Nina is an inspiring catexplorer whose positivity reminds us to make the most of life no matter what is thrown at us.
Nina loves to go for walks to forests or parks and to the local market where she likes to smell all the stalls and get chin scratchers from passersby.
She also loves to listen to the birds in a nice sun spot by the window or cuddle up in my lap.
What is Nina's favourite food?
Nina will eat almost anything, she loves food!
How about her favourite toy?
Her favourite toy is actually her big brother Cow's tail.
He likes to flick it around near her and she'll try and catch it. It's very sweet.
Tell us about Nina.
Nina was born blind and had to have her eyes removed due to glaucoma and infection. I had many people and vets tell me to put her to sleep because they thought her life wouldn't be a good one.
Special needs cats can have very happy, healthy lives if we just put in a little bit of effort to see what makes them happy.
I find Nina incredibly inspiring because she was dealt an incredibly rough hand but she makes the absolute most out of the life she has and she does it with this adorable little smile on her face.
Special needs cats can be catexplorers too and we should give them the chance to be!
What kind of adventures does Nina like to go on?
At the moment, Nina loves this little park up the road from our house where there is a creek and lots of trees for her to climb.
She gets so excited when she realises where we are and starts to pounce around all over the place. It's sometimes a bit hard to convince her it's time to go home.
We also love to go out to cafes for brunch. Nina likes to sit under the table and try to catch flies or fall asleep on my feet.
Tell us about your most memorable adventure.
Probably the very first time I took Nina out to the markets.
It was her first time out in public and she was just 4 weeks old. I held her the whole time, expecting her to get a little freaked out because she can't see and there is a lot of noise and smells there but she never did.
She was just so very calm, she purred whenever someone petted her and eventually fell asleep in my arms.
From then, I started taking her out more and she just constantly amazed me with how relaxed and happy she was with every new situation I put her in.
Why did you decide to train Nina?
I trained my older cat, Cow, to go outside on a harness when he was about 4 weeks old too and it really enriched his life so much.
When I realised Nina was blind I wanted to make sure her life was as enriched as possible and I thought she might like the interesting smells and bird noises outside so I started her off with indoor harness training until she was quite confident in the harness and then we started to take it outside.
Her little face the first time she heard the birds up close was priceless!
How did you train Nina?
We started with just the harness without a lead inside. First for 5 minutes and then up to 20 minutes over the next week.
Once she was happily moving around in that, we started to go outside first for about 5 minutes and then more as she got more comfortable with it.
Nina was a natural, she actually never really noticed the harness so her training was a bit quicker than I expected.
Once she was big enough, I then started training her to sit on my shoulder.
We have two positions she's been trained in so that we can both be comfortable and so that she's safe when we're walking through busy areas with children and dogs on the floor.
What has been the most rewarding part of having a catexplorer?
It's been so wonderful to see how happy it makes her to get outside.
She really does just love going for adventures and she likes meeting new people, especially children.
Knowing that she's getting to live such an interesting, full life makes me happy every day.
What has been the hardest?
I've certainly ended up with a few accidental scratches from shoulder training when she's fallen asleep and started to roll off or if she's been surprised by a sudden noise and grips on a bit tighter than I'd like.
But as we practice more, that's getting less and less.
In hindsight, what would you do differently?
One thing I had to change quite quickly was her name tag. I'd gotten her this beautiful disc with her name and my number on it but I didn't realise how many people would want to take photos with her and there was my phone number just there for all to see. So I ordered a new tag with the numbers on the back!
What advice would you give other humans training their catexplorers?
Be patient, it takes time so let them adapt slowly and if your cat isn't happy in the harness or doesn't want to go outside, don't force it.
Some cats just aren't interested or get stressed out by it and that's totally ok. They can be happy and adventurous indoors!
Is there another Catexplorer that inspires you?
Follow Nina on Instagram (@ninatheblindcat)