Obituary: Joey the Garden Cat
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.