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Oban’s Salty the sea cat has become a social media sensation with around 50,000 followers.
The fluffy feline who has his own Instagram and Twitter accounts has lived with his owners on a boat berthed in waters around Argyll since he was a kitten.
As well as owners Andy and Berni Lockwood, the five-year-old Turkish Van Cat also shares his life on board the yacht Camargue with Springer Spaniel Pippa.
The seafaring family of four shift berths around Oban, Linnhe, Dunstaffnage, Craobh or Melfort during the winter, venturing further afield in summer for weeks at a time to explore the Hebrides.
Eight years ago the Lockwoods sold their home and business in Devon to quit the rat race and bought their boat.
Berni, who works remotely in health care management, grew up in Drumchapel and had always wanted to return to Scotland, so Argyll was the obvious choice for her and professional skipper Andy.
Salty makes himself at home on the water – he has never been seasick and has never fallen in. He likes paddling in lochs.
Despite spending most of his time on board the vessel, trips to shore result in some pretty spectacular photographs of Salty.
‘That’s why we started up his own social media two years ago because everyone was fed up of seeing photos of him all over my Facebook page!’said Berni.
Salty, who has been harness trained since he was a kitten weighs about 20lbs.
‘I think at first glance people think he’s a dog. They often do a double take when they realise he’s a cat. He does enjoy playing fetch and can be quite dog-like.
‘We have a special backpack as he’s very curious and we wouldn’t get far with him on the harness all the time. Just like popping a toddler in a buggy, it means we can trek for a bit and then let him out for a wander and a biscuit. We’ve even got a little portable litter bag in case he needs the loo. Most of the islands we visit aren’t very big, so we can have a good mooch around in a couple of hours,’ said Berni.
Salty also has expensive taste when it comes to food, his favourite meal is langoustines.
Berni said: ‘We do fish for him. We sometimes get fishermen offering him some of their catch and that’s great, because he has expensive tastes.’
Berni puts Salty’s popularity down to cat fans around the world, boosted by the Scottish backdrops in his photographs.
‘It’s cat appreciation, but because he’s Scottish and he goes wandering around the forests and hills of Argyll and the islands we get lots of fans of Scotland following him too,’ she added.