An article in the Robinson Argus "I Remember When" series by Don Catt.

Dad's story of the tom cat goes back many years and has two or three versions. Since they all end about the same, I'd like to tell you my version. My father was Lester A. Catt, and like me and a lot of people, when he had a story he liked, he had a tendency to forget how many times he had told it before or to whom. He never told me the story without chuckling to himself before he finished telling it, so evidently it was not a memory of grief as with many people when their pets die. After sixty years, the loss of their cat became secondary to the comedy of events that followed. The story usually went as follows:

"I suppose I've told you a hundred times about the time Jim, Dan, and I buried our old tom cat, haven't I?"

I don't know. How did it go?

"Dad came back from the barn one morning and said Old Tom was dead. Like all tom cats, Tom had come back from many excursions all cut and scratched and sore. Always before he had managed to survive, but that time he had used up all nine of his lives. Jim and I went out to see him and there he was, stretched out in the manger, his eyes wide open, but when Jim picked him up he was stiff as a board. There was no doubt about it, Old Tom was dead.

Dad was getting ready to go somewhere when we got back to the house. He told Jim and Dan and I to take Old Tom some place and bury him. We got a shovel and after arguing awhile about who was going to carry the cat, we started down the road to find a good place. (Grandpa owned ten acres, so I have no idea why they went down the road.) We had walked about a half mile when we saw a little hillside in a pasture facing the road. It had a few trees on it, so we decided that in the shade of those trees would be a good place to bury Old Tom.

We dug a grave and had a funeral for the cat (Grandpa was a Congregational Christian minister, so naturally they had a funeral for Tom). We put the cat in the grave and started to cover him up, (here Dad always started to chuckle to himself) but we decided he couldn't get any air that way, so we buried him with his head sticking out of the ground so he could breathe. I can still see that old cat, buried up to his neck, with his head sticking out and his eyes wide open, watching the road! I'll bet I could take you over there right now and show you the very spot where we buried that old tom cat."

When Dad was about eighty years old, we were driving around his old stomping ground west of Willow Hill one day. He showed me all the places he and Mom had lived years ago. We drove down to the Dead River, where families used to go to swim or fish or picnic on Sunday afternoons. We stopped at Crooked Creek where he used to fish for little bullhead catfish. Catt School, where he had attended up to the fifth grade, was gone, as was all the places where they had lived. I thought it would make him sad to see that everything had changed so much, but he seemed more interested in showing me the places of his youth. I wish I had marked them down on a map before they all slipped my mind.

"There! There's where we buried that old tom cat!" he said, pointing to a shady hillside in someone's pasture. Everything had changed so much, but he remembered the exact spot where he and Dan and Jim had held a funeral for an old pet tom cat seventy years ago!