Obituary: Joey the Garden Cat

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America's most famous cat has died

Joey the Garden Cat died Friday, August 29, 2014, in Little Rock, Arkansas. Joey was born somewhere in downtown Little Rock to unknown parents. He was befriended and adopted by Larry, the first Garden Cat, of KTHV, and his talents soon won him a spot as Joey the Intern when he was still just a few months old. With the untimely death of his mentor, Larry, he became the full-fledged Garden Cat.

Joey was an active member of the on-air staff of KTHV. An early riser, Joey could be seen during the morning show helping Meteorologist Tom Brannon with the morning weather. He also occasionally assisted with newscasts, sitting at the news desk supplying his comments and an occasional yawn over the day’s news. Joey was an extremely loving cat who soaked up petting from show guests during interviews.

National fame came to Joey when he was noticed by the cable TV channel Animal Planet. John Fulton, show host of “Must Love Cats,” came to Little Rock and filmed a feature on Joey, including interviews and a photo shoot with Joey and the KTHV staff. He was a rising star with more Facebook friends than any television personality in Arkansas. In 2013, his Facebook friends numbered more than 100,000.

Joey’s meteoric rise to national stardom was cut short when he became ill with bone cancer. Renowned veterinary surgeon Dr. Terry Dew of Russellville, Arkansas, surgically removed the cancer from Joey’s hind leg. He survived the surgery, thanks to the skill of Dr. Dew and the expert treatment of his primary care veterinarian, Dr. Bob Hale, but it became a much more subdued Joey who put his face forward to the public. He was forced to cut back his activities, including his appearances on camera. However, he was recently featured on TVNewsCheck in a story by Paul Greely.

Just when it seemed, to the public at least, that Joey was getting his strength back and starting to act more like his old self, he suddenly became ill and was rushed to Dr. Bob Hale at Briarwood Animal Clinic. Overnight he seemed to be improving, but then his condition took a turn for the worse. He succumbed at the age of seven.

Joey is survived by his KTHV family, including his handler and human mommy, Theba Lolley. He was preceded in death by his friend and mentor, Larry the Garden Cat. He will be greatly missed by his family at KTHV and all his friends in the public.

Update September 20, 2014

After a thorough investigation into Joey's death, Drs. Terry Dew and Bob Hale jointly announced that it was a form of feline meningitis, not cancer, that had been fatal to Joey. Dr. Dew said that Joey was cured of the cancer. This is very sad for us in light of the fact that Joey had recovered from cancer only to be felled by a viral infection.

_________________________

The anniversary of Joey's death has passed, and the television station did remember him on the anniversary, I am happy to report.

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Comments 42 comments

billybuc profile image

billybuc 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

Well, rest in peace, Joey! It really is like losing a family member. Obviously, Joey was loved.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida

I'm not familiar with this celebrity kitty , but I'm a cat lover so my heart bleeds for his human family. It's a shame he only had seven years on this Earth. I hope he was put in a special place and a memorial was held for him.


MizBejabbers profile image

MizBejabbers 2 years ago Author

Friend Bill, thank you, it was like losing a family member, and so unexpected. He was on TV acting normal just a few days before.

Bravewarrior, he had such a gangbuster personality before he had cancer. They haven't said where he is interred, but it is probably in the KTHV Weather Garden beside his friend, Larry.


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California

Joey was a beautiful cat, that's for sure. He's the most famous Arkansan since Bill Clinton, and sounds like he has more FB friends than Bill. I never knew Joey but after reading this I miss him. Great hub!


MizBejabbers profile image

MizBejabbers 2 years ago Author

Mel, I think Joey probably has more FB friends than Bill Clinton. Chelsea Clinton's cat Socks was the most famous Arkansas cat, but he left Arkansas never to return, like the rest of the Clintons. Thank you for reading and commenting on our dear Joey.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 2 years ago from England

Hi, such a shame, I don't know anything about this cat because we have never seen him over here, but I feel for those who looked after him, so sad.


MizBejabbers profile image

MizBejabbers 2 years ago Author

Nell, I know. Watching the news feels so empty now. I talked to Theba the first time Joey got sick, but I haven't talked to her since he died. Thank you for commenting.


Nadine May profile image

Nadine May 2 years ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

What a nice tribute to joey the garden cat. Sad that he did not live all that long for a cat. We have a Siamese and she is eleven, but hopefully is with us for several years to come.


MizBejabbers profile image

MizBejabbers 2 years ago Author

Thanks, Nadine. I know, I figured that Joey would live to a ripe old age and keep us all entertained. It really is a shame. Say Hi to your Siamese for me.


ologsinquito profile image

ologsinquito 2 years ago from USA

He was a beautiful kitty. Many people are probably very sad at his passing.


MizBejabbers profile image

MizBejabbers 2 years ago Author

Dear O. I think that Theba took some beautiful photographs of Joey. Her photos show her love for him, too. Thank you for the comment.


AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 2 years ago from California

Aww--rest in peace little cat--sad though


MizBejabbers profile image

MizBejabbers 2 years ago Author

I know, thanks, Audrey. I hope they get a new one.


SANJAY LAKHANPAL profile image

SANJAY LAKHANPAL 2 years ago from Mandi (HP) India

I appreciate your well written tribute. Now a days, the people do not bother even about fellow human beings, and this concern about a cat is appreciable.


MizBejabbers profile image

MizBejabbers 2 years ago Author

Thanks, Sanjay. It is the least I could do for such a beautiful little spirit. He made many people happy.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 2 years ago from England

What a beautiful cat, I love the way you wrote this, I didn't know this cat over here, but animals are as important as people, and this just proves it!


MizBejabbers profile image

MizBejabbers 2 years ago Author

Thank you for the compliment, Nell. I still miss Joey. I wish they would get a new garden cat, but it takes a special cat to want to live there. The cats can get out of the garden, but I think that Joey didn't want to leave. Larry the Garden Cat did, and he got hit by a car (they think).


ubrish profile image

ubrish 2 years ago from Pakistan(Asia)

I love this lovely animal actually i can't spend my evening without my cat ellen.we take breakfast together.


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

Aww, bless his heart. In his short time on this earth, I know that Joey touched many lives and served as a goodwill ambassador. He is a beautiful cat, and I'm sure he will be sorely missed. It's so hard to lose a family member, four-legged or otherwise. I've lost two within the last three weeks. They were elderly and had health issues, but it doesn't make it any easier. We took another kitty to a surgeon today and he may be crossing the Rainbow Bridge soon. My heart is heavy. I'm sharing your lovely hub.


ArtDiva profile image

ArtDiva 2 years ago from Yountville, CA

The spirit of cat never dies. A memory. Still sad losing our companion pets.


Fiddleman profile image

Fiddleman 2 years ago from Zirconia, North Carolina

Sorry to her of Joey's demise


MizBejabbers profile image

MizBejabbers 2 years ago Author

Urbrish, I'm so glad you enjoy your cat. Aren't they lovely animals. Thank you for commenting.


MizBejabbers profile image

MizBejabbers 2 years ago Author

Flourish, I'm so sorry to hear of your loss of two wonderful animals. I hope your third one survives for awhile. I see you mentioned the Rainbow Bridge. When cats (and dogs) cross over, sometimes their soul goes into another cat (or dog) in the house. I've read this in several places, and I believe it because I saw several of our cats through the years take on the characteristics of an older cat that died. Watch your survivors and see if you see any characteristics of the two babies that have crossed over.

We just celebrated our 13th anniversary of the Halloween Day our Tas and his mother came to our house. He was about 8 weeks old and still nursing. He has had diabetes for about 5 years, and we are thankful for every day he survives because we lost his mother several years ago to diabetes. He even comes and gets us when it is time for his insulin injection. Thank you for your comment and you have my sympathies.


MizBejabbers profile image

MizBejabbers 2 years ago Author

ArtDiva, I think you are right. You never lose the spirit of the cat you've lost. I tell mine every day what precious little souls they are. Thank you.


MizBejabbers profile image

MizBejabbers 2 years ago Author

Fiddleman, me too. I miss him. Thanks for stopping by.


ologsinquito profile image

ologsinquito 2 years ago from USA

I'm not sure I put this one on my Crazy for Cats board, which is relatively new. But I'm going to pin it now.


MizBejabbers profile image

MizBejabbers 2 years ago Author

Thank you so much, O. I'm sure that Joey's spirit will appreciate it.


pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 23 months ago from sunny Florida

Awww sweet Kitty ...What a gift he was to those who got to know him up close and personal and to those who got to know him long distance.

I have lost several kitties over the years to cancer and it saddens me more than I ever thought it could. I never became an animal person really till my daughter worked for a vet in her early twenties and began to drag home all kinds of animals for us to care for. Then I was hooked. Now I have my precious Milo kitty whom I have written about here on HubPages.

Blessings and best wishes for a Happy New Year Angels are on the way to you this evening. ps


MizBejabbers profile image

MizBejabbers 23 months ago Author

Oh, thank you for the angels. I think spiritual people are attracted to cats and vice versa. I just wish I could have met Joey. His handler, Theba, issued me an invitation to come down and meet him after I did the first hub about him, but I kept putting it off. Now I'm so sorry I did. Losing him affected me nearly as much as losing one of my own. Love and light and Happy New Year to you.


Nadine May profile image

Nadine May 23 months ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

Wow I have never heard of a kitty being so popular on Facebook due to TV. Lovely post. We have a beautiful and talkative loving Siamese called Sophie and she is twelve years old.


MizBejabbers profile image

MizBejabbers 23 months ago Author

Nadine, I love cats, and I love Siamese. You are so fortunate. The station once a week has animals from the local shelter. Last week they featured a little Siamese kitten. The weatherman's wife called him on his cell phone and said to adopt that cat and bring her home. He did. I was hoping the station would adopt another from the litter, but they didn't. Maybe another stray will take up residence like Joey and Larry did. Larry was their first TV cat. Thanks for the comment.


CrisSp profile image

CrisSp 23 months ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

I wasn't aware of Joey until now and such a pity that he's gone. Farewell Joey. I'm pretty sure he's at peace with his mentor now. This is really very sad and made me miss our Oreo.

Glad to have landed in this hub. Thank you.


CrisSp profile image

CrisSp 23 months ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

I wasn't aware of Joey until now and such a pity that he's gone. Farewell Joey. I'm pretty sure he's at peace with his mentor now. This is really very sad and made me miss our Oreo.

Glad to have landed in this hub. Thank you.


MizBejabbers profile image

MizBejabbers 23 months ago Author

Yes, I did one on Joey while he was still alive and I meant to chronicle his illness but I never got around to it. It is ironic that he was cured of cancer but died of a simple infection from germs that can be carried on the bottom of someone's shoe. Thank you


Elsie Hagley profile image

Elsie Hagley 22 months ago from New Zealand

Beautiful story with a sad ending.

Cats are almost human, with loving care they can react to their owners just as a children would.

RIP Joey.


MizBejabbers profile image

MizBejabbers 22 months ago Author

Elsie, Joey was a wonder! I still miss him. Thank you for reading, commenting, and the follow.


peachpurple profile image

peachpurple 22 months ago from Home Sweet Home

i am sorry to hear that, your kitty looked so beautiful, may it rest in peace


MizBejabbers profile image

MizBejabbers 13 months ago Author

Peach, I can't figure this situation out. I answered your post months ago, and now I discover my answer isn't there and this hub has been shelved. I think some of my other commentors and their posts are missing, too. I don't know what is going on with HP. I thank you for reading and commenting.


Missy Smith profile image

Missy Smith 10 months ago from Florida

This was sad, but I'm so glad Joey found a family in the KTHV news reporters, and the gardens. I feel he probably knew he was a lucky cat, certainly loved very much. I am a cat lover. I won't mention how many I have, let's just say I'm already that famous old cat lady at 44 years old. They live outdoors though. lol...

Your write up about Joey was perfect. It told a great story about him in such a descriptive loving way. Joey was a lucky cat for sure!


MizBejabbers profile image

MizBejabbers 10 months ago Author

Thank you for such a sweet reply, Missy, and for reading about beautiful Joey. I still miss him. I think my original Joey hub was shelved, and I may try to resurrect it. Anyway, Joey was their second garden cat, and now the station seems to have a hole in it. I wish they would get another Garden Cat.


yecall profile image

yecall 9 months ago from California

Awww that is sad. Poor Joey. I love cats. Beautiful work.


MizBejabbers profile image

MizBejabbers 9 months ago Author

Thank you, Yecall. I miss him so much. The station now has a Joey the Cat Says promo for a local animal shelter and shows his picture every time the promo runs. I wish they would get another Garden Cat.

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