AN ANIMAL lover has found an unlikely four-legged companion as he cycles around the world.

Dean Nicholson, 31, left his home in Dunbar in September with a dream to pedal his way from country to country across the globe.

However, while in Bosnia he made a furry friend Nala, the cat, who is now by his side on the journey, which has seen him cover nearly 4,000 miles.

He said: “I came across Nala as I was about to leave Bosnia. I was coming up for the border, crossing into Montenegro and I was cycling up quite a steep hill.

“I had my sound system on and, in the break of a song, I heard loud meowing coming from behind me and here was this scruffy-looking kitten chasing me up the hill.

“I sat down with her, gave her some pesto for lunch, and she has not left my side since! This all happened about 10 miles from any town so I felt she had been abandoned.

“I got her into Montenegro and straight to a vet to see if she was microchipped and she wasn’t, so I decided to keep her and take her with me.

“I’ve became quite attached to Nala – it’s hard not to when you spend 24/7 with each other, and she also has best personality, so it’s hard not to fall in love with her!

“I don’t know how I managed to cycle on my own beforehand for so long. She’s like the perfect sidekick.”

Dean – whose parents Avril and Neil live in Dunbar – has already passed through Scotland, England, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Switzerland, Italy, Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro and Albania. He set up a gofundme page to cover vet bills after previously coming across a puppy.

Speaking to the Courier from Greece, he said: “The gofundme page basically started to pay the vet bills for a puppy I found and also for stuff Nala needs in the future.

“The pup (Balou) is actually still in Albania staying at the vets as his condition was so poor but he is a changed dog now and has been adopted by someone in London!

“I didn’t realise vet bills were so expensive!”

An initial online appeal saw Dean looking to raise £1,000 but the story of the cyclist and the cute five-month-old kitten has gone viral and attracted global attention.

Now, more than £5,000 has been raised and the former Dunbar Grammar School pupil said: “It is very kind that people have chipped in the money to help with the vet bills.

“It’s incredible the support I’ve had from everyone, including people I’ve never met, and I’m truly grateful for it.”

Dean said he had “a rough idea” where he was going but he preferred not to plan too much.

He said: “Usually, I just wake up and see how I feel before choosing on the map where to go.

“Plus, sometimes, you can find a really nice camping spot so end up spending a few more nights so it’s best not to do any planning.

“As for funding it, I have a wee bit money but I don’t actually spend that much.

“I save money by camping but get the odd hostel when I feel I’m in need of a shower.

“I’ve also met a lot of amazing people through couch-surfing where they can put you up for a night or two.

“A lot of people stop me and give me food as well: I get a lot of fruits, bread and a few times I’ve gone into a restaurant and people have bought me a meal.”

Dean plans to stay in Greece during the summer before again pedalling further east.

He said: “We are working in Greece over summer which isn’t even for the money as I’ve landed a dream job for me being a sea kayak guide, which was too good to pass on.

“Then after that, ferry to Turkey to continue the adventure.

“As I said, I don’t really plan but the rough idea is Turkey, Georgia, Kazakhstan down into India, head towards and tour some of south-east Asia and just see what happens.

“Life can change tomorrow so live for today so to speak.”

However one thing is for sure, Nala will be by his side and heading home to East Lothian at the end of the journey.

He added: “Nala is definitely coming home with me to Dunbar at the end.

“I’ve been trying to make sure I get all the necessary documents and injections so I don’t have any problems further down the line and if we do come across any problems then Operation Smuggle Cat across borders commences!”

To support Dean and Nala, go to