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Bob Lind, Published February 20 2011

Lind: Stray cat struts his stuff

Grim as they are, it’s the major problems of the world that are the big news: Mideast turmoil, the economy, crime.

But in the midst of all that, Neighbors would like to bring up a little story that isn’t as earthshaking as those Page 1 stories.

It concerns a cat named Dumpground Kitty.

A stray cat

Jerry and Lorraine Peterson of McLeod, N.D., loved animals. So they accumulated several horses and a dog.

And cats. Two of them, at first: Zorro, a Siamese they got from San Antonio, Texas, where his owner couldn’t keep him because there were birds in the house; and Hobo, a beautiful black cat who showed up in the Petersons’ barn one day.

Then there was the kitty Lorraine often saw at the Petersons’ dumpground years ago.

Feeling sorry for him, Lorraine would bring food for him.

One day Lorraine made her trip to the dumpground, fed the cat, then returned home and got busy feeding the horses; so busy, she says, “I hadn’t noticed the skinny little tiger kitty had followed me home.

“My heart went out to him,” Lorraine says. “I ran into the house and got a dish to put some food in for him. I stood there and watched him eat it all up.

“When he was done, he looked around. I realized I hadn’t brought him any water. So I ran into the house again to bring him a bowl of water. We became good friends.”

So good, he stayed.

No name

The next day, the Petersons had a veterinarian out to give shots to the horses. While he was there, he checked out the cats and gave them shots, too.

That led to a problem.

The immunization information was supposed to be placed on the cats’ collars. The vet, making up the tags, asked for the cats’ names.

Well, sure, Zorro and Hobo had names. But not the newest member of the family. “We had forgotten to give him a name,” Lorraine says, “so all we could call him was Dumpground Kitty.”

While that name was fitting, the Petersons weren’t quite satisfied with it. So Lorraine wrote to their grandchildren in Minneapolis, asking if they had any ideas. They came up with the name Shasta.

Now Dumpground Kitty had a home, someone who cared and a real name.

“With good food, Shasta grew strong,” Lorraine says. And he chose a mate, which led to three kittens in the barn: Tiger, Morris and Calico Kitty.

Missing her ‘family’

The Petersons are still on their farm. But there have been some changes.

Lorraine had serious surgery. The horses have been sold. Most of the cats have been given away. But Shasta just wandered off and disappeared.

Lorraine is doing fine after her surgery, she says. But she misses those animals, as any animal lover can understand.

Still, she’s glad that she and Jerry once provided love and care for a homeless cat who for a time was known only as Dumpground Kitty.

Now, back to the news about war, riots, crime ...

If you have an item of interest for this column, mail it to Neighbors, The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107; fax it to 241-5487; or e-mail blind@forumcomm.com