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Meet Stanley the Cat: A New Four-Legged Staff Addition at The Old Motor

The other day reader David King  commented in a post covering the Laramie Auto Company: “I’m intrigued that shop dogs have been a tradition for more than a century now.” His statement is quite true, as it has long been common in the automobile trade and we have two shop dogs and now a young kitten, all of which you can learn a bit about today.

Meet Stanley, named in honor of our late friend Stanley Lynde, who is filling the first official Guard Cat and Mouse Catcher position here at The Old Motor. He is only about six and-a-half weeks old and tiny at only six inches tall. Stan was found two weeks ago by “Smiling Lena” our little yellow Labrador Retriever mix two weeks ago hiding under a small shed behind The Old Motor workshop. He was small for his age, dirty, underfed and was on his own and separated from his mother about six weeks before the usual ten-week time frame which is considered the ideal for kittens to be on their own.

Stanley sitting on the hood of an unrestored 1929 Ford Model “A” sport coupe behind its Boyce “MotoMeter” gives you an idea of just how small he is.

Two weeks down the road and after a trip to the veterinarian, Stanley remains small for his age although he is in great shape and is almost finished drinking infant cat formula, is eating like a horse and running around like a banshee. He has been gaining weight and should be a healthy and robust boy in no time.

His resume is somewhat sketchy, however a couple of days ago we learned a neighbor saw a small and scrawny mother cat and two tiny underfed kittens at different times, and it appears they are living under a small old garage on her property. Stan apparently walked away from his inattentive mother and soon became lost.   

“Smiling Lena” breaks out with a big grin like this from the moment she wakes up and for the rest of the day and night when she is happy. You may think she is growling, but that is not the case in this photo as she is modeling an extra large smile which only appears that way.

So, Stanley is slowly blending in here and gaining acceptance from the other assistant four-legged workers here at The Old Motor which include two Labrador Retriever shop dogs who are also rescues.

Three and-a-half year old “Smiling Lena” is pictured above grinning from ear to ear in front of the Baily-Helck-Freeman 1914 Mercer “Raceabout.” Seven-year-old Cassie, a purebred Black Labrador below in a unrestored 1930 Lincoln Phaeton that was locally owned and sold here on The Old Motor two years ago. The two of them are both well behaved and mellow as most Labs are.

And just as David King commented, all three are keeping a “tradition for more than a century now” alive. Tell us about any shop dogs or cats you may have or encountered.

Cassie is close to the perfect dog, she never gets in trouble, always stays nearby and loves to meet people.

26 responses to “Meet Stanley the Cat: A New Four-Legged Staff Addition at The Old Motor

  1. When Ruth and I met 25 years ago, neither of us had much money. She was driving a 12-year-old Saab 900 coming up on 150,000K, which was being kept alive by a local mechanic named Paul whom we both absolutely loved. The Saab was also rusting to the point of losing structural stability — “getting kind of tender,” in Paul’s words. His shop (his son still runs it) is in a nineteenth-century carriage house and has been a garage for more than a century.

    At the time, Paul had a shop cat named Booger — black, so as to not show grease. On our wedding day, Paul couldn’t make the ceremony, so after the reception we grabbed a bottle of champagne and went over to his garage. Paul was a country music fan, but the only piece he could find that didn’t involve “dead dogs and cheating women” (again, his words) was “The only gold I’ll give you, is the ring upon your finger.” I think Ruth’s wedding dress still has grease stains on the bottom from where Booger rubbed against her legs while we danced on Paul’s shop floor.

  2. David , really amazing just last week i read an article in some local sheet here that “unadoptable cats like feral naturally fearful of large animals like us … hissing , spitting and snarling and any other ” friendly ” behavior you might think of that could be endearing in another world… The local shelters -rather than euthanizing them- sent them out to contained businesses, large and small where they became very quickly excellent mousers and guards and other territorial activities that cats naturally indulge in… the added bonus being curious, observant and inquisitive living in a contained enviroment that was non-threatening they became proprietors that tolerated their large 2 legged companions ,and even liked some of them but suspicious and standoffish to strangers. Just think you got your ” mouser”, without even trying. It won’t be long before Stanley has Lena and Cassie doing his bidding… I’m sure like other Labs they love to be “tasked”. I can’t think of a nicer home than your garage for your 4 legged firends. You are so lucky in “love”.

  3. Growing up in small town Oregon during the 1950’s and early 60’s, I don’t remember dogs or cats in any of the car dealers’ garages or other repair shops, all of which I frequented and hung around at as a wanna-be mechanic. What I do remember is every salvage yard had a dog that was restrained during the day and turned loose to roam the premises at night. I doubt any were as fearsome as their reputation.

  4. We had a Lab — farm dog, not a shop dog — that was a ringer for Lena, even the same grin. I couldn’t blame people for being a little scared at first, but a friendlier dog never trod the earth. She was fourteen or so when, on a picnic at the river, after an afternoon of swimming and running around, she lay down to snooze in the sun and never woke up. That’s the way a Lab should go!

  5. David,

    Best of luck with your new feline pest control manager. Best if cats are left hungry at night.

    Cats like to display their latest hunting successes also.

    Cats NEED something to scratch. Neither of our two touch the house furniture ,,,, they have scratching posts to shred …. not upholstery, leather seats or convertible tops.

    Cats don’t like to be told what to do, but they do learn with coaching.
    Sometimes a water pistol helps re-directing their thinking.

    Hope the new employee works out.


  6. Hi David, a great addition to crew and “Stanley” looks to be as Bright and Attentive as his name sake. Wait till the mustachio fills in! Well done David. Should Lena bring home Stanley’s sibling, I’ll take him(?) and name him Lynde or Lyndie….

  7. Several years ago we completed an engine overhaul on an MGB, ‘breathed on it’ a little bit, too, and added a larger diameter exhaust for more encouragement. Our client ,a pilot for Spirit Airways (he once described it as “the airline for people who can’t afford to take the bus”) would frequently be be away for an extended length of time between sojourns with his beloved MGB.

    Upon his return late one fall, right around now, in fact, he called, quite agitated that the car had no power and died in his driveway. We dragged it back here, and suspicious, ran a plumber’s snake up the exhaust and encountered resistance.

    After a little more poking and prodding we tried the key and Ka-Blam ! out came enough acorns to plant a small forest. Cats are the car.. and shop-owner’s friend.

  8. Aww, see, now while I can take or leave dogs, a cat is much more my style. My late mom was an avid cat lover. I live on a farm in rural N. Wis, yeah, we had our 1st snow yesterday, a dusting here, but as much as 10 inches, an hour north of us, should be gone soon, but a stern reminder to get your garden hoses in. There are no shortage of cats on a dairy farm, and new ones pop up all the time. I don’t want to know where the “old” ones go, but out of all the cats, most are pretty skittish, but there’s always one that is a sweetie, and this one tabby, comes up to me, and starts purring. I call him “Sylvester”, as I watch him, try as he might, he just can’t catch those Tweedy birds. make the best house pet’s, but give me a cat anyday. They’ll talk to you if THEY feel like it.

  9. I cant help it.
    That dog is the spittin’ grimace of that dog from the Wacky Races cartoons,what was his damn name?
    I know the human was Dick Dastardly,always trying to cheat.

  10. Now see, this was a real day-brightener for me! I’m a cat lover (I only have one; she’s plenty) Your shop must be such a welcome place to visit with two dogs, and now a gorgeous kitty! Stanley looks like he fits right in, too. God bless you guys for being animal lovers. They add so much to our lives, as well as offer ‘protection’ of sorts!

  11. Cats are great, we have several adopted rescue cats and I like them better than the dogs we’ve had. I hope someone gets the mother and the other kittens, they deserve a better life than to be hungry and suffering, especially with winter coming.

  12. I was pleased to see that Sammy, your new staffer, is “four-wheel-drive.” A very welcome nod to us 4×4 truck, car, and race car aficionados. Welcome Sammy!

  13. The no-kill cat shelter where I volunteer offers less domesticated cats to farms, horse ranches, and nurseries in the area. I’ll have to mention garages! Thanks for bringing Stanley aboard – he’ll pay his way. And new customers who see the four-footed staff will know that yours is a garage that cares about the wider world.

  14. I cannot imagine my life without the company of dogs and cats. Current residents are “Gustav” the cat, a tabby mix, and “Wiley,” a Boston Terrier that literally found me. You know, ‘they’ all find us. That’s how it works.

  15. Stanley is a very fortunate kitty. Thank you for not only providing a good home but, as well a prominent position at your place. Every shop ( especially those with little rodents) can use a good mouser. Watch out Mickey and Minnie..Stanley will be on duty soon.

  16. I have encountered animals in the Automotive Workplace, and usually, they just seem to know that: They have a Job to do —( just like the rest of us!) One example was: A Gopher Snake: (NO rodents! ) Another was a Rattle- snake killing Dog . Another was a Dog that sensed bad or evil customers ! (Good Doggie! ) Lastly , there was a: Small “one Bat Perch” With appropriate Guano tray , No mosquitoes in that shop.! In my home shop, I shared it with a Wood Bee Family that lived in a mounted chunk of mounted Desert Yucca Wood. Do not ever attempt to “swat” at one of those ! They become good friends after you let them know it’s “You”. Cats, of course, migrated from “Barn Cat” to Automotive Repair Garage Cats: “Hey!: Did you know that I just saw a CAT in here !?” “Yes, and the Kittens are free — would you like one, to take home with you???” Did you know that it’s best to allow: “Daddy Long Legs” Spiders in the shop corners? They catch & eat Flies & Mosquitoes!!!
    Edwin W.

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