The cat who loves mountaineering and paddleboarding


Melly the Carnforth Bengal cat loves mountaineering, country walks and paddle boarding

Melly, an adventurous four-year-old Bengal cat, turns heads as she is often seen climbing mountains or relaxing with her owners on a paddle board or canoe.

Great British Life: Melly Paddle BoardPaddleboarding in Melly (Photo: Amy Murfitt)

Owners Amy Murfitt and Chris Manson chose Melly at six months because she was the smallest in the litter. “She was so skinny and light that no one else wanted her and when she came up to me and played with the toggle on my shorts, we knew it was her,” Chris said.

“When we got her she was pure white, but her pattern came out and she really grew into herself. She has a huge personality.

Bengals are generally treated like a house cat, but Melly’s forays into the outdoors began on her street in Carnforth where the couple live. “When we first put on her harness, she tried to walk backwards, but quickly got used to it.

‘We realized walking down the street wasn’t ideal as she didn’t like passing cars so we tried to walk along the canal but couldn’t get very far as everyone wanted to talk . Now we tend to take it early in the day to quieter places, like Warton Crag, the Pepper Pot in Silverdale or Arnside Knott. His first fall in the Lake District was Loughrigg. She likes to walk between us and stays with us even if we let go of her leash, as if we were part of her pack.

“In some ways, she’s more like a dog. She is very playful and loves to play fetch. When we get home, she waits on the windowsill, meowing at us. She is affectionate but, like most cats, on her own terms. She even gets along with our dwarf rabbit – they often sit next to each other and eat together,” Amy said.

Great British Life: Melly canoes on Coniston WaterMelly canoeing on Coniston Water (Photo: Amy Murfitt)

Always concerned for her well-being, Chris added: “We are always wary of dogs and only take her out in times that suit her. We don’t take her out if it’s raining, although she did experience some snow at the top of Skiddaw and seemed to enjoy it. When she walks with us, she is full of energy and bounces. She particularly likes jostling and always climbs the last cairn to admire the view.

Bengal cats are known for their agility and affinity for climbing, so it’s no wonder Melly loves exploring the hills. His quest to climb the 214 Wainwrights was accomplished in September, his final step being, fittingly, Cat Bells.

Amy added: “Chris is from Shetland and walking in the mountains wasn’t part of his life, but getting out Melly got him into walking. Next summer we plan to climb Snowdon and Ben Nevis.

Melly is also included in Amy and Chris’ wedding plans. “We’re getting married next June in Scotland. Our aim is to put the ring on her necklace so she runs down the aisle to Chris. Chris will be wearing the Manson tartan so we hope he stays a bit to make Melly a matching bow or something similar.