Cat parents know that cats are very adept at climbing, but for most people that skill translates to shelves and trees – not mountains.
However, when long time climber Craig Armstrong went to Furburbia in Park City, Utah, the second Millie climbed up his back and perched on his shoulder, he knew that he had just found his new climbing partner. “It took about four seconds to realize we were now partners and would be going on many journeys together,” Craig wrote in BackCountry.com.
That is not to say that Millie started blazing trails up rocky crags from the get-go — to get Millie the rock climbing cat acclimated to the concept of mountain climbing, first Craig had taken her to a local park where she would simply follow him around, getting used to the idea of being outdoors, staying close by, and responding to her name — all important qualities in a good climbing partner.
Since Millie has mastered the basics, Armstrong and Millie have tackled dozens of trails. And while one might assume that a cat’s finicky temperament might not lend itself to extended expeditions in the great outdoors, in Millie’s case, she couldn’t be more of a trooper.
According to Craig, “Millie has all the qualities a good climbing partner should have. She never complains, no matter how bad it gets. She always wants to go higher, and she pushes herself hard. But she also knows when to stop.”
And, as luck would have it, Millie and Craig share a number of similarities when it comes to trail preference, which is a huge asset when finding a climbing mate — “I’m weak, and she doesn’t have opposable thumbs, so we tend to like similar routes: slabby tech routes that require more technique and balance than raw power.”
But partnering up with a cat can be a mixed bag of nuts — “We camp in my truck; she peed in there one night, but she caught a mouse in there one night, too.”
Talk about pets without limits!
If you want to keep up with the exploits Craig and Millie, follow them on Instagram.
Would you consider taking your cat on an expedition like this? Do you think your pet would be up to the task? Let us know in the comments below! Also, consider signing up for PetPlus, a benefit program for pet owners that provides member-only access to medications at wholesale prices, plus discounts on food, supplies, boarding and more.