Max Baer, Jr. played my favorite character "Jethro Bodine" on The Beverly Hillbillies television show for all 274 episodes. Jethro was known for being willing to undertake just about any career known at the time, and for his "bottomless pit" stomach. Jethro was always hungry.
In Spring 2006, a neutered adult orange-and-white tabby cat began coming by our house asking for food. He would rub against my palm and meow like our cats do when they think they are past due for dinner, and I readily brought him a share of theirs that evening, and most nights thereafter for a couple of months. He seemed to be in good shape, but was invariably hungry, so I called him Jethro.
Dave the Cat had been gone for two years. We had very recently acquired two dogs and fenced the yard, and had four other cats at the time, including an orange-and-white tabby named Jasper, but I was willing to accept Jethro as our outdoor cat, and he was very friendly to us.
It was when I took Jethro to the vet for vaccinations that I learned he belonged to someone else.
Since so many pets are now routinely implanted with identification chips, veterinarians commonly scan new patients, and in Jethro's case, determined that he had a registered human. Due to professional concern for private pet ownership, the vet could not treat Jethro, or tell me who belonged to him.
I sought help from the Leon County Humane Society and was then able to contact Jethro's person Michelle, who brought her two daughters by to pick up "Jinx". I had gotten the first letter of Jethro's name correct.
Michelle thanked me and said that Jinx had been missing for several months, and I told her that the last two had been spent with me, and that I had fed him well and given him treatments for fleas. Michelle insisted on paying me ten dollars for Jinx's incurred expenses. I said goodbye and they all drove away.
Jethro returned the next day.
I called the Humane Society and asked how transfer of ownership was done for a pet, and they advised me as to what wording to use for a signed statement by the former owner. I crafted such a statement with a blank for signature and sent it with a note to Michelle offering to continue to care for Jinx because he had returned so quickly. I enclosed a self-addressed, stamped envelope and a check for ten dollars.
Michelle's assent arrived a couple days later with my uncashed check and I became Jethro's person.
Jethro was one of the most loving cats I have known, good-natured to all, and he passed on six years later on May 16th, three months ago. I often mistakenly call Jasper "Jethro" and even the neighbors' orange-and-white tabby reminds me of Jethro.
Famous or not, they never quite really leave us. So long, Jethro.
Jethro at his favorite spot on the bird feeder