Disciples of Otis,
An avoidable tragedy takes place as we continue with The Legend of Kiddy the Cat.
Within two weeks of the opening of the O.K. Corral, Wyatt and his brothers had rounded up more than 50 cats. Doc Holliday spayed or neutered every one of them, although his breathing became more labored after every single surgery because of his allergies. Due to their efforts, the stray and feral cat population was on the decline in Tombstone, and the townspeople were beginning to take notice.
Wyatt decided that the time was right for him to begin speaking with cat guardians in the town to convince them to have their own kitties neutered, and to keep them safely contained as well. Since Kiddy the Cat was the most well known owned feline in town, Wyatt decided to start by approaching his guardian, Ike Clanton. It did not go well.
After a tense confrontation at a local saloon during which Ike Clanton told Wyatt Earp that he had no authority to be, “Running around town locking up kitties like some sort of lawdog…” Wyatt decided to change that. He and his brothers Virgil and Morgan became deputy U.S. Marshalls, which raised their status in the eyes of the townsfolk but infuriated the Cowboys, especially Ike. Upon hearing the news of the Earps’ deputization, Ike was heard to say, “Tombstone’s a cat town. Lawdogs don’t go around here…”
Things continued to go from bad to worse between the Earps and the Cowboys in the weeks that followed. The tipping point came on October 24th, 1881, when Ike Clanton and the Cowboys were out of town for the day trying to rob a stage line. Ike had left Kiddy the Cat, outside for the day when he departed. At about 2:00 p.m., Kiddy the Cat darted out into the road chasing a fly. At that same moment, a stagecoach came thundering into town. It was the very stage that the Cowboys had attempted to rob, and the wounded and panicked driver, believing the Cowboys were still behind him, was moving at breakneck speed. Kiddy the Cat ran right into the path of the oncoming stage and was squashed by one of its wheels. John Behan, the local sheriff, responded to the scene and found Kiddy still clinging to life, but mortally wounded. He had no choice but to draw his revolver and end his suffering. Despite the necessity of his actions, the guilt he felt at performing the euthanasia troubled him the rest of his days.
Tomorrow- An unfortunate coincidence brings tempers to the boiling point as the Legend of Kiddy the Cat continues.