MOUNT WASHINGTON, N.H. (AP) _ New Hampshire's top cat is retiring.
Nin, the black-and-white house cat who for a dozen years patrolled the Northeast's highest peak as the Mount Washington Observatory's mascot, was officially retiring Wednesday and moved off the mountain to a valley home.
Scot Henley, the nonprofit weather observatory's executive director, said Nin's failing health was the reason for the retirement. Nin suffers from a number of age related ailments, and a recent infection claimed the last of his teeth.
"He's 17 or 18 years old, so he's getting up there. We wanted to do the most humane thing for him," Henley said.
Nin, a former stray, has been popular among visitors to the summit. His photo and a short profile are included on the staff section of the observatory's Web site.
"I am the latest in a long and famous line of Observatory felines (hey - when do I get my own poster?)," the profile reads. "I like it on the summit - I get pampered and coddled, and have to do very little in return, curl up on the occasional lap and so on. I have been up here for several years now, and find it very unnerving to head down the mountain (especially since they only take me to the vet's!)."
Wednesday, Nin made a final trip down the mountain during the weekly shift change of weather observers and volunteers. Nin is moving in with friends Diane Holmes and Mike Pelchat, both rangers at Mount Washington State Park, at their home in Gorham where he will be close to his veterinarian, Henley said.
Cats have been a part of summit life for a long time. A number of cats lived at the peak when observers clocked the 231 mph wind, the fastest aboveground wind speed ever recorded, in April 1934.
The observatory isn't expected to be feline-free for long. The Conway Area Humane Society is evaluating successors for the job, said Henley. He said they are 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.
"We'll probably have a new cat sometime in late January," Henley said.
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