Category Archives: History

Brother Oliver Recreated A Piece of History

Disciples of The Leader Otis,

Brother Henry here.

Last week Sir Thomas read “The Legend of Kiddy The Cat“. He was still in Limbo at the time Brother Oliver posted the story, so he had somehow overlooked it until now. Anyway, he was so excited by what he read that he decided to do his own research to see if he could find any details that might have been missing from the story. He didn’t find much due to the fact that humans have largely ignored Kiddy’s story, instead embracing their own historical mythology about the events that occurred in Dodge City, Kansas, and Tombstone, Arizona. Thomas did hear a rumor though, from a cat on the felines only “Cat Chat” social media site, that piqued his interest.

The rumor that Thomas heard was that, during his time in Dodge City, Wyatt Earp had created a publicity campaign aimed at increasing the popularity of cats among men. At the time, a majority of the men in Dodge City felt that owning a cat would somehow make them appear less manly. To combat this belief, Wyatt Earp commissioned a series of portraits of local men posing with cats. He made cards and posters out of these images and added the tagline “Real Men Love Cats”. He then hung the posters in local saloons and stores, and passed out the cards wherever he went.

Unfortunately, none of the cards or posters exists today. Thomas was very disappointed about this as he really wanted to see what those images were like.When he mentioned his disappointment to Brother Oliver, Brother O got all excited and said, “I think I can help you Thomas!” He then came to me and asked if I would be willing to participate in recreating one of Wyatt Earp’s old publicity cards! I agreed immediately, and with the help of a mysterious drifter who just happened to show up at our door, Brother Oliver worked his magic and created what we believe the cards must have looked like… although we know the originals did not say “Cult of Otis” at the bottom. Anyway, here’s Brother O’s vision from the past.

Real Men Love Cats

With a little help from a mysterious drifter, Brother O and I were able to recreate Wyatt Earp’s publicity cards.

Although Thomas was thrilled to see the card, he scolded us for letting a drifter into the house because, in his words, “He might have been hiding a few wiener dogs under his coat!” To placate Sir T, Brother Oliver said, “OK Thomas, we won’t bring any more drifters into the house.”, to which Thomas replied, “Good, because the word on Cat Chat is that wiener drifters are currently the number one threat to safely confined cats…” Thomas then left the room. After he departed, Brother Oliver turned to me and said, “That’s it. We’re blocking his access to Cat Chat.” I wholeheartedly agreed.

So Says Brother Henry

P.S. Be sure to read The Legend of Kiddy The Cat to get the whole story!

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The Legend of Kiddy the Cat: Epilogue

Brother Oliver

Brother Oliver

Disciples of Otis,

Today we complete the epic saga of The Legend of Kiddy the cat.  Here is the last of the information that I translated from the recording of the mysterious, furry stranger in Tombstone.

After the incident at the O.K. Corral, Ike Clanton left Tombstone never to return.  His belief that he had seen the ghost of Kiddy the Cat coming toward him during the fight at the corral had driven him insane. Still, his fractured mind sought a way to ease his feelings of guilt by attempting to right the wrong he had committed in not keeping Kiddy the Cat safely contained. Since he was now deathly afraid of cats, he had to find a new animal toward which to direct his energy.  When a drunken friend jokingly suggested cows, Ike latched onto the idea, and he began to campaign against outdoor cattle. He was shot and killed on June 1, 1887 at Jim Wilson’s Ranch on Eagle Creek, south of Springerville, Arizona.  The ranch hands claimed they had caught Ike rustling cattle, but Ike’s friends claimed that he had not really been trying to steal the cows but rather to herd them some place where they could be safely contained.

The Earps continued to come into conflict with the remaining members of the Cowboy gang.  The feud eventually took the life of Morgan Earp and left Virgil Earp with a paralyzed left arm.  After these attacks on his brothers, as well as constant threats on his own life, Wyatt Earp put together a posse and proceeded to, as he put it, “euthanize” the remaining members of the Cowboy gang.  He then stole Sheriff Behan’s wife and retired with her to California.

Doc Holliday eventually settled in Glenwood Springs, Colorado.  He was still suffering from his terrible cat allergies, and he chose Glenwood Springs because he heard it was the only town in the United States that did not have cats.  Unfortunately, the American Society of Cat Fanciers had heard about Glenwood Springs as well.  They found the town’s lack of cats appalling, and decided that it should be remedied.  On November 1, 1887, The ASCF held an enormous cat adopt-a-thon in Glenwood Springs.  Shelters from all over the United States participated, and more than 25,000 cats were sent to the small town in the hope that they would be adopted.  Even the town of Tombstone got involved, sending every single cat that was housed in the O.K. Corral off to Glenwood Springs to be adopted.  Unaware of the event until it was too late, Doc Holliday was overwhelmed by an allergy attack of epic proportions. Barely able to breathe, he was admitted into the local sanitarium, where he died on November 8, 1887.

The City of Tombstone went into a state of decline in the late 1880’s after miners struck the water table and accidentally flooded the silver mines.  The Tombstone City Council, desperate to save both the town and their jobs, decided that tourism might be the right direction to go.  Other than mining, the only thing interesting that had ever happened in the town was the fatal encounter at the O.K. Corral, so the council decided to focus their tourism efforts around that.  They decided to hold daily reenactments of the battle, inviting tourists to pay two-bits per viewing.  They billed it as “The Catfight at the O.K. Corral”.

The Tombstone City Council advertised their new attraction in newspapers as far away as New York City.  During the first week of reenactments, thousands of tourists flocked to the town.  There was clearly a problem though.  Half of the tourists were depraved-looking men who seemed disappointed when they finally witnessed the fight.  The rest of the tourists were people waving signs saying “Stop Animal Cruelty!”  This contingent seemed pleasantly surprised after watching the reenactment.

Frustrated but not yet defeated, the Tombstone City Council went back to the drawing board.  They invented a completely new back-story for the conflict between the Earps and the Cowboys, re-imagined the fight itself and removed all reference to cats from the O.K. Corral sign.  Having already emptied the corral of cats during the Glenwood Springs adopt-a-thon of 1887, they also rebuilt the corral to look like it had housed horses and mules instead of felines.  They then re-launched their publicity campaign and hit the jackpot.  It seemed that families from all across America were excited about the thought of men killing each other in the streets for no good reason.  Thousands of tourists flocked to Tombstone to see the, now completely inaccurate, reenactment.  Despite not knowing the real story, some visitors have claimed to have seen a black-and-white cat running from the corral during the simulated gunfights.

OK Corral Today

Today, the OK Corral is a popular tourist destination. No reference to the role cats played in the corral’s history remains, and few visitors suspect that the “O.K.” originally stood for “Outdoor Kat”. The owner of the stables was a very poor speller.

In time, the role that cats played in the events that took place in Tombstone was almost completely forgotten; however, the name of Kiddy the Cat lived on.  It has changed slightly, as all things do in time, but it endures to this day.  Whenever you humans call a cat “kitty” or “kitty cat”, you are invoking the spirit of Kiddy the Cat. Remember his story, and honor his memory by doing everything in your power to keep cats happy, healthy, and safely contained.

With that, the story of the mysterious, furry stranger from Tombstone ended, but he did say one more thing to the Guardians of Otis that was caught on the recording, and I’m pretty sure it was the only thing he said that they understood.  It was, “Can ya’ll give me some pets now, please?”  They must have complied, because just before the recording cuts off I am sure I can hear a cat purring.

Well, Disciples of Otis, that is the tale.  It was a long journey, but I hope you found it both enlightening and entertaining.  Tomorrow I turn the blog back over to our fearless Leader, and we will continue with our mission to make the world a better, safer place for all of felinekind.

So Sayeth Brother Oliver

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The Legend of Kiddy the Cat Part VII

Brother Oliver

Brother Oliver

Disciples of Otis,

Today, growing animosity boils over into violence as a grief-stricken Ike Clanton seeks vengence in the continuing story of The Legend of Kiddy the Cat.

After the memorials for Kiddy the Cat and Mrs. Stump were concluded, Ike Clanton sought out solace in a bottle.  As the alcohol took hold, Ike began to tell anyone who would listen that the Earps were responsible for the death of Kiddy the Cat, and they would soon pay for what they had done.  He drank all night and well into the morning.  By then half the town had heard him issuing his threats, and word soon got back to the Earps and Doc Holliday.

At around 2:30 p.m. on October 26, Virgil Earp was informed that a group of Cowboys, including Ike Clanton, had gathered outside the O. K. Corral.  They were brandishing weapons, the carrying of which was outlawed within city limits, and speaking loudly of how they would get revenge on the “mangy lawdogs”.  Virgil rounded up Wyatt and Morgan, and together with Doc Holliday they headed off to confront the Cowboys.

When the Earps and Doc Holliday rounded the corner on Tombstone’s Fremont Street and came within sight of the O. K. Corral, they stopped in their tracks.  In front of them they saw Ike Clanton and fellow Cowboy Billy Claiborne holding open the doors to the O.K. Corral. Wesley Fuller, another Cowboy, stood at the rear of the alley acting as a lookout.  Inside the corral Ike’s brother Billy Clanton, and Cowboys Tom and Frank McLaury, were trying to herd all 50 cats contained within out through the open door.  Instead of exiting, the cats were simply avoiding the Cowboys by climbing up onto the many high perches and walkways available to them in the corral.

Upon realizing what was happening, Virgil Earp shouted, “Hold on!  I don’t want that!”  After this, things happened quickly.  Seeing that their time was up, the Cowboys got desperate.  Frank McLaury and Billy Clanton drew and cocked their six-shooters.  They pointed their guns in the air and fired them at the same time, hoping that the noise would frighten the cats into running out the door. Billy Clanton’s bullet ricocheted off of the metal flashing on the roof of the O.K. Corral and it struck Morgan Earp, who had just drawn his gun, across the back, nicking both of his shoulder blades and a vertebrae.  Morgan fell to the ground, and when he landed his gun went off sending a bullet straight into Frank McLaury’s skull.

In all of the noise and confusion, most of the cats had retreated into play tunnels, enclosed beds, and other areas of the O. K. Corral that had, by then, become their safey-safes.  One cat, however, bolted out through the open doorway.  Ike Clanton, who was standing frozen, and still holding the door open, saw the cat coming toward him.  The cat was the exact same color and size as Kiddy the Cat.  Ike was thrown into a panic.  He bolted toward the street and ran straight into Wyatt Earp.  He fell to his knees and screamed, “Please!  Don’t let him get me!  I’ll never leave a cat unprotected again!”  Wyatt, not knowing what Ike was talking about and preoccupied with the bullets flying by hissed, “You started this catfight!  Go to fighting or get away!”  He then tossed Ike aside.  Ike got to his feet and ran off down the street.  Billy Claiborne, who also thought he had seen the ghost of Kiddy the Cat, followed right behind Ike, and Wesley Fuller bolted off down the alleyway white as a sheet.

When Morgan Earp’s bullet struck Frank McLaury, it killed him instantly.  He fell to the ground, dropping the cocked revolver that was in his hand.  The revolver went off and sent a bullet through Virgil Earp’s calf.  The pain caused Virgil’s trigger finger to jerk and he fired a bullet that struck Billy Clanton in the right wrist.  Billy Clanton in turn jerked his trigger finger and the resulting bullet grazed Doc Holliday.

While this exchange of bullets was going on, the cat that resembled Kiddy was still making a beeline out through the corral door.  Doc Holliday, already off balance from the grazing shot he had just received, tripped over the cat and fell hard on the ground.  As he hit the ground, the shotgun in his hands went off, sending a spray of buckshot directly into the chest of Tom McLaury.

As Tom McLaury slumped to the ground, mortally wounded, Wyatt Earp saw the cat that was attempting to escape.  He moved to intercept him, fearing that the panicked cat would run into the road and be crushed by a wagon just as his doppelganger had.  Wyatt bent down to grab the cat just as Billy Clanton, who also believed he was seeing a ghost, aimed and fired at the cat’s head.  The bullet narrowly missed, but Wyatt didn’t.  He scooped up the cat in his left hand while still holding his revolver in his right.  As Wyatt stood up, the still-panicked cat struggled to get away.  As he writhed, hissed and batted, the cat’s paw came down on the hammer of Wyatt’s revolver twice in rapid succession.  The gun fired both times, and the two resulting bullets flew straight into the chest of Billy Clanton.

Stunned by the unexpected discharge of his firearm, Wyatt’s grip loosened and the cat sprang free.  Wyatt’s eyes remained fixed on the fallen Billy Clanton, so he did not see in which direction the cat had fled.  Afterward, he tried to track the cat, as the thick layer of dust in the streets of Tombstone would make following a fleeing animal easy.  To his surprise, he found no cat tracks leading out of the O.K. Corral and into the surrounding streets.  He also found no cat hair on his overcoat, other than some that still remained from Mrs. Stump.

After the unfortunate events at the O.K. Corral, the McLaury Brothers and Billy Clanton were laid to rest in the cemetery formerly known as Puss-in-boothill.  Their gravestones still stand there today, along with another proclaiming that the three men were “murdered in the streets of Tombstone” in 1881.

The gravesite of the McLaury's and Clanton

The McLaury Brothers and Billy Clanton were buried together in the former "Puss-in-boothill" graveyard.

Tomorrow-  The legend and the lessons of the incident in Tombstone fade into history as we bring you the final installment of The Legend of Kiddy the Cat.

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The Legend of Kiddy the Cat Part VI

Disciples of Otis,

The tension in Tombstone climbs ever higher as we continue with The Legend of Kiddy the Cat.

 Ike and the Cowboys returned to Tombstone late on October 24th to find Sheriff Behan waiting for them.  At first, they thought he was looking to arrest them for the attempted robbery of the stagecoach, but then Ike noticed the small, cloth-covered bundle and Behan’s bloodshot eyes and tear-streaked cheeks.

When Sheriff Behan tried to explain what had happened, Ike Clanton would hear none of it.  Possibly out of a subconscious feeling of guilt for his own neglectful actions, Ike became infuriated with the Sheriff and blamed Kiddy the Cat’s death entirely on him.  He made arrangements for Kiddy to be laid to rest the next morning at Puss-in-Boothill Graveyard, the town pet cemetery that was eventually renamed “Boothill” after they started burying people there as well.

Boothill Cemetery

Formerly known as “Puss-in-Boothill” Graveyard, the cemetery was eventually renamed simply “Boothill” when they started burying people in it.

Sheriff Behan attended the service for Kiddy the Cat early on October 25, and he was shocked to see the epitaph that Ike had chosen to write on Kiddy’s tombstone.  It simply said, “KTC, Shot By Sheriff Behan”.

Kiddy The Cat Grave

Sheriff Behan was shocked to see the epitaph “KTC, Shot By Sheriff Behan”.

In a strange twist of fate, Wyatt Earp’s cat Mrs. Stump had also passed away on October 24.  She had died in her sleep on a comfortable bed at the ripe old cat age of 21.  The Earps, Doc Holliday, and about 100 townsfolk were laying Mrs. Stump to rest in Puss-in-Boothill Cemetery at the exact same time as the service was being held for Kiddy the Cat.  Wyatt had built an elaborate metal enclosure around Mrs. Stump’s gravesite stating that he wished to keep her safely contained, even in the afterlife.

Mrs. Stump Grave

Wyatt build an enclosure around the grave of Mrs. Stump, claiming that he wanted to keep her safe, even in death.

When Ike Clanton saw Mrs. Stump’s gravesite, he became enraged.  He believed the Earps were mocking him for not having kept Kiddy the Cat contained.  This could not have been farther from the truth.  Although Wyatt Earp did wish that Ike had been more responsible and prevented the untimely demise of Kiddy the Cat, he also felt great sympathy for Ike’s loss.  He knew Ike had loved the cat, despite his stubborn refusal to keep him safely contained.  At the cemetery Wyatt even tried to express his sympathies to Ike, but this only seemed to deepen Clanton’s anger.

As Wyatt walked away, Sheriff Behan, perhaps in an effort to deflect some of the blame Ike had thrust upon him for the death of Kiddy the Cat, told Clanton that he thought the Earps were to blame for Kiddy’s death.  He claimed that since the Earps and Doc Holliday had rounded up so many cats, people didn’t see as many of them in the streets any more.  This meant that they weren’t on the lookout for cats running across the road so it made Kiddy the Cat much more likely to get hit by a stagecoach.

Relieved to find a place to put all of his feelings of guilt and grief, Ike Clanton embraced the theory that Sheriff Behan had put forth.  “Yes..”, he said, “The Earps are to blame, and come tomorrow, there’s gonna be a reckoning…”

Tomorrow- The conflict that defined the Old West comes to pass as we approach the conclusion of The Legend of Kiddy the Cat.

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The Legend of Kiddy the Cat: Part V

Brother Oliver

Brother Oliver

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.

Doc Holliday's Neuter Kit

Doc Holliday single-handedly spayed and neutered all of the cats captured by the Tombstone Neuter and Retain program. His medical bag contained dozens of instruments for…well…ummmm…for snipping…ummm…things.

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.

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The Legend of Kiddy the Cat: Part IV

Brother Oliver

Brother Oliver

Disciples of Otis,

The Legend of Kiddy the Cat continues as Wyatt Earp heads west to Tombstone…

When he arrived in Tombstone, Wyatt Earp was disheartened to see stray and feral cats filling the streets.  Everywhere he looked he saw kitties that were suffering and in danger.  Not only that, the cathouses Wyatt had heard about were not at all what he had imagined them to be; however, this did not seem to prevent him from visiting them every chance he got.

The Cowboys had become a well-established organization by the time the Earps and Doc Holliday arrived in Tombstone.  Although the gang was mostly involved in performing bandit raids on small Mexican towns just across the border, they also intimidated and harassed the citizens of Tombstone.  Ike Clanton, his brother Billy, and fellow Cowboys Tom and Frank McLaury and Billy Claiborne,  constantly went around town threatening people who attempted to keep their cats safely contained.  Ike’s cat, Kiddy the Cat, often followed them on these excursions, and he regularly urine marked the front doors of citizens who kept their cats indoors.

Wyatt Earp immediately ran into trouble with the Cowboys when he began trying to convince people to round up all the cats in town, neuter them, and keep them safely contained.  He also advocated for research into new and affordable ways to build outdoor cat enclosures, as the enclosures available at the time were not entirely adequate to the purpose they were meant to serve.

Early outdoor cat enclosure

The outdoor cat enclosures in Tombstone circa 1880 were secure, but not very enjoyable for kitties.

Eventually, with support from his brothers Virgil and Morgan, and his friend Doc Holliday, Wyatt founded the Tombstone Neuter and Retain (TNR) program, with the goal of eliminating cat homelessness in Tombstone by 1883.  He even struck a deal with local stable owner John Montgomery to modify his corral so that it would comfortably house up to 300 cats.  Wyatt proposed that the enclosure be named the Outdoor Cat Corral.  Montgomery agreed, although he thought “cat” was spelled “kat” and he used an abbreviated version of the name when he made the new sign.

O. K. Corral sign

After striking a deal with stable owner John Montgomery, Wyatt Earp opened Tombstone’s first feral and homeless cat rescue, the Outdoor Cat Corral. Due to Montgomery’s poor spelling skills, the sign was read “O.K. Corral” instead of “O.C. Corral”. Obviously, the original sign lacked the words “gunfight site” but, well, we’ll get to that in due time. (adapted from photo by Lars Hammar- copyright info)

Once the O.K. Corral was ready, Wyatt sought to galvanize the support of the town around his cause.  He did so surprisingly quickly, at least among the menfolk.  This might have had something to do with the way he described his project.  All of his promotional literature bore the banner headline, “Support the World’s Biggest Cathouse, Right Here in Tombstone!”  In the beginning, even the Cowboys were eager to get on board, but once they figured out what Wyatt was really up to, it wasn’t long before things came to a head.

Tomorrow- an avoidable tragedy takes place in The Legend of Kiddy the Cat Part V

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The Legend of Kiddy the Cat: Part III

Brother Oliver

Brother Oliver

Disciples of Otis,

The story told by the mysterious, furry stranger from Tombstone continues…

As Tombstone was becoming established, a man named Wyatt Earp was busy establishing a name for himself in a place called Dodge City, Kansas. Wyatt had been appointed as an assistant Marshall in Dodge City.  This was in 1878, and there were no animal control officers in those days. Wyatt, who was an animal lover, took it upon himself to round up strays and protect what he referred to as his “furry, four-legged brothers and sisters” from abuse.  He campaigned tirelessly for strictly-enforceable leash laws, and a piece of legislation he wrote called “The Feline Safe Confinement Act”.

Wyatt Earp

Wyatt Earp- Lawman and animal lover.

While many of the Dodge City townsfolk were open to, and even enthusiastic about Earp’s ideas, a small but vocal faction rebelled outright against the idea of confining pets, and some even challenged Earp’s contention that all pets should be treated humanely.  Things came to a head on July 26, 1878 when a local man named George Hoyt was spotted walking down the street at 3 am carrying a large, yowling cat by the tail.  The visibly drunk Hoyt was shouting at the top of his lungs stating, “Man is the superior species!  Ya’ll don’t need to worry yourselves about the comfort of no cat!”  Earp, along with policeman James Masterson and several animal-loving townsfolk, responded to the scene to discover Hoyt screaming on the ground with the cat attached to his face.   Hoyt, never known to be the brightest of men, pulled out his pistol and attempted to shoot the cat.  Sensing danger, the cat quickly leapt from Hoyt’s face, just as he pulled the trigger.  The bullet passed through the cat’s tail and continued on into Hoyt’s head, killing him instantly.

After the gun was fired, Earp immediately ran to the aid of the wounded cat.  He took her to a friend of his who had been trained in veterinary medicine.  The man, John Henry “Doc” Holliday, DVM, had given up his practice after he discovered that he was deathly allergic to cats.  Still, he could not turn away an animal in need and he worked valiantly to save the injured cat.  He was successful, although he did have to amputate all but three inches of the cat’s tail.  He also suffered serious damage to his lungs in the process due to his allergies.   Earp adopted the cat, naming her Mrs. Stump, and from that day forward he credited Doc Holliday with saving Mrs. Stump’s life.

Mrs. Stump

Mrs. Stump circa 1880.

After George Hoyt’s untimely death, representatives from the Dodge City Inhumane Society, and others from the Society for the Propagation of Cruelty to Animals, began spreading rumors that Earp had shot George Hoyt while he was trying to defend himself from a rabid cat.  Despite the testimony of eyewitnesses who had seen Hoyt shoot himself, the relentless campaign against Earp put forth by the DCIS and the SPCA eventually gained traction.

By 1879, No longer feeling welcome in Dodge City, Earp began to believe he should seek his fortunes elsewhere.  As fate would have it, this is when he received a letter from his brother Virgil who was in Prescott, Arizona Territory.  Virgil wrote of a new boomtown called “Tombstone” in which Main Street was lined with cathouses.  Wyatt was greatly excited by this news.  To think, after all of his difficulties trying to pass the Feline Safe Confinement Act in Dodge City, this town, Tombstone, had already established multiple businesses, right on main street, dedicated to safely confining cats.  Wyatt loaded Mrs. Stump, as well as his common-law wife Mattie Blaylock, into a wagon and headed west to Tombstone where he met up with His brothers James, Virgil and Morgan, as well as his friend Doc Holliday.

Tomorrow- Disappointing revelations and attempts to make a difference as we continue with The Legend of Kiddy the Cat:  Part IV.

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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


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The Legend of Kiddy the Cat: Part I

Brother Oliver

Brother Oliver

Disciples of Otis,

The story I have translated will be questioned by many, but I have no reason to believe that it is anything but the truth.  From what I can gather, while the Guardians of Otis were spending time in Twos On in early March, they also traveled farther south to visit a museum in a place called Tombstone.  I believe they were researching the historical role that cats played in the settling of the Old West.

Heritage Museum

The Guardians made an amazing discovery at a museum in Tombstone.

They didn’t find much at the museum, at least as far as they could tell, but they did encounter a geriatric kitty that spoke to them.  They recorded his tale, thinking him cute, but what they didn’t know was that the kitty was imparting to them a wealth of knowledge about the very subject they were researching.  The kitty did not give his name, so we will never know who this furry stranger was, but the Guardians did get one photo of him.

Mysterious stranger

The mysterious, furry stranger.

Here is the story that the mysterious kitty told:

Listen to me, oh Guardians from the north, for I have a tale to tell.  You must pass on this tale, as there are few left who can tell it accurately.  Much has been written and put on film about what happened in these parts back in the late 1800’s, but none of it has told the whole truth of the matter.  Allow me to set the record straight, once and for all.  I must begin by telling the story of how this town came to be, so let us get started with the tale I call The Legend of Kiddy the Cat.

In 1877, a man named Ed Schieffelin set out from the U. S. Army Camp Huachuca to seek precious metals and minerals in the southeast Arizona mountains.  Schieffelin decided to take his cat, Old Prospector, with him despite warnings from the U. S. Army soldiers who told him, “The only thing you will find out there for Old Prospector is his tombstone.” The soldiers were correct.

Arizona Desert

Shieffelin set off into the desert to seek his fortune taking Old Prospector with him.

One day while Schieffelin was out exploring, he discovered a rich vane of silver.  Unfortunately, Old Prospector, who was out exploring at the same time, discovered a large rattlesnake. Schiefflin returned to his tent to find Old Prospector dead of a rattlesnake bite.  He was devastated by the loss, and when he filed his mining claim he named the area “Tombstone” hoping that it would serve as a reminder to all that a tombstone is what awaits cats that are allowed to roam free.

After Schieffelin filed his claim, word quickly spread that silver had been discovered in the Arizona hills, but the stories being spread were not entirely accurate.  The real story was that a prospector had discovered silver, but through the grapevine it became, Old Prospector (the cat) found silver.

So people began to travel to the area in droves, bringing cats with them, in the hope that their kitties would discover riches as they believed Old Prospector had. Once people met Schieffelin and heard the real story, they abandoned the cats they had brought with them.  This nearly drove Schieffelin mad as it was exactly the opposite of what he hoped naming the area “Tombstone” would achieve.

Tomorrow- The Legend of Kiddy the Cat:  Part II

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The Guardians Know Not What They Discovered

My Disciples,

I mentioned over a month ago that the Guardians of Otis had traveled to a place called “Twos On” on what I presumed was official Cult of Otis business.  Well, it seems I was correct.  Recently Brother Oliver was messing around with the Guardians’ computer when he stumbled across a recording and some photos that he says blew him away.  The recording was the voice of a kitty, and he had a strange drawl to his speech.  He was telling a story, and he went on for over an hour.

Brother Oliver believes that the Guardians merely found the kitty’s yowling to be cute, and that they probably had no idea what he was saying.  I tend to agree.  The Guardians do understand a little Catonese, but not much, and I’m sure this kitty’s drawl would have made it nearly impossible for them to interpret his speech.  But Brother Oliver and I both feel very strongly that the story our feline brother told should be shared, as it sheds light on the role that cats played in one of the most widely known events in the history of the American Old West.


I'm still processing the story told by that mysterious kitty. Tomorrow Brother Oliver will share it with you.

Starting tomorrow, I will turn the Blog of Otis over to Brother Oliver for the next week or so.  He did all the hard work of translating the story and he even searched out some historical photos that indicate the authenticity of the events the kitty described.  I think it is only fair that he be the one to share the story with the world.  I hope you will join us for what promises to be a very wild, and enlightening ride through history.

So Sayeth Otis

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