Sammy the Cat Now Unemployed in Notasulga, Alabama

January 16, 2009

Sammy the Cat of Notasulga, AlabamaControversy has erupted in the tiny town of Notasulga, Alabama. (Big Word Alert for the reader who complained that some of the words we use are “too big.”) It seems that sleepy Notasulga harbors an ailurophobe. She complained via the Internet to the U.S. Post Office that Sammy the Cat, who has shown up promptly every morning at the Notasulga post office for a decade, doesn’t pay federal taxes and therefore has no right to lounge about on federal premises. After all, no federal employee would ever lounge about benefiting from taxpayer dollars for no reason. Postmistress Carolyn Hood said the complaint was later embellished to include the statement that Sammy attacked the ailurophobe at night in the post office (good for Sammy!), and that the complainant was allergic to cats. One can only hope that Sammy had not undergone an onychectomy before his alleged late-night encounter with the angry Notasulgan.

Pat Dye, Former Head Football Coach at Auburn UniversitySammy, a 10-year-old tabby, had to go. He was unceremoniously evicted from a table in the front room of the post office where he”d enjoyed a daily nap for years. Postmistress Hood reluctantly posted a sign reading: “NOTICE. Sammy (the post office cat) is no longer allowed in this building due to a customer complaint. Thanks for your help.” And then the citizens of Notasulga mobilized. Hood told The Tuskegee News that “the town went crazy after that sign went up.” About 15 of the town’s 916 residents called WFSA-TV in Montgomery. One of Sammy’s fans, former Auburn University football head coach Pat Dye, told the television station: “Sammy’s got more friends in Notasulga than any other individual I know.” CNN covered the “post office cat” caterwaul.

Notasulga, Alabama Postmistress Carolyn Hood Displays Some of Sammy the Cat's Fan MailIt looked like Sammy might have to spend more time at home. Home is less than a block from the post office, in an unassuming house on Lyons Street owned and occupied by Lorenz Ponzig and his family, one of the 260 families in town. Sammy’s routine was to spend the day at the post office and return home at night. A solution seemed to be at hand when Notasulga resident Louise Pratt rented P.O. Box 173 in the feline’s name. The fan mail poured in — 68 pieces of mail and two packages from across the country in just four days. Postmistress Hood also fielded phone calls from concerned ailurophiles.

Sadly, as every celebrity knows, there’s a price to pay for fame and celebucat Sammy’s fame appears to have been his unemployment undoing. As his fame spread, complaints about him traveled farther up the federal food chain, as the government added Sammy to the list of pressing national issues. Postmistress Hood received an order this week banning Sammy from postal premises. Hood was reminded of regulations prohibiting all animals — except for seeing-eye dogs — from entering federal property. And thus Sammy joined the ranks of his fellow unemployed Americans.

As for the ailurophobe? The town has gracefully closed ranks and refuses to release her name to the press, although many have privately voiced certain unkind and unprintable words regarding her.

Still not sure what an ailurophobe is? Or an ailurophile? And what is an onychectomy? As my father used to say: “Look it up.”

Read about the generator wars which recently erupted in Tiny Town, Kentucky (population about 250).

Photo credit: The Tuskegee News

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