don knotts’ cat could be mine!

One of the biggest failures in my life, if you can call it a failure, is that I never got to sit down and talk with Don Knotts. I got pretty close on a few occasions, but things just never seemed to work out… Anyway, a reader of in Texas, knowing of my fascination with Mr. Knotts, just sent the following.

As I know you’re a Don Knotts fan, I thought that you might find this of interest. Up until last week, I lived down the street from his sister-in-law. Unfortunately, I have to say that she was my least favorite neighbor.

Yup, the sister-in-law is gone, but Don Knotts’ cat is still loose somewhere in our neighborhood. Right before the sister-in-law moved away, she was taking care of the cat that had belonged to her sister and Don Knotts before his death, and it got out. They put up signs all over our neighborhood offering a $1000 reward if somebody found this cat. And they hired some “pet bounty hunter” tracker woman with a cat-sniffing beagle to come find it. I don’t think they ever did.

I’m not sure what the point of this post is. It’s not, as I suggest in the title, that I want to obtain this cat. While it would be fun to organize all of my readers in the area and send them on a covert cat-finding operation, I just know that I’d end up giving it right back to these people that lost it in the first place. I couldn’t interfere with the deathbed wishes of my hero. Maybe the point of this post is just to illustrate how small the world is, and how pervasive the internet has become. It’s truly amazing to me that I can broadcast my obsessions through this website, and then things like this come back to me. There’s something very beautiful in that.

All in all, I just find this whole story horribly sad though. Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but I’m picturing this cat as Don’s best friend, always curled up in his lap, always there with a reaffirming purr. Then, Don dies and the cat gets sent to someone who doesn’t care that much. It gets out of the house. And, not to be overly dramatic, but it most likely gets eaten by a raccoon… As if a fancy pants Hollywood cat even had a chance in the mountains of Texas.

It’s not the cat I feel bad for though. This story just makes me sad for humanity. (Did I mention that I’m also drugged-up on cold medicine?) The simple fact of the matter is that when you die no one else is going to give a shit about what you hold dear. It reminds me of that final scene in Citizen Kane, where the sled, Rosebud, the signifier for Charles Kane’s lost youth, the last thing to cross his mind as he lay dying, gets shoved into a furnace. This cat was probably with Don Knotts when he died, but once he was gone, that was it. When he left, the cat just became a cat.

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  1. Anonymous
    Posted March 21, 2007 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    Is Strass Drive in Austin? If so, I don’t think the mountains did in the cat, it was probably an 83 Plymouth.


    – Steve

  2. cleo love-paste
    Posted March 21, 2007 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    I’ve been told several times since moving into my house that a gecko belonging to Shields & Yarnell is somewhere, lurking.

  3. egpenet
    Posted March 21, 2007 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    That generation of TV/Hollywood stars is a tragedy to lose, as well. I think of those I have met like Don Knotts, Buddy Ebson, and others … in one of MY past lives writing movies and live shows for the auto companies.

    Don was a fine actor, a real professional to work with, quite creative, charming, prepared and in every other way a pro.

    He AND his cat shall be missed. A Plymouth, eh? Sounds about right … a Charger, perhaps … Dukes of Hazard … just south of Mayberry. Oh, yah.

  4. egpenet
    Posted March 21, 2007 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

    Dodge Charger, ya’mean? What was the Plymouth version, or did they have one? Don’t remember.

  5. dr. teddy glass
    Posted March 21, 2007 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

    Judging from the graph on this page, it looks like the value of their home kept droppping while the values of homes around them kept going up. Sounds like they had a house-o-skank. It’s certainly a long way from Hollywood.

    (update: Link removed by MM.)

  6. ol' e cross
    Posted March 22, 2007 at 11:14 pm | Permalink

    Shoulda Woulda Coulda Mark.

    If only you’d become a Turkish movie star, all of your pets would be already be celebrity pets.

  7. murn
    Posted March 23, 2007 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    It’s true. When Phoebe passed away (a feline being beloved by everyone), we totally fell from grace. Optimistically, we found Phoebe at the pound. Maybe Don’s cat found a new home, too. (I’m not on cold medicine, just a sap.)

  8. mark
    Posted March 29, 2007 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

    I just got an update from the neighborhood. It seems that there are rumors of coyotes, so that’s what people seem to think happened to the cat. Also, I’m told that the “nasty-ass” house sold after just being on the market a week for somewhere around $299K. It’s going to be torn down to make room for a new home. I will, of course, continue to bring you details as I have them.

  9. Hoa, a friend of Monica's
    Posted August 9, 2007 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

    This is disgusting. You all should be ashamed of yourselves and leave this family alone. “Nasty ass” indeed.

  10. mark
    Posted August 9, 2007 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

    I have nothing but shame for myself.

    I know very little about myself, but I’m certain of that.

  11. Hoa, a friend of Monica's
    Posted August 9, 2007 at 11:32 pm | Permalink


    I sent you an email. Thanks for listening.

  12. mark
    Posted August 12, 2007 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    Update: After considering Hoa’s thoughtful letter, I decided to somewhat edit the original post. I removed the images of the house in question, a few of the more colorful descriptions, and any mention of the street address. I would like to point out, however, that the names of the owners never were posted.

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