Whatta cat! Interesting story. CHARISMATIC CAT: Everyone loved Tommy Clark
Finger Lakes Times
By Susan Clark Porter
Jun 5, 2016
SENECA FALLS — Kathy Jans-Duffy recently retired from the Seneca Falls Historical Society after 13 years. In her parting newsletter column she chose to write about Tommy Clark, a local cat who lived to be 24 years and 6 months.
My interest was piqued … and not just because my brother shares the same name as this illustrious cat. Several years ago I discovered an old photograph relating to Tommy the Cat in the newspaper’s archives and featured it on our Looking Back page.
As the years march on, the story of this legendary long-lived cat becomes dimmer — but thanks to Ithaca resident Ann Southworth Lango, it is now preserved in one place for posterity.
Lango is the granddaughter of Tommy’s owner — William Clark, a Seneca Falls veterinarian who ran a practice on Clinton Street. She compiled a scrapbook of Tommy memorabilia and donated it to the Seneca Falls Historical Society a year ago.
Tommy’ claim to fame was not only his longevity, but the community interest and celebration his old age inspired. His birthday parties attracted hundreds of guests, featured fancy menus and were recounted in newspapers across the country thanks to the stories being picked up by the news wires.
Tommy was born Feb. 19, 1915 on a farm on Whiskey Hill Road in Junius and adopted by Clark, who stumbled on him in the barn during a house call. Clark took the kitten home and Tommy lived out his quarter century of a life obviously in the best of care by the local veterinarian.
The scrapbook recounts his meager beginnings in verse:“The good Doctor Clark, he was there on a call,
He was treating a horse who was down in his stall.
He heard my weak purring, he held up the light.
Twas then that I knew what meant love at first sight.”
As Tommy got up in years, his longevity began to be celebrated at birthday parties that became sought-after soirees in Seneca Falls. When he turned 21, 500 people received invitations to mark the occasion.
This was no impromptu gathering. According to Jans-Duffy’s article, a committee was formed to coordinate the evening, which included entertainment and a clever menu featuring a Tommy Clark cocktail, Rat-killer soup and Whale Steak. More than 4,000 birthday greetings were sent to Tommy, one from as far as Hollywood, Calif.Read on: http://www.fltimes.com/lifestyle/charism...ae0c692d47.html