Millie was adopted by Craig, a keen mountaineer, when she was a kitten. She had been abandoned by her previous owners. She was about to be euthanised because the shelter did not have the resources to bottle feed her. Then Craig stepped in. Millie climbed up onto Craig. He had been chosen.
As soon as she became an adult Craig took her with him on his mountaineering treks. In fact it seems to have started because when Craig went off climbing and trekking Millie followed him. It developed from there.
Gradually, Millie learned to climb with Craig. Now she follows Craig wherever he goes, without problems. She does get stuck sometimes. Craig has to rescue her.
I don’t wish to be critical but Craig makes the odd remark that worries me:
“There have been times when she’s fallen and I’ve had to catch her but now she just loves climbing so much I can’t stop her.”
Craig also states:
“I do free climbing without ropes and then for the really high or steep ascents I harness her up.”
Without ropes or safety precautions? Does that mean Millie does some climbing without a safety harness? It seems so. Does that mean if she falls she may fall a distance? If so, personally, I can’t agree with it because it is must be too dangerous. Cats are great climbers but their anatomy is designed for climbing trees. Their claws are able to penetrate and grip trees. Rock is entirely different and it must make the cat less able to climb successfully. It is unnatural for a cat to climb very steep rocks. Cats jump on rocks etc. or race over rocky ground (think of the snow leopard in the Himalayas or the cougar in America) but climb like a mountaineer: no.
If a person wants to indulge in a dangerous pastime that is his/her prerogative but the same person has a duty to ensure the welfare and safety of their cat. Craigs leads. Craig is in charge. He wants to climb. Does Millie really want to climb rocks or simply be with Craig? The upside to this is that Millie gets a lot of wonderful safe outdoor time with her human companion. The downside is that some of the time her outdoor activities with her owner are very dangerous – too dangerous, I’d say.