Bici – The Cycling Cat

Bici – The Cycling Cat

Many of you know we found this tiny cat couple of weeks ago on a road in Peru. Sentenced for a short life, without mom by a busy highway. None of the locals interested, no one looking for her. It took us half an hour to think the situation through, put her in a bottle bag on handlebars and take her with us.

Tourist Bici

But the purpose of this article isn’t just about telling you about her. I was inspired by a comment under one of our facebook posts. “To be good without excuses, not just when it is convenient, that is so rare nowadays.” I’m not trying to make us into role models here. I want to tell you the truth about life with Bici. That it’s not always just like on the pictures. That there are better days and there are worse days. And sometimes even Tom with the shit on him. But at the end of it all is a small four-legged life, which would probably not be here anymore if we were thinking more about our own comfort and how to have an easy life.

We found Bici on a hot Friday afternoon on a main road to the city of Jaén. You probably wouldn’t be able to spot the tiny kitten from a car. She was only a little cautious about us. We managed to dispel that by giving her some of the dog food which we thought that as a cat she would most likely not touch. But the opposite was true. She literally jumped on it and I understood why right away when I picked her up. Under the soft velvety fur was hiding only skeleton and she wasn’t more than half a kilo.

“Okay, so what options do we have?”

“If she stays, we know how she’ll end up. Let’s take her to a vet in Jaén. He may be able to help us and if not we’ll take her with us until we find a new family for her.”

We asked a local passing by if she was not from the house where he just came from. He told us she’s from “the field” and will be run over by a car. Well, thank you, friend, for your brilliant insight, we wouldn’t have figured that one out…

“But how are we going to transport her? She can’t go in the trailer, doggies may step on her.”

So we figured out a system and put the tiny kitten in a handlebar bottle bag. With only her head sticking out, she soon fell asleep. The cycling cat looked promising so far. We stopped at the first vet in Jaén, who gave her de-worming syrup, vitamins injection and sprayed her against the fleas. The young doctor was very nice, advised us where we could find stuff for her and at the end didn’t charge us anything.

“Take it as my contribution.”

It took two hours to find suitable things for her, a tiny crate and collar, as she hasn’t even passed the size criteria for a chihuahua. We’re hoping they’d be able to help with a place to stay in Casa del Ciclistas in Jaén, because we couldn’t imagine spending right the first night with the tiny kitten in hotel, when we had absolutely no idea what to expect from her. Unfortunately we were preceded by another cyclist, Tomás from Argentina who took the only room and very kindly didn’t offer to share it with us. Cutie-pie! Luckily we found one and only “pets allowed” hotel in town on booking and unsure how it’d end up we set out. Fortunately they were very nice and understanding at the reception.

We spent the first night putting the cat down on the floor from the bed, where she finally settled next to not very happy dogs. Lolo was growling whenever she came close and kept his distance. She didn’t pee or poo at all, it was obvious how dehydrated and hungry she was. We even found a rescue organisation in Jaén, but after reading some reviews, we’ve definitely decided not to leave Bici there.

Bici behaved quite exemplary in the hotel and other than couple accidents we managed to take her out to do her business with Phoebe and Lolo. She only needed to be close to somebody all the time, which we had to explain to doggies to accept her.

We ended up staying there for three days, to get used to each other and Phoebe also got some nasty cough so she needed to recover as well. On Monday we loaded Bici into her crate, fastened it to Tom’s handlebars (I fall too often, it’s not safe with me :D) and set out.

The story of Genaia from Greece

First day was in line with a well behaved cat. She released herself exemplary after being taken out from her crate, she slept on the road all day and during the night she spent soundly in her box (it’s how we call her crate), because we can’t let her run over our inflatable mattresses. She probably wanted to appease us.

Ever since she regularly screams from the box that there’s something she doesn’t like – and same as with the babies, it’s almost impossible to find out what exactly it might be. She was smuggled in a cable car to Kuelap ruins, where animals are not allowed (other than the two llamas and about a hundred poor horses who must carry more or less overweight tourists up to the ruins, but those don’t count). We couldn’t have left her in a hotel room to scream until we return. She peed on doggies sleeping bag overnight, where she had to sleep to stay warm after we left the hot areas. She poos as she likes. No rhythm or regularity. It’s impossible to eat with her around as she always tries to get to food. She has an opinion and doesn’t hesitate to voice it. When she enters the panic mode, she loses it and is uncontrollable and uncalmable (Tom’s hands bear the reminder of this). And the best at the end. Other than bike and cable car Bici has already travelled by bus as well. And of course she had to do her No 2, because there are no rules for this as you already know. So she pooed on Tom’s winter jacket where she was sitting. We were just suddenly punched in the face by this horrible smell. Luckily we were sitting by an open window, so Tom, one by one, picked up and threw the little gifts out. What a sweet heart!

Don’t take this as us complaining. We’re really thankful we found her and could help her to a better start of life. We just want to show, what’s behind the photos over which you melt and that we’re no superheroes. And we also get pissed off sometimes and things don’t go as well as they could. You also don’t need to be superheroes. Just believe that when you help, the good will return to you. Karma, God, destiny – call it whatever you like. We got a message from Iza, Piotrek and Snupi from Podroze z Pazurem, Polish travellers with a doggie who we met in Colombia, that they have a contact in Cajamarca where we can stay instead of a hostel. Polish guy Maciek lives here with his wife Jet and for two days we’ve been here already cooking, baking and enjoying the homey feeling.

We’ve never planned to keep Bici. We know, she’s cute and with the help of ongoing training she’ll be a well behaved adventure cat. What’s more Instagram would love us, haha. But the more own animals, the less options to help others. And you can trust us, that what we see here in Peru, we’ve almost forgotten since times of Mexico and Central America. That feeling when you have to decide who needs acute help and who can manage just fine by themselves on the street and will be happy with just some food. Negative feelings towards the locals who allow this.

The story of Chiqui from Honduras

Few months ago we heard also this: “Not everyone can help. You got it as a gift from God and you’re wasting your knowledge and talent to help animals”. This person obviously didn’t understand what I’m trying to say also by this article. Anyone can help, regardless of your occupation. Not only when it is convenient or is expected from you but when you get an opportunity. It may cost you some nerves, maybe comfort, maybe money and maybe altogether including jacket peppered by cat shit. But if we were to delay our decision there and then, headed to Jaén first to think about it and returned later… I doubt the opportunity to help would have waited for us there. I doubt Bici would have got such parents as Jet and Maciek and house with a garden which she loves to explore and a feeling of home.

This is not the end of a story. This is just the beginning. Story of a kitten from the field who now has a home. Please, don’t write how great we are. This is how we feel and we act based on that. Just remember this when you get an opportunity and “not everyone can help” would like to slip out of your mouth.


Bici was found dead lying on the sofa in the morning some three months after she became loved member of the family of Jet and Maciek. Most likely she had eaten something in the garden. When we were told, we were saddened of course. On the other hand, we never felt the act of rescuing her was useless. Bici got at least 3 months of love, care and joy, instead of being run over at the highway. We’ll never forget you, little beast!

Follow Luba Lapsanska:

Older woman, 33 years old, experienced. She stopped being a doctor and started being a traveller. She likes animals more than people because they don't lie. She also likes looking at the the world through the viewfinder of her camera.

3 Responses

  1. It is wonderful to hear you are still on your journey through the Americas. I love your stories, you are on such a life changing adventure.
    Luba – please remove the words “older woman” from your bio! You are not even approaching “old”.
    Should you both ever be back in San Miguel de Allende I would welcome you to my home.
    Big hugs and safe and interesting travels.

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