A cat who made its social media debut after it was captured enjoying the sights of Mount Maunganui in a backpack has raised questions over the ethics of cat-carrying.
Local woman Catherine Campbell posted a snap of a woman carrying her cat in a clear backpack while walking up the Mount. The picture, posted on Monday to the Facebook group Mount Maunganui Notice Board 20+, has generated attention from locals.
While most have found the cat-pack hilarious, and can't wait to have a new hiking partner, others have questioned the cat's well-being.
"I can't imagine any cat enjoying this," said one user.
"Would it be good for a cat in summer, might get a bit hot?" another asked.
Lynne O'Malley from Cats & Canines Behaviour Solutions says pet parents should "think twice" before partaking in any cat-carrying antics.
"It could be quite stressful for them," O'Malley told Newshub. "Cats can become stressed by environmental change."
In the photos, the cat appears to be relaxed and fairly content - which O'Malley says is likely to be learned behaviour.
"It depends on the cat and the circumstances," she said. "Some kittens who have been taken outside since they were little might become acclimatised to it."
The backpack the woman used is available on Amazon in the yellow colourway for NZ$52. The product claims to be "airline approved" and designed for travel, hiking and general outdoor use with nine ventilation holes and pet-safe materials.
O'Malley questioned the security and quality of cat-packs, saying owners should think about the potential risks of their cat escaping, falling, or being let out.
O'Malley extends a warning to anyone thinking of whisking their cat away on outdoorsy adventures.
"I personally wouldn't carry my cat in a bag," she said.
"Even taking cats in a carrier to the vet can be quite traumatic for them."