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Wyoming community remembers beloved 20-year-old cat

May 31, 2017

JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — This is a story about a memorial ceremony for a cat.

So. Now the readership has been narrowed to only the sympathetic. Here it is.

After several gray and chilly days it was sunny and warm day for the ceremony marking the passing of O.C. Kaht, the longtime companion of Mick Dettmer. It was the kind of May day, several among the 25 people in attendance said, that O.C. would have enjoyed.

O.C., a fairly well-known feline around Jackson, died March 31 of kidney failure. Born in October 1996, he made it past 20, a long life for a cat, but not as long as Dettmer would have liked.

“O.C. was my best friend and only family in the world,” Dettmer said in a statement read for him — he didn’t feel up to public speaking. “I feel blessed to have had him in my life for 20 wonderful years.”

O.C. was known for constantly being with Dettmer, a Jackson resident of 29 years who lives on disability, is active in ham radio circles and volunteers with county emergency response groups. O.C. was also known as a cat who often wore a little straw hat.

Like many Jackson residents, Dettmer and O.C. have sometimes found it difficult to find a place to live, and in the past few years they spent more than a few nights sleeping in their car.

At O.C.’s memorial his picture was prominent, along with a flower tribute of 20 red roses. Mary Erickson, a member of the Episcopal clergy — appearing without official divine sanction — said a few words.

“When I was asked to speak I immediately said yes without any hesitation because I knew how important O.C. was to Mick,” Erickson told the people gathered at Powderhorn Park.

She noted that Dettmer selected an ocicat, O.C.’s breed, “because they are known to be very affectionate and highly intelligent, and O.C. never disappointed.”

“There was a gentleness in how O.C. related to Mick,” she said. “It was a truly symbiotic relationship.”

O.C. sometimes visited people in old folks’ homes, but he was best known for hanging around Town Square and visiting the post office. Trish Herasme, who arrived in town last year to work at the post office, knew them from both places.

“One of the first things I saw at the Town Square was Mick and his cat,” she said. “I got a kick out of the hat.”

Delia Compton remembered the pair from their visits to Ace Hardware, where she worked.

“I was impressed with how well-mannered he was and how affectionate he was with Mick,” she said. “He would just put his paws up on him and hug him.”

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Information from: Jackson Hole (Wyo.) News And Guide, http://www.jhnewsandguide.com

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