If you were a Salem resident or visitor before 2013, you might know HIS story…if not, we have some ‘splainin’ to do about Lucy. First, HE was not my cat and Lucy’s family originally thought HE was a female (it happens)! This very sociable Maine Coon lived around the corner and, after we opened in 2004, would occasionally pop in to check out a new place within his territory. Many locals already knew him and he’d established a reputation as friendly, vocal and curious. There was a furniture store across the street into which he’d wander and even got locked in, overnight, a few times after he’d found a comfy, secluded spot for a snooze.
He became a more frequent visitor to The Barking Cat and began to wait out front in the morning. Anyone walking by would get an earful as he loudly requested entrance. He started recognizing the sound of my car and would trot up to greet me, all the while expressing his opinion that we should open earlier! Of course, I checked with his family to make certain his part-time residence was acceptable to them. He even sensed when it was near closing time and would stroll out; but, if the weather was nasty, he would ‘let’ me put him in the car to be dropped off at home.
Our daily routine always included a few pinches of Kitty Kaviar (one of his faves) and he settled in wherever he wanted to supervise commerce, comment on the day or just doze off. Another high (if you’ll excuse the pun) point for him was a delivery of Dr. Pussums’ Fancy Feline Elixir- Lucy spent hours enjoying the box in which the catnip had been shipped. As long as dogs didn’t get too ‘friendly’, he ignored or tolerated them; but, if a hiss didn’t do the job, he might swat to complete the ‘warning’. Surprisingly and despite some close calls, there was never a full-on Lucy/dog confrontation in the shop. Eventually, he found a ‘neutral’ space with me behind the desk.
There are a few photos of our friend and excellent co-worker here and, if you’d like to see more, there are a couple hundred in an album on our Facebook page- ‘like’ us while you’re there, would ya please? Lucy made our local papers on several occasions, perhaps, most famously for being the ‘victim’ of a cat-napping in 2011 http://www.salemnews.com/news/local_news/salem-cat-napping-has-happy-ending/article_94f7b18d-e536-5e8c-87a6-8914cf682f8c.html . To this day, former residents and return visitors ask about him and it always saddens us to let them know he’s gone on to The Rainbow Bridge http://patch.com/massachusetts/salem/a-fond-farewell-to-lucy-the-cat . We certainly think about and miss him every day. Lucy was unique- we’re grateful to his family for sharing him with us and that, for a number of years, HE chose The Barking Cat as a second home.