A meandering moggy has been enjoying a free run of the ultimate scratching post for the last year – a medieval castle.
The nomadic cat – called Kipper – has stunned staff at Blackness Castle, near Linlithgow, by roaming the battlements almost every day and even leaping out of gun-holes at unsuspecting tourists.
The five-year-old feline has become something of an online hit with dozens of castle visitors posting snaps of him perched on vantage points or nestling in comfy corners of the stone fortress.
He is now set to appear on Japanese TV after a production crew spent eight hours filming him at Blackness on Sunday for a documentary about quirky cats from around the world.
Dubbed World “Cats” Travelogue, the programme was shot by wildlife photographer Mitsuaki Iwago – an award-winning filmmaker whose work has twice featured as cover stories on National Geographic.
Kipper’s owner, Ritchie Gilfillan, 31, who lives near the castle with wife Pamela and two-year-old son Callum, credited the cat’s friendly attitude for his soaring popularity.
He told how Kipper was adopted by the Gilfillans in 2010 after being found as a stray on the Isle of Skye.
“It’s quite crazy how popular he has become,” said Mr Gilfillan.
“But he’s a really affectionate little cat and he just loves attention. He loves going for walks along beside us – no matter how far you walk he will follow you.”
Graeme Sinclair, monument manager at Blackness Castle, said Kipper has now become a valued member of the castle team.
The 53-year-old said: “He lives in the village, but he comes to the castle every day and has been roaming around for over a year now.
“He likes the tourists. He will meet a group that comes to the castle and they will wander around the grounds and down to the pier, and he will stay with them for the whole hour.
“People are amazed.
“He has the personality of a dog – and he’ll think nothing of climbing into cars if people pull up.
“You’ll see him flying out the gun-holes and running across the grass and jumping on to picnic tables.”
And Mr Sinclair said: “He gives off the impression he owns the castle.
“Maybe he is somehow the reincarnated life of someone who lived here.
“But he is part of the team here now.
“I play the bagpipes and he is even gradually becoming accustomed to that.”
Mr Sinclair said staff at Blackness Castle insist the carefree cat is one of a kind.
“I’ve certainly never heard of any other pets roaming around castles,” he said.
Blackness Castle was built in the 15th century when Blackness was the main port serving Linlithgow – a key base for the Scottish monarchy at the time.
The historic fortification was briefly used as an ammunition depot during the First World War before passing into the care of Historic Scotland.