MOUNT WASHINGTON, N.H. - Nin the cat spent a dozen years patrolling the Northeast's highest peak as mascot of the Mount Washington Observatory.

The ex-stray with a bright white coat and black splotches was carried off the mountain yesterday for the last time and will live with park rangers in the valley below due to old age and an infection claiming the last of his teeth.

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. *

-Associated Press