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Mister Meanor of Illinois
Deputy Jade, of Lumberton, Texas
A stray tabby cat was found by Officer Ralph Goar of the Lindenhurst (Illinois) Police Department over Memorial Day weekend in 2001. He took it to Chief Jack McKeever and suggested that it might make a good mascot for the department, helping to relieve the tense and stressful atmosphere at the station. Although he had been thinking of obtaining a dog for the position, McKeever agreed they should keep the cat, which they named Mister Meanor. 'He adds an atmosphere of family and working together,' he said. 'He softens the sometimes harsh realities of law enforcement in our society.'
Meanor, as he's called for short, has his own ID badge and takes his role seriously, and seems to have a surprising knack of distinguishing between good people and ne'er-do-wells. When he encounters criminals he will 'yell' at them, giving them a good scolding 'meow', for all the world as though he is giving them a piece of his mind. However, when someone such as a lost child needs comforting, he will be there to jump up on their lap and start purring. He appears to sense their high stress level.
When thirsty, Meanor prefers the drinking fountain. He has trained most of the officers to assist him; he will sit by it and meow until someone lifts him onto the platform and presses the button to release the water. As for his toileting arrangements, he shares a bathroom with the chief. He is not without his mischievous side, and has been described as charming, urbane and witty. While not all officers agreed with the decision to keep him, feeling perhaps that he did not present the right image of the police, none is allergic to him and most appreciate him. 'He senses when you are stressed,' said one, 'and he'll come up and ask for a pet. This can be a very demanding job, and he offers a great deal of stress relief.'
Having learned much about Lindenhurst, policing and public safety there, Meanor shares his knowledge with its citizens, who can write in to his advice blog about matters pertaining to the law. The answers given are always correct and helpful, although his wry sense of feline humour is sometimes in evidence. For example, when a person enquired what he should do about a lost pet, part of Meanor's answer said, 'Dogs get lost much more frequently than cats because of limited intelligence.'
Police Cat Jade
Around 2001 a woman turned up at the police station in Lumberton, Texas with a young grey cat with striking green eyes and a mangled right front leg. She wanted the then police chief to have him put to sleep because of the pain he was suffering. The chief refused, partly because of the expense and partly because the woman was not a local resident. However, after the youngster had escaped and been rescued from the engine compartment of the woman's car, things changed. He was taken to the vet's to have his leg amputated and he has been a fixture in the office ever since. He was named Jade, and secretary Linda Hunter has become known as his 'mom'.
Now, Deputy Jade listens for the doorbell and watches the window at the front so that he can go and investigate who's coming in. He likes to patrol Chief Danny Sullins' desk, looking for a stroke and hoping that whoever comes in likes cats and will give him some attention or even a lap to sit on. 'He knows who likes cats and who doesn’t,' says Chief Sullins. 'He even seems to sense what people need. I can have people walk in upset about something, the cat will jump up on their lap and their faces just change. He's therapeutic.'
Jade really does help out when people come in upset. 'People's emotions are often running high when they come into a police station they may even be crying,' says the chief. 'Their anger level just comes down when Jade is around.' The police officers, too, benefit from the cat's calming influence. They all know him and he brings down the stress levels when he goes to visit them in their workplace.
Sometimes his curiosity gets him into trouble. One weekend he was investigating the supply cupboard, but got shut in over the weekend because no one knew he was in there. Another time there was a bit of a commotion at a shift change, and Jade decided to go and see what was going on. When the door was opened he came face to face with police dog Wolf who did not like cats. Luckily Wolf, who has since died, was well trained and obeyed the command to back off, so no harm was done. Jade likes to hang around the stairwell leading to the attic, hoping someone will let him go and investigate up there, but so far he hasn't made it!
(story reported by http://blogs.catster.com/, from Associated Press and the Texarkana Gazette)
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Our featured feline at the head of the page is Socks, pictured in 2003 surveying his 'estate' in the early morning sunshine. Affectionately known as Soxy, he blossomed from a thin and hungry stray into a substantial and handsome cat who loved life and company, and his gentle ways endeared him to many friends. He is now no longer with us, but you can read more from his human companion here.
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