The Legend of Kiddy the Cat: Part II

Brother Oliver

Brother Oliver

Disciples of Otis,

Today we continue the tale told by the mysterious, furry stranger in southern Arizona.  We will pick up right where we left off, with the convergence of cats and people on the mining claim known as Tombstone…

Time passed, and more and more people arrived in southeast Arizona to seek their fortunes.  By 1879, the population had grown high enough to warrant the founding of a town.  The people decided to name their new town Tombstone, after the original mining claim.

By the time the town was founded, there was a very high population of homeless and feral cats in the area, resulting from the mass cat abandonment a year or two earlier and subsequent uncontrolled cat breeding.  The cats lived brutal, short lives, struggling to survive on the mean streets of Tombstone.  The plight of these cats was largely ignored, as people were too busy mining, gambling, drinking, visiting prostitutes and shooting one another to notice.  However, a small gang of outlaws took a liking to the wild and secretive nature of these cats.  One of these outlaws, Ike Clanton, was so enamored with the cats that he suggested that they call their gang “The Pussycats”. Others in the gang, fearing that the name would not elicit the kind of response they were hoping for, quickly overruled him. They ultimately became known as “The Cowboys.”

Still, Ike made a strong connection with one stray cat in particular.  It was a tuxedo cat that Ike took to calling “Kiddy the Cat”, after his hero, the famous outlaw William H. Bonney, aka Billy the Kid.

Kiddy the Cat statue

No known photos of Kiddy the Cat exist, but this small statue, said to be made in his likeness, sits just outside the door of a shop in Tombstone.

Ike provided Kiddy with food and water, but continued to allow him to roam free in the streets of Tombstone.  He could often be heard calling the cat to dinner with shouts of “Here Kiddy, Kiddy, Kiddy!”  When one of his fellow Cowboys pointed out that it might be easier for him to keep tabs on Kiddy if he simply kept him in the house, Ike responded that containing Kiddy would have squashed his outlaw nature.  In the end though, it wasn’t containment that would ultimately see Kiddy’s nature squashed.

Tomorrow- The story continues in The Legend of Kiddy the Cat:  Part III



Filed under History

4 responses to “The Legend of Kiddy the Cat: Part II

  1. Oh Dog! Ike Clanton had a cat! How cool is that! But not cool that there were so many strays and ferals.

    • Definitely not cool that there were so many homeless kitties (and a Kiddy). But this situation is calling for a hero to step in, Rumpy, and in the Old West I understand such heroes existed!

  2. I never knew Arizona had such a rich cat history!

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