Canoe cat Tilly has her paw on the tiller

·2 min read
Tilly the cat
Tilly is now three years old and has been enjoying canoe rides since she was about five months old

A pet cat has been bringing joy to boaters after taking a liking to trips on the water on its owner's canoe.

Tilly, a fluffy calico, has been accompanying owner Holly Hancock, a keen sailor and law lecturer at the University of East Anglia (UEA), since she was a kitten.

The three-year-old moggy is seen regularly on the Norfolk Broads at Horning, looking out at the scenery.

"It's not every day you see a cat in a boat, but she loves it and seeing her seems to brighten up everyone's day," Ms Hancock said.

Tilly is part-Norwegian forest cat and although she is mainly an indoor pet, she started following her owner down the garden when she was about five months old "and wanted to get in the canoe".

"She's very adventurous and into everything, so I take her on the canoe and she just loves being out on the water," said Ms Hancock.

"I do put a harness on her, and take her little carrier - which is like a bed - so she can go in there if she wants but she is so intrigued by all the wildlife she usually just sits and watches.

"Seeing her brightens up everyone's day.

"People are so surprised to see a cat on a boat, whereas you see lots of dogs out on the water - I sometimes think Tilly thinks she is a dog."

Tilly the cat
As a kitten, Tilly would follow her owner to the canoe at the bottom of the garden

A spokeswoman for the Broads Authority, which manages the waterways, said while they had no bylaws preventing animals from being aboard a vessel, they would "recommend that all pets wear life jackets (with handles) when on board a boat to prevent them getting into difficulty and make it easier to get them out of the water should they fall in".

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