SOOKE -- When they first saw him, he was the only cat in the litter who hadn’t been adopted.

“He was the cutest thing of course!” Pascale laughs, before showing me a picture of the ginger kitten staring up at her. “He was really tiny.”

But the way the kitten made eye contact with Pascale and her partner Jaimeson felt really big. 

“He came right up to us immediately,” Jaimeson says, adding that the cat seemed to choose them. 

They adopted him and named him Charlie. Although he was happy to sleep in the confines of a tea-bag box, when the kitten woke up, he couldn’t have been more curious about the vastness of the Sooke woods that surrounded his new home. 

“Living in the forest there’s a few too many predators,” Jaimeson says. “So we can’t let him roam around on his own.”

So to keep Charlie safe, yet satisfied, Pascale equipped him with a harness and a leash (which he took to immediately, exploring the yard but not too far) and Jaimeson built him a “catio” (which he helped with happily, playing with the construction materials).

“He jumps around [in the catio],” Pascale smiles. “It’s almost like a parkour.”

When he’s not leaping around his enclosure, Charlie will sit and contemplate the great outdoors before asking to explore it. 

“It’s a few meows.” Jaimeson smiles. “He’s not a loud cat, but he let’s us know when it’s time to go out."

They began taking short walks in the forest, with Charlie at the end of the leash. 

“He always has to be the boss,” Jaimeson smiles. “He definitely leads.”

After that worked well, they embarked on backpacking hikes (with Charlie poking his head out of the pack) and full-on camping trips together (with Charlie in the tent). 

“He sleeps with us all night,” Pascale says. “He’s a very chill cat.”

So chill, he posed for photos during all their outdoor adventures, which his parents started sharing on the “island.charlie” Instagram page. 

So chill, the cat had no problem getting his picture taken wearing a festive sweater with them too, wishing followers a ‘Meowy Christmas’ in — not one, but five — funky, festive feline portraits.

But I digress. But then so does Charlie – often. 

“A lot of the time Charlie decides to go bushwhacking and I end up indulging him and following him,” Pascale smiles. “I end up finding these beautiful little spots.”

Comforting places where the towering trees and blankets of moss seem to embrace you.

Breathtaking places where the air is crisp and the views unhindered. Awe-inspiring places where the setting sun paints pinks and purples across a canvas of blue sky and still water. 

And in those moments, instead of worrying about everything that’s going wrong with the world, you find yourself appreciating all that’s perfectly right being part of it. 

“If it wasn’t for Charlie I would have just walked by them,” Pascale smiles. “It’s like stop and smell the roses.”

Which you’ll find you do, when you start being curious and courageous like an adventure cat.