Caturday felid: Mountain climbing cat, and cat licks kitten off table

May 31, 2014 • 5:13 am

I’m not at all sure this is safe, but I’m posting it because it’s cute.  Via Bored Panda, meet Craig Armstrong and his climbing partner Millie, a rescue cat, in a pictoral called “My adopted cat is the best climbing partner ever.

Most pet cats will become timid or defensive when outdoors, but not Millie – after being adopted by her mountain-climbing owner Craig Armstrong, Millie has become a feline hiking and mountain-climbing legend. “She literally loves to climb things… if there’s high-ground she’ll seek it out,” Armstrong said in an interview with Bored Panda. He had nothing but praise for the tenacious little athlete: “Generally she does best on slabby routes where she can scramble from ledge to ledge. She’s an incredible athlete but steep juggy routes just aren’t her thing. When bouldering, though, she’s done some pretty amazing gaps and dynos.

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Millie’s gear consists of a harness, a leash and some rope

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I go on a lot of weekend climbing adventures. It never seemed odd to me, just seemed like something I’d do with my pet, take her places,” explained Armstrong. Ever since Millie climbed up onto his shoulder at the Furburbia adoption center in Utah, Armstrong knew they’d make a good team.

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There are, of course, pros and cons to taking your cat hiking – “We camp in my truck; She peed in there one night, but she caught a mouse in there one night, too.” Armstrong hopes that they can become a team in other aspects of his life as well; “I’m still waiting for the day we come across a group of pretty ladies and they love Millie and invite us to their campfire that night.

Free climbing! Screen shot 2014-05-31 at 6.15.41 AM

He also had plenty of advice for owners who might consider hiking with their own cats. “Get them used to their name and to you as a safe place. In talus fields or thick woods she’ll get distracted and climb trees or explore tiny caves and under boulders and stop following sometimes. It’s taken a lot of practice and many trips to get Millie to the point where she follows me down a trail past areas like thickets that would have distracted her otherwise.

I don’t believe the cat made it up there on her own! Screen shot 2014-05-31 at 6.15.19 AM

There are many other pictures of Millie (and a climbing cat friend) at the site.


 Your lagniappe is yet another Russian cat video. As I’ve said repeatedly, some of the best cat videos around are coming out of PutinLand. Here’s one in which an overly eager cat licks a kitten right off the table. The cat’s expression after the kitten falls off is priceless. (The kitten wasn’t hurt.)

BTW, the label of the video was this “Котенок Упал Со стола (Смешно)”. Translation, pls. The licking cat appears to be a member of a rare breed, the lovely Snowshoe cat, so called because of its white mittens.

h/t: Su, Stephen

13 thoughts on “Caturday felid: Mountain climbing cat, and cat licks kitten off table

  1. Google translate tells me the title is Kitten fell off the table (Funny).

    I find Cyrillic not that hard – to me it’s like Greek with some extras and some strangeness with the “s” but Greek does weird “s” stuff too. I wish had taken Russian in school like I had planned.

    1. I’m finding it interesting that, so late in life, this latest project I’ve been immersed in has been beating Russian (and to a lesser extent, Ukrainian) into my head. I’m still a million miles from any kind of competence, but am finding that having to design a multi-language database (English-Greek-Russian-Ukrainian) with translations provided by native speakers… it sure is a crash course in some ways.

      You may have come across the free “IMTranslator” application – I think based on Google translate (which has huge problems, I’m sure you’ve noticed). Anyway, the way it can “back-translate” for a double-check is a really big help. No Opera extension, but does work with Chrome & Firefox. Greek translations tend to suck badly (ditto Turkish), but Russian/Ukrainian seem to work much better.

      1. Thanks! I will have to check that out. I try to read more German and it is convenient to learn new vocabulary with a good translator. I then put it in Evernote and I can set up the vocabulary a certain way to work with Evernote Peek to quiz myself.

  2. The climbing cat is a bit on the sane side of Crazy – the other sane side, after you go on a long traverse through Crazy, away from where most people live. But since the cat’s hoomin staff started off well out into the land of Crazy, then maybe this was just the most convenient part of sanity to steer him towards.
    That’s actually quite a small cat. Which makes it’s route up the yardang a bit easier to figure – it can walk up places where a hoomin won’t fit. Without trying to climb any overhangs, there’s a zig-zag up the face we can see, and I’d bet the route up the top bulbous bit is as accessible – which is why the photo is taken from this side.
    He’s used thumb knots on the harness?? Well at least he’s doubled up on them, but that’s one of the last knots (technically a bend ; meh!) I’d consider for anything important.
    I’ve known cats that live in caving huts, and ones that enjoy a week camping up on the hill with hoomins who’re going caving. Never heard of them actually going underground for more than a bunny hunt though. Something to do with the cold wet mud.

      1. I learned the word here (well, here) but didn’t have a chance to use it until now.
        I’vv just discovered a blo^H^H^ website talking about accretionary wedges and yardangs, under the title (indisputably true) that “En Tequila Es Verdad” ; I suspect I know this person.

    1. This is not a yardang. We call this formation a hoodoo. They are common near my home. This one cannot be ten miles from my doorstep. Do a search for Balanced Rock, Arches National Park to see a famous example. Some climbers have the skill to climb some of these hoodoos. On the left of the hoodoo you can see an anchor rope attached to a small hoodoo-like structure. On the right you can see two ropes. It could be the anchor rope is also double. He could have climbed the hoodoo or done so with the help of ascenders. There is obviously a lot of rope work here. There likely were other people involved. I doubt the cat could have climbed this on his own.

  3. “I’m still waiting for the day we come across a group of pretty ladies and they love Millie and invite us to their campfire that night.“

    This is a problem in Set Theory. How large is the intersection of the “camping in the wilderness set” with the “crazy cat lady set”?

  4. I’m glad you posted the climbing cat photos. They are cute, but upon contemplation I “do not like.”

    1) A lead harness for cats is not a climbing harness. A spooked cat can pull backwards and out of one like pulling a t-shirt off over your head. And a lead harness, with it’s plastic buckles and standard stitching, is not made to hold the weight of a cat the way a human climbing harness is.

    2) Spooked cats run until they feel safe, and pay no attention to “training”. “Trained” cats only perform their behavior if they feel like it, and spooked cats don’t.

    Reading “A Street Cat Named Bob” brought the second point home to me. I’d already experienced it when my cat, who was well trained to come when called (and only for rewards, never as a trick to go to the vet), got spooked and hid for a day, ignoring all calls, making me think my cat had run out of the house when, in fact, he was hiding under a bed, spooked by a workman in the house. In “A Street Cat Named Bob,” recovering drug addict and busker, James Bowen, describes playing guitar for crowds with his leashed feline side kick Bob. In spite of being a very well adapted cat, Bob was spooked on several occasions and ran so fast and so far that it was luck that Bowen was able to find him again. So, I’m not super confident that the climbing kitty won’t get spooked at some point and be lost in the wilderness.

    1. I rather doubt the cat is going to successfully escape from that harness. Note that it’s not just a collar around the neck; there’s a second loop that fits behind the forelegs. And, if it’s properly snug, there’s no room for the cat to get elbow-equivalents underneath that second loop.

      Baihu has a somewhat-similar figure-8 harness. He’s tried to get out of it a couple times, once in a serious, full-adrenaline panic (that even left a scar at the base of my left thumb as he tried to launch himself away from me), and never managed to wiggle out.

      And, when we’re on the trail and he’s walking rather than riding on my shoulders, if he starts to wander off the path, I’ll sometimes lift him by the leash to guide him back on the path. I don’t take his weight off his rear legs — just a bit of a tug is generally all he needs to get back on the path, and he likely belongs back on my shoulders if he’s not interested in staying on the path. But if I were to wind up clinging to the side of a cliff and he dangling over the edge, I have no doubt but that he’d not be injured by the leash…and, assuming I didn’t pull him up first, that he’d likely very quickly figure out how to climb up the leash and back onto me. (I loop the human end of the leash through my belt, so there’s no chance of him accidentally escaping and trailing the leash.)

      There’re a couple small ledges on our usual routes in South Mountain Park where I have to, for example, sit on the ledge and lower myself to the ground below. I keep him on my shoulders for those spots. In some other spots that’re steep enough for me to brace myself with my hands, he’s often racing ahead of me at the end of the leash, wondering what’s taking me so long. And that can be either uphill or downhill, though he’s more likely to seek low ground of his own initiative than high ground.

      I’ll agree that the real problem is if the cat were ever to escape, and the fact that Craig lets the cat off the leash (as evidenced by those photos) is what gives me the greatest concern. Cats are ideal meal-sized animals for many raptors, and there are lots of reports of similar-sized dogs being caught while on long leashes. Baihu’s leash isn’t long enough for him to get far enough from me for a raptor to get to him without the raptor getting within arm’s length from me, so I doubt he’s a tempting target. And, should a raptor think otherwise, I know who’d win that tug-of-war…no bird is going to be able to defend against the two of us at the same time, even if there’d be plenty of blood spilled by all three parties.

      Millie, on the other hand, doesn’t have the benefit of such an anchor….



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