MOUNT WASHINGTON, N.H. — Neither strong wind nor high flames bothered Nin the cat during a dozen years patrolling the Northeast's highest peak as mascot of the Mount Washington Observatory.
The regal ex-stray with a bright white coat and black splotches was carried off the mountain Wednesday for the last time and will live with some park rangers in the valley below due to old age.
"He's 17 or 18 years old, so he's getting up there. We wanted to do the most humane thing for him," said Scot Henley, executive director of the nonprofit weather observatory.
Nin is moving in with Diane Holmes and Mike Pelchat, rangers at Mount Washington State Park, after years of petting and pampering from visitors and researchers alike.
"I am the latest in a long and famous line of Observatory felines," reads Nin's profile on the facility's Web site. "I ... find it very unnerving to head down the mountain (especially since they only take me to the vet's!)."
Wind never fazed him
Nin was never fazed by the gusty wind and bad weather. He trotted down the peak with the rest of the crew during a fire in February 2003, going straight back to work when the time came. He was a welcome pal to legions of meteorologists and scientists passing through during weekly stints taking weather measurements in hurricane-force wind and heavy fog.
The observatory isn't expected to be feline-free for long. The Conway Area Humane Society is evaluating successors to take over by the end of January, Henley said. They're looking for a new cat who is friendly, not spooked by bad weather and has the wits to know when to come in out of a storm.