Ash The Cat: Feline takes up residence in the Old Court House

Published 2:27 pm Wednesday, August 29, 2018

The Old Court House Museum has a new attraction.

His name is Ash, and the cuddly little kitty has made himself right at home living among all the historical artifacts while charming those who come to visit.

“He meets probably ninety percent of the people at the door and then follows them up the stairway,” director and curator of the museum Bubba Bolm said. “We have even had a few visitors come down the stairs and tell us they appreciated the cat giving them the tour.”

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Ash, who is a four-month-old Siamese, took up residency at the Old Court House Museum about four weeks ago, but not before a harrowing ordeal.

“Ash evidently traveled underneath a truck from town back out to the county,” Bolm said, adding, “The truck had been several places that morning, so no one knows where the cat had latched on.”

The feline was eventually discovered after the driver and truck had returned home, and the family tried in earnest to get him out from underneath the vehicle.

However, it became apparent the kitten had had very little human contact.

“He would not let them get close. He was biting and scratching, and they did not know what they were going to do,” Bolm said.

The family was set to leave on vacation, so since time was of the essence, they called Bolm’s wife, Becky, who is a National Wildlife Rehabilitator.

“Everybody calls Becky when they have a problem with an animal,” Bolm said.

It took a while for Becky to subdue the kitten, Bolm said, because he was in fact, feral.

However, after putting out some food, the little fellow was eventually coaxed out from under the truck.

Once out, the family was then able to leave for their trip and the kitten was left to roam, because he would still not let anyone get near him, Bolm said.

The Old Court House Museum is no stranger to cats living in its midst.

“There have been cats at the Old Court House for years. At least a dozen,” said Bolm.

In fact, there is a little burial ground out back, where court house cats have been laid to rest.

“When I came here seven years ago, we had Maggie and Rose, and then Old Pap who showed up,” historian Jordan Rushing said.

However, for the past few years, the Old Court House has been feline free.

The last cats to reside in the building were twin Hemmingway kitties, but sadly some tourists thought they were just too cute to leave behind, Bolm said.

Nevertheless, things have a way of working out for the best.

There had been talk of getting another cat for the court house, Bolm said, and after Becky’s encounter with Ash, it was decided this little “baby would be good for the museum.”

Initially, Ash was thought to be a female cat, Bolm said, and was given the name Bonnie Blue because of the kitten’s entrancing ice blue eyes.

However, after a doctor visit for shots, Bonnie Blue was deemed a male, so the name was changed to Ash.

“We named him Ash because if you have ever smoked a cigar this (his fur) is exactly what the ashes look like,” Bolm said.

Ash’s favorite hangout is in the office at the Old Court House.

“He goes from desk to desk every day and sits on the back of your shoulders and likes to rest there,” Bolm said, adding, “We all have a good coating of cat fur on us when we leave.”

Bolm said Ash also likes climbing up on the plants that are in the entryway of the museum.

Ash fit in immediately at the Old Court House, Bolm said.

“He was not feral at all. He was just as calm as he could be coming up to you,” he said.

“Every morning when I get here he follows me into every room as I turn on the lights. He is always at my feet,” Rushing said.

And Ash, has no problem with visitors picking him up at the front door and carrying him through the building.

“He loves to be held,” Rushing said.

Bolm said having Ash at the museum has been an asset.

“Probably seventy-five percent of tourists have left a pet at home when they are visiting and on vacation and they miss their pet, so he gets a little extra love from them,” Bolm said.

“And he make a good babysitter too,” Rushing added. “When families come in with kids we know exactly where the kids are going to be.”

Bolm described Ash as “so soft and fluffy” and said they were lucky to have him.

“We are still learning about each other,” Bolm said, “but we do know he is home. I think he feels it too.”

About Terri Cowart Frazier

Terri Frazier was born in Cleveland. Shortly afterward, the family moved to Vicksburg. She is a part-time reporter at The Vicksburg Post and is the editor of the Vicksburg Living Magazine, which has been awarded First Place by the Mississippi Press Association. She has also been the recipient of a First Place award in the MPA’s Better Newspaper Contest’s editorial division for the “Best Feature Story.”

Terri graduated from Warren Central High School and Mississippi State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations.

Prior to coming to work at The Post a little more than 10 years ago, she did some freelancing at the Jackson Free Press. But for most of her life, she enjoyed being a full-time stay at home mom.

Terri is a member of the Crawford Street United Methodist Church. She is a lifetime member of the Vicksburg Junior Auxiliary and is a past member of the Sampler Antique Club and Town and Country Garden Club. She is married to Dr. Walter Frazier.

“From staying informed with local governmental issues to hearing the stories of its people, a hometown newspaper is vital to a community. I have felt privileged to be part of a dedicated team at The Post throughout my tenure and hope that with theirs and with local support, I will be able to continue to grow and hone in on my skills as I help share the stories in Vicksburg. When asked what I like most about my job, my answer is always ‘the people.’

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