Rudi Saldia has become the most famous bike courier in Philadelphia, thanks to his 1-year-old tabby cat, MJ, who accompanies him on deliveries.
MJ, short for Mary Jane, perches on Saldia’s shoulder as he delivers parcels, and the pair has been turning heads on city streets since they began their rides last year.
The cat had always loved nestling on Saldia’s shoulders, so he decided to train her to accompany him to work.
“The first day we managed one block. The next day we managed two blocks and now we can do around 25 miles with her on my shoulder,” he told the Daily Mail.
Using a GoPro camera mounted on his bike, the 26-year-old courier began shooting footage of MJ’s urban adventures to prove to his mom that his cat could ride a bicycle.
Saldia posted his first video to YouTube in October, where it’s since amassed more than a million views and even attracted the attention of GoPro. The sports-camera company reached out to Saldia and asked for permission to his MJ footage in a commercial.
MJ seems to enjoy her rides as she moves from shoulder to shoulder and nuzzles her owner. For the most part, the traffic doesn’t bother her; however, she is sometimes spooked by sirens and buses.
"She enjoys seeing everything and having the wind blow in her ears, especially being an indoors cat,” Saldia told The Associated Press. “This is really her only time outside. On the shoulder, she loves it. She's in total zen mode."
But not everyone thinks a kitty courier is a good idea. Online commenters have questioned whether the unharnessed feline is safe zipping through traffic atop Saldia’s shoulder.
“People are worried about the cat, the safety of the cat riding in the street, and so am I. But I’m also worried about my safety so we’re always safe out there,” he says. "I'm very confident that the cat would be better off in an accident than I would be, so I'm not worried about taking her out."
Check out some of MJ’s urban bike rides in the video below.
More cat stories on MNN:
- 10 quirky commercials starring cats
- Commuting critters: Animals that ride public transportation
- 'CatCam' gives viewers a look at life from a cat's perspective