Kayaking with Cats: Discovering Adventure and Trust

Richard Auchus, a self-proclaimed dog person, found his feline counterpart in an unlikely place: Craigslist. As a busy college student unable to own a dog, he stumbled upon an adventurous orange tabby cat. This cat, named Maya after the renowned architect Maya Lin, would soon become an intrepid water-lover, defying expectations and capturing the hearts of many.

From Timid to Fearless

Maya’s journey began with uncertainty. When Auchus first brought her home, she was skittish, timid, and plagued with fleas. The vet revealed the severity of her condition, stating that she may not have survived another month without Auchus’ intervention. Nonetheless, Auchus remained undeterred, determined to give Maya a chance at a better life.

Maya the cat in a kayak banked on the shore of Table Rock Lake in Missouri.

A Bond is Formed

As a design student, Auchus contemplated the perfect name for his feline companion. Drawing inspiration from Maya Lin’s remarkable architectural achievements, he settled on “Maya.” Little did Auchus know that this name would be a fitting representation of Maya’s transformation. With each kayaking adventure, Maya’s personality blossomed, her skittishness replaced by sociability and trust in her owner.

Maya’s earliest explorations took place in a small, sit-in kayak, offering her a safe haven where she could retreat until she felt comfortable. These early experiences provided the foundation for their remarkable bond, and soon enough, Auchus found himself sharing Maya’s unique adventures with the world.

Maya the cat wears a red life vest, peeping her head up to see out on the water with her dad, Richard Auchus.

Captivating Hearts and Inspiring Gifts

Maya’s escapades didn’t go unnoticed. When Auchus proudly shared photos of their first day kayaking, a senior supervisor from his college was astounded and sent him a thoughtful gift. A package arrived days later, containing a tiny red life vest, perfectly matching Auchus’ own. Maya’s charm had not only captivated Auchus but also enchanted those who witnessed their enchanting water-bound excursions.

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A Leap of Faith

Maya’s fearlessness continued to astound Auchus. One day, as they embarked on their kayaking adventures with a longer, sea-worthy vessel, they encountered a group of friendly canoeists. Before Auchus could react, Maya leaped onto their canoe, seemingly eager to explore new friendships and territories.

This woman caught Maya after she jumped from the front of Auchus’ kayak at Ada Hayden Lake in Iowa.

Evolution and Adaptation

After graduating college, Auchus opted for an inflatable kayak, allowing for more flexibility in their adventures. Unfortunately, Maya’s claws and inflatable surfaces proved to be incompatible. While kayaking may be off the agenda for now, Maya’s spirit of adventure remains unquenched. Together, they have embraced camping trips and are planning bike rides. Auchus even ponders the possibility of space travel, although Maya is not particularly fond of her intergalactic-style carrier.

Maya the cat sits in her dad’s lap in a hammock on a camping trip to Cherry Glenn Campground in Iowa.

A Rocky Mountain Treat

Auchus’s future endeavors will take him to Denver, where he will embark on a new adventure as an intern for a local jewelry designer. But for now, Maya will remain in Iowa, unaware of the exciting Rocky Mountain experiences that await her. Their bond, built on trust and shared exploration, will undoubtedly continue to inspire others to embrace adventure and find companionship in unexpected places.

To know more about their extraordinary experiences and to be inspired by their shared adventures, visit UpStreamPaddle.