Sun, Jun 9, 2024 7:00 AM

Cat on board, dog in tow


Elise Vollweiler

“This is such a dog-friendly town. I’m trying to make it a cat-friendly town.”

Avalanche is a familiar feline face to many, not only because of his striking white coat but because of his prominent perch on the prow of owner Andre’s bike.

Avy, as he is affectionately called, cruises the streets with Andre, while their canine buddy Maximus runs alongside.

Andre Quartly has lived in Motueka for 14 years, and almost every day he bikes into Motueka from Riwaka’s Lodder Lane.

If he pulls out the white bike, with the saddle bag strapped to the handlebars, it means that Avy is coming for a ride.

Max’s favourite is the black bike, reckons Andre, because that means that he and his master are going for a cat-free jaunt and that Max might not have to share all of the attention.

And no, the colour coordination of bikes and beasts was not intentional.

The pair have played a big part in levelling out some of Andre’s mental health troughs, through their companionship and the gentle press of responsibility.

“They’ve helped me come back into the community and that,” he shares. “Well, you have to. You’ve got to.”

Andre, a former steel erector, rigger and scaffolder, speaks gratefully of local business owner Sue Shuttleworth and BP staff member Tracey Stout, who take the time to make a fuss over Max, as well as the SPCA Op Shop.

“They always allow Max to come in and have a treat.”

Andre got Avy as a kitten about 18 months ago – “a Christmas cat,” he reckons.

Max is about 11 years old and belongs to Andre’s best friend, but boards with Andre in exchange for a steady supply of home-kill meat for the household.

“He sleeps at the foot of the bed,” Andre says, smiling fondly at Max. And then, with a grin towards Avy, “he takes over the bed.”

Nelson App is owned by Top South Media. a locally owned media company.