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Here’s this year’s top image in Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine’s annual Adventure Critter Pet Photo Contest.

We Have a Winner

Every year our animal-loving readers enter Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine’s annual Adventure Critter Pet Photo Contest, sponsored by Dominion RiverRock. Our inbox is flooded with inspiring images of pets—furry, feathered, spiked, and scaley—who love to go outside and play. After receiving hundreds of submissions and thousands of votes for the 10 finalists, we’re excited to showcase this year’s winner.

First place goes to photographer Luke Gover, who submitted the top image of his 10-month-old kitty, Cheez-It P. Gover, seen in the picture enjoying scenery of the Shenandoah Valley in Luray, Va.

Cheez-It is a Polydactyl, meaning he has extra toes (23 to be exact) to put to work while hiking the trails or climbing trees. Luke Gover says adopting him was one of the best things he’s ever done.

“He brings a sense of calmness and an abundance of love wherever he goes,” Gover says of his adventure buddy. “I think that he is the epitome of ‘what is meant for you won’t pass you by’ as we were unsure if we’d be able to adopt him, but now he fits perfectly into our lives.”

The “P” in Cheez-It P. Gover’s name is in honor of Luke and his fianceé’s older cat Patches, who passed away shortly after the couple adopted Cheez-It. Once home, the couple decided to introduce him to a harness and leash while he was still at a young age, taking him out into their backyard to explore. Thanks to the early introduction and tips from the book “Adventure Cats,” Cheez-It has grown to be quite the adventurer, with his favorite places being their back deck to bird watch and Eden Mill Nature Center in Maryland where he can walk on numerous trails.

All photos of Cheez-It P. Gover by Photographer Luke Gover.

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