Aaricia and Munro take hiking adventures in the beautiful Scottish Highlands (Image: Aaricia Wiesen)

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A woman from Glasgow who bought a cat to cope with loneliness during lockdown now takes her on adventures around the countryside.

Graphic designer Aaricia Wiesen bought her cat Munro during the first coronavirus lockdown when she was just a 12 week old kitten.

“I’d had a cat when I was little and I always wanted another one,” Aaricia, 24, told The Mirror.

When the coronavirus pandemic swept the UK and plunged the nation into a strict lockdown, Aaricia, who had moved to Glasgow from Belgium a year earlier, didn’t want to spend her time alone.

She remembered her strong bond with a family cat called Trognon, who her parents adopted when Aaricia was 10 years old.

Aaricia and Munro have been inseparable since Aaricia bought her as a 12 week kitten
(Image: Aaricia Wiesen)

“My parents didn’t want pets but Trognon was born at the front of the house. My neighbour’s cat was his mum and she had eight in the litter, but only seven survived,” she explained.

“We were really close. He’d spend his days outside but he’d come in for the evening and always used to sleep with me.”

After forming a close bond with Trognon, Aaricia vowed she’d get another cat when she lived on her own – and when the pandemic hit, it felt like the perfect time.

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During her first year living in Scotland she wasn’t allowed pets in her home, but her new landlord was more relaxed about four-legged friends.

When Aaricia first bought the adorable black-and-white kitten home, the pair became incredibly close very quickly.

But, living near Glasgow city centre, Aaricia was anxious to let Munro out of the house to roam.

Aaricia got Munro used to the lead and the harness inside the house before taking her out and about
(Image: Aaricia Wiesen)

“It wasn’t safe enough to let her out. I didn’t want to risk her getting caught up in the traffic,” Aaricia said.

However, Aaricia had a great idea for a compromise and bought a harness and a lead for Munro – with the aim of taking her out for adventures.

“I started off really small. I just got her used to the harness around the house. Then I started using the leash and eventually I started putting her in my backpack.”

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As Munro got older, Aaricia slowly started taking her outside on the lead and popping her in her backpack. Every time they went out, they ventured a little further.

Munro got a taste for hiking and before long the pair had escaped the city to walk and climb in the beautiful Scottish countryside.

Last summer, when Munro was just a few months old, Aaricia took Munro to climb the 974m peak of Ben Lomond in the Scottish Highlands.

Munro has got a taste for adventuring since Aaricia first started taking her out
(Image: Aaricia Wiesen)

Aaricia said: “I had her in the backpack for most of the way but put her on the lead when we came back down.

“When I put Munro in the backpack, she knows it’s down time. But sometimes she’ll walk onto my shoulder to see what’s going on, and she’s still close to me.”

A few weeks ago, Aaricia took her feline friend to Loch Lomond for a longer stroll – with the aim of increasing the distance every time they venture out.

“You have to do it gradually,” she explained.

The next step is to take Munro on a proper trip away to get Munro used to staying overnight in different places – with a dream of travelling all around the world with her.

Aaricia would like to take Munro back to Belgium to meet her family when travel restrictions ease
(Image: Aaricia Wiesen)

“I’d love to take her back to Belgium one day so my family can see her, but the pandemic makes that hard,” Aaricia said.

For now, the pair are continuing to turn heads in Scotland, with people stopping Aaricia to say hello and ask questions about Munro.

“You always see people turning their heads and whispering: ‘Did you see that cat’?” she laughed.

“Most people are really friendly and want to know about her.”

Aaricia runs an Instagram account, @munro.and.me, which documents her wanderings with her beloved cat.

Since starting the account, she says she’s been flooded with questions asking for advice on how to get their cats to walk around on a lead.

She said: “The most important thing to remember is not to rush into it. You need to take it slowly.

“And always carry cat treats with you!”