Good afternoon and a very meowy Chrissymouse to felinity assembled from Elvira Mistress of Felinity and Miss Sneakers, as well as merry Christmas from me, Daddy Kiril.
As you know the holiday season has been an interesting one around here as, even as Nikita went to Rainbow Bridge, fate arrainged for us to have a new addition much sooner than I had planned.
(In case you missed all the excitement...start here.)
And therein lays a tale, the secret story behind how she ended up with us....
As regular readers know we have a motley collection of strays that make their home in the courtyard area below our apartment and prowl the grounds of the nearby buildings and dumpsters...
A week before she approached me from the bushes I took a photo of one of the cats walking away from the dumpster, but didn't think much about it.
A couple of days after I found myself with a new kitten the resident reptile of the complex approached me with a secret to share...
On second thought I DID keep it handy on the off chance that the creature wasn't pulling my leg.
The very next day I witnessed an encounter between one of the grays and the Cat With No Tail that led me to go have a chat with one of the friendlier (with me) of the yard crew.
It is that long conversation that I now wish to share with you today....
The Legend of the Texian Tuxedo as recorded by Kiril Kundurazieff, Official Feline News Network Correspondent
REMEMBER ALLEY MO!!
Before I begin, let me say this:
When it comes to what really happened at the Alamo, that season of trial, sorting fact from legend is a complicated thing for native Texans.
While the truth can often be painful, one can't say that, in this case, it is boring!
With regards to the part cats played in the events at the Alamo, while humans tend to scoff at the story, felines, especially ferals, in Texas, proudly prefer to believe what's been handed down to us by our ancestors, despite the lack of evidence that the humans would prefer having.
There WAS more than one cat at the Alamo, that fateful February and March of 1836; all great mousers, but only one fought and died with the defenders and only one left the lady cat, also a tuxedo, pregnant and alone in the aftermath.
Crockett named him Alley Mo, in honor of the mission and because one of his men had found the cat in an alley soon after the group had arrived. Nobody knew his age, only that he was an independent and curious sort, not to mention outspoken.
Legend has it that he was in the room with Bowie when he died, later slashing the throats of two of his attackers with his claws, after hunting them down, killing them. Other cats claimed the last time anyone saw him alive was when he and Crockett were surrounded by Mexican soldiers.
His lady love, whose name, if she even had one, is lost to history, left the mission, after the battle, sticking close to Susanna Dickinson and her infant daughter, ending up in the town of Gonzales.
In May 1852 the first Lone Star State Fair occurred in Corpus Christi, during the prosperous 1850's. Organizer Henry L. Kinney persuaded Dr. Ashbel Smith to be the fair's manager and to use a cat as mouser. He was the first known tuxie with Alley Mo’s exact appearance and markings and was a direct descendant of Alley Mo, as all who came after are assumed to also be.
Over the past 160 years there has always been what became known as the Texian Tuxedo, born in a year soon after the previous one went to Rainbow Bridge. This feline, always male, seemed to live during times when interesting, even important, events in Texas history occurred, even possibly playing a role in such events.
These cats, all male, were all independent, curious, strong willed and opinionated; storytellers, poets and passers on of news from the human and feline worlds wherever they went. None made their homes among humans, at least not permanently, always finding some reason to move on.
The last one died in early 1998.
A lot has happened in this state, since, yet no successor was born, leaving felinity assembled in TX to wonder….
And that, Mr. Kiril, brings us to this fall.
As you know the black cat with no tail is more than a little touched in the head, always raving about a lizard, for one thing.
Anyway, early in October, after not putting in an appearance since early summer, he comes around claiming the new Texian Tuxedo has been born somewhere in Houston and that it’s a girl….just a feeling he had, he said. As you can imagine we all laughed and asked him where he had hidden his premium catnip stash.
Then, on November 10th, one of us found her, alone and hungry, out by the dumpster. When we later told him of our find and the plan we had put in motion that saw her set in a safe, new, start, he walked away with a sense of pride he’d never shown before.
So, what was our great plan? You and your lady….Oh, yeah, we know about Nikita, Elvira, and their blog. I and my housemate, having access to our human’s computer, read it and are aware you have shared photos of all of us over the past year. Word has also spread among the felines of Houston, indoors and out…though what the humans know about them is sadly lacking still.
We had relocated the little one to the safety and warmth of the bushes by the mailboxes and one of the gray ones, Banjo, was in those bushes when the kitten was encouraged, ok nudged, out to the sidewalk as you came by.
We knew that if she was to have any sort of chance to grow up and live up to her potential and her legacy, in the age of the internet, it would be with you and Elvira.
Well, to say that I was floored would be an understatement! I sat, mesmerized, writing it all down, then thanked the cat and went off to think and do some googling.
What I learned was a side to the fascinating history of the great state of Texas that few, especially among the humans (but many felines, too, mainly those who have lived exclusively indoor lives), who live here, are aware of.
Sneakers continuing education now has a more personal side to it.
December 08, 1872 - Architect Nicholas Clayton comes to Galveston and builds it into a city of beautiful homes. The Texian Tuxedo (3rd in the lineage) arrives in Galveston and is thought to have secretly hitched a ride among Clayton's belongings.
March 24, 1883 - The first mouser strike in Texas begins in the Panhandle and is led by the Texian Tuxedo.
July 04, 1883 - The first recorded instance of feline rustling in Texas is reported in Pecos and the Texian Tuxedo is rumored to have had a part in capturing the miscreants.
July 02, 1888 - The Tuxie-Squirrel feud starts in Fort Bend County. It was rumored to have begun when a squirrel was killed by the Texian Tuxedo (4th in the lineage) when it tried to steal from a pile of food the cat had pulled out of a discarded box in an alley.
October 05, 1899 - Ned Green drives the first car in Texas. It takes five hours to make the trip from Dallas to Terrell, a 6-mph average. The trip almost never began as he nearly ran over the Texian Tuxedo in the first half mile.
September 08, 1900 - The Great Galveston Storm destroys half the city and kills hundreds of felines gathered there to meet the Texian Tuxedo who was rumored to be there (He was actually in Beaumont).
January 10, 1901 - The discovery of "black gold" at the Spindletop oil field near Beaumont launched Texas into a century of oil exploration, electronics, and manned space travel. Still in dispute is exactly what role a cat (The Texian Tuxedo) had in the discovery.
November 23, 1915 - An Aggie prank creates 'Bevo', the Texas mascot. What role the 5th Texian Tuxedo had in this is still in dispute.
January 31, 1927 - The mockingbird is named the official state bird. An effort to name the Tuxie the official state cat was laughed out of the state congress and periodic efforts since have all failed. Texas has a state dog, but only Massachusetts, Maryland and Maine have state cats to this day.
January 16, 1934 - Clyde Barrow breaks into the Houston SPCA to rescue a cat (The 6th Texian Tuxedo).To this day nobody has a clue why and the SPCA denies it ever happened; all human records of the event having been lost makes such a denial very easy to get away with.
May 23, 1934 - Lawmen ambush Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, who die in a hail of gunfire. What part a cat (the Texian Tuxedo) played in their ambush and demise is still in dispute today.
June 16, 1943 - The National Guard is called out to hunt down a cat (The Texian Tuxedo) in Beaumont. No record exists to explain why and the mere mention of the subject is a sore point with the National Guard. The cat was never caught and never seen in town again either.
November 02, 1949 - The Daughters of the Republic of Texas secretly nurse the Texian Tuxedo back to health after discovering it in an alley in Austin (He passes away in 1950).
June 06, 1957 - Attorney General Will Wilson raids Galveston to close down cat houses, an early effort by activists to look after feral cats in town (rumor had it the AG thought something else was going on, in these places, that “respectable” society disapproved of). The 7th Texian Tuxedo was among those cats who managed to escape capture and being turned over to area pounds.
January 28, 1960 - Two Dallas millionaires, Clint Murchison and Bedford Wynne, receive a franchise for an NFL team they name the 'Cowboys.' The name was chosen over their first choice, Tuxedos, when that choice was ridiculed by the local papers and business leaders.
April 09, 1965 - The Astrodome opens in Houston. Cats (tuxedos, naturally) were used as mousers to clear the new facility of vermin before opening day.
January 14, 1998 - Researchers in Dallas, Texas present findings about the role a tuxedo cat played at the battle of the Alamo. They are promptly laughed out of town when they present an 18 year old Tuxie, at the press conference, calling him the "Texian Tuxedo". Two months later the cat was dead and all the evidence and documentation gathered by the researchers was lost in a mysterious fire rumored to have been caused by a squirrel knocking over a lamp in the building where they were stored.
He was the 8th in the lineage and, with more than 15 years having passed, everyone wondered if he was the last….
Lone Star Junction's Texas Timeline of Key Events in early state history
Tuxedo Cats (a coloring, not a breed)
Not all black-and-white cats are called tuxedo cats. Even with the requisite color genetics, a cat's coat may come in different patterns.
The archetypical tuxedo markings are white paws, a white chest and a white belly, but there are many variations. Tuxedo cats may or may not have white on their faces, too, either connected to the chest or as an island of white.
Cats of other coloring can have tuxedo markings. Smoke tuxedo cats have grey-blue coloring, for instance, and tuxedo tabby cats have tabby coloring. Such variations involve other genes.
Regardless, the term "tuxedo cat" generally refers to a black-and-white cat with tuxedo markings.
Tuxes have an unmistakable coat pattern -- mostly black with white paws, belly, chest, throat and chin. The black drapes across his back, his paws resemble white spats, and some appear to have a collar buttoned around the neck (Sneakers!).
(Sneakers type of tuxie is one with a mask-and-mantle coloring and also called a"Black Mask" cat)
4. Scootie LaChatte's Tuxedo Cats Page on Facebook.
And yes, Cats have returned to the Alamo (A Cap & Saddle Piebald):
Houston Chronicle = Alamo Cat Keeps Watch Over Lone Star Landmark.
My San Antonio - Kitty Korner = Alamo Cat on Animal Planet
What an inspiration!