Melly the Bengal cat from Carnforth loves mountain climbing, country walks and paddle boarding 

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

Great British Life: Melly paddle boardingMelly paddle boarding (Image: Amy Murfitt)

Owners Amy Murfitt and Chris Manson chose Melly at six months because she was the smallest of 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 she was the one,’ Chris said. 

‘When we got her, she was pure white, but her pattern has come out and she has really grown into herself. She has a huge personality.’

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

‘We realised walking on the street wasn’t ideal as she didn’t like the passing cars so we tried walking by the canal, but we couldn’t get very far as everyone wanted to talk. Now we tend to take her early in the day to quieter places, such as Warton Crag, the Pepper Pot at Silverdale or Arnside Knott. Her first Lake District fell was Loughrigg. She likes to walk between us and stays with us even if we let go of her lead, as if we are part of her pack.

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

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

Ever mindful of her welfare Chris added: ‘We are always wary of dogs and only take her out in weather that suits her. We don’t take her out if it’s pouring down, although she did experience snow on the top of Skiddaw and seemed to enjoy that. When she walks with us, she is full of energy and just bounces along. She especially enjoys the scrambles and always clambers up the final cairn to take in the view.’ 

Bengal cats are known for their agility and affinity for climbing so it’s little wonder Melly loves to explore the fells. Her quest to scale all 214 Wainwrights was accomplished in September with her final walk being, appropriately, Cat Bells.  

Amy added: ‘Chris is from Shetland and hill walking wasn’t part of his life but taking out Melly has got him into fell walking. Next summer we intend to climb Snowdon and Ben Nevis.’  

Melly is also included in Amy and Chris’s wedding plans. ‘We are getting married next June in Scotland. We aim to put the ring on her collar so she will run from the top of the aisle to Chris. Chris will be wearing the Manson tartan so we hope there will be a little bit leftover to make Melly a matching bow or something similar.’