with a tracking collar with a woven in antenna. It has good range. It has a slight learning curve to use but is invaluable. It’s expensive, but worth every cent. I can’t tell the number of times I’ve used it or the peace of mind it gives.
A good soft carrier is good to have to carry them in when they’re tired and as a place to feel safe and sleep if they need.
Is there another Catexplorer that inspires you?
They all inspire us.
Cats are amazing animals, they’re at home outdoors, in trees and gardens and in the woods, and I love seeing them out enjoying and exploring remote places where cats typically aren’t, or have never been.
Catexplorers and their people are teams, and I enjoy seeing them further this movement that changes the perception of cats and is making cats recognized as being good and unique partners for outdoor activities. It’s shaping a new world for all of us.
I can really appreciate the efforts others put into their catexplorers, the love they have for them, and the changes they makes in one another’s lives. It’s all inspirational!
Burma, is humbly the pioneer of the movement, his account being the first adventure cat title and hashtag used on Instagram and social media, and that’s something we’re really happy about as we see more and more catexplorers throughout the world.
He certainly wasn’t the first cat to enjoy the outdoors in a unique way, or to live a lifestyle on the go, but as social media and the movement goes he’s the pioneer of catexplorers. So we have an appreciation for every catexplorer family there is!