Note: This story appears in the Sunday, July 15 newspaper on Page A1.
Pumpkin the Cat racked up a bill of more than $400 for dental surgery last week, but fans of the elections board cat need not worry.
Past practice would have been for the cost to be split among employees of the Athens County Board of Elections office where Pumpkin makes his home. That did not happen this time, however, because Pumpkin has an inheritance.
Well, sort of. The tabby is benefiting from an inheritance that had been given for the care of another cat.
An Athens woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, has been paying Pumpkin’s medical bills and some other expenses.
The woman explained that when it became necessary for her sister to go into a facility for her care, she began looking after her sister’s cat, Emma. When her sister died, there was a surprise in her will.
“When she died, I found out she had willed some money to her cat,” the woman explained, and it wasn’t a small amount of money. “She was quite a cat lover.”
She continued to care for her sister’s cat until it died. The woman said she knows Pumpkin and stops in the election’s board office from time to time to visit the cat. During a visit after Emma’s death, she realized that Pumpkin could benefit from Emma’s inheritance.
She said her sister “would be delighted to know her funds were going to help another cat.”
Elections Director Debbie Quivey said Pumpkin “gets nervous” during the hubbub of election time, so the cat was boarded the Sunday, Monday and Tuesday of the May primary, and the inheritance paid for it.
Quivey also said Pumpkin has tummy troubles, and the inheritance is paying for the medicine the cat is given for it.
Pumpkin, who was in need of a home and some medical care, came to live at the elections board office in 2012 and the initial vet bill was more than $300, which Quivey and Deputy Elections Director Penny Brooks split. Since then, other employees have been helping out with food, kitty litter and other costs.
Pumpkin has become quite popular with community members, and particularly Ohio University students, who stop in to visit the cat. Pumpkin’s guestbook has well over 1,000 signatures and notes from well-wishers.
Quivey said she doesn’t know how much of the inheritance is left for Pumpkin’s care, but added she is grateful for the financial help in caring for the cat. There’s been some joking that perhaps Pumpkin needs a pontoon boat on Burr Oak Lake so she can be given rides for “cat therapy.”
“We appreciate it so much,” Quivey said.
On Thursday, as Pumpkin was recovering from his dental surgery, the cat curled up in his bed in the election’s office window overlooking Court Street and appearing totally unconcerned amount his medical bills.