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Mystery

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The Observer's pal Mr. Photographer is the hardest working man in show business, a one-man operation who handles photography for not only the Arkansas Times but several other publications publicated by the Arkansas Times, plus freelancing and concerts and product photography and probably a secret trove of brilliant and soon-to-be-world-renowned mime portraits that will only be discovered when they lay him in the clay. Thing is, the dude is busy as a company store on payday — click, click, click, smile!, click, click, hold it, click — and it has been like that the whole 15 years he's been at the paper.

Recently, our pal took to Dr. Zuckerberg's Electric Tome of Faces to share the story of a cat that recently intruded on one of his busy days.

The Observer gets up to sharing dog stories around here all the time. What's the verbal equivalent of being photogenic? Whatever it is, dogs are more of it than cats, easier to tell a quaint and charming story about than those moody, stoic and emotionally self-sufficient creatures that seem to tolerate human existence at best. But we digress.

Before we run our pal off the page with our bloviating, it's best to let Ol' Shutterbug take it from here:

"Yesterday was crazy. Had two candidates to chase around for a cover story, had a weird car problem in the middle of it, was trying to get to the office to edit and scan some film and digital images. Really wanted to try to squeeze lunch in somewhere. Wound up getting a hotdog at the gas station, both candidates changed times on me and then I ran home to walk the dog.

"We have a stool for a lawn chair on our porch. I was in a hurry and almost didn't notice, but under the stool was a grey plastic basin. Inside was a pillowcase wrapped around a maybe 1-week-old kitten. It was significantly smaller than my hand. Next to it was a baby bottle, for a human baby, with some milk in it. It was frantic for food. It was getting really hot out and I have no idea how long it had been there, but it had to have been at least a couple of hours.

"There are several strays around, but there were no other kittens and no mother cat anywhere I could see. I knew it needed food, so I tried to use a dropper to get some of the milk in him while I figured out what to do. If left there, our neighborhood has many predators around and it would never be safe. This thing was too little to last the rest of the day on its own.

So I picked up the basin and put it in the car and headed to some friends' house in Cabot. It was a long shot, but their cat just had kittens this week and the mother was nursing.

"On the drive up, he became more vocal and frantic so I stroked his back and head with my free hand while I talked to him to calm him down. I pulled over when I could to try to give him a little milk.

"When I got to Cabot we walked into the room with the mother cat and she immediately sat up, alert to the sound of the kitten's cry. We sat him next to her and she went straight to him and licked his head and back and lay down to feed him. Good golly, he was hungry and weak. Gotta admit: choked me up a little. How do you thank a momma cat?"

We're pretty sure you're doing it right now, pal. Ain't that a man? What's that they say about character, that it's doing the right thing even when nobody is looking? Mr. Photographer clearly has character in spades, and that dear kitten is the beneficiary today. Word around the digital campfire is that Ol' Shutterbug and his lovely spouse are planning to take in the wayward feline when Surrogate Momma gets him healthy, strong and old enough to be adopted. We hear they're planning on calling him "Mystery." Pretty damn fitting for a cat, if you ask us. They're a mysterious lot, on the whole.

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