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Cat 'ranch' likely was just a bad pipe dream

As a lover of cats, I was a little shocked when I read the "Mail Tribune 100" column (which I always find interesting) about some people wanting to start a cat ranch back in 1911. They apparently were going to feed them rats, then skin the cats for their pelts. Ye gads! I hid the paper from my cats for fear they would do a bad thing on it if they saw the article. Please tell me those monsters didn't ever start that horrible cat ranch.

— L.S., Medford

You and your felines are purr-fectly safe, L.S.

Our man Nick Morgan, the sharp-eyed fellow who digs into our archives to find those fascinating stories from the past for the well-read column, happily reports he found no evidence the cat farm ever scratched the surface, so to speak.

Nick, who also likes cats, was equally aghast that anyone would contemplate such a business, incidentally.

For other indignant cat lovers out there who may have missed it, the Nov. 28 column revisited a story which ran in the Trib in 1911 on that date. It seems a Col. Frank H. Ray and a Frank Frazier planned to start a cat ranch near Tolo.

Their plan was to raise herds of cats which would feed on rats. The rodents were apparently to be raised on an adjacent ranch. They — the human rats, not the nicer rodents — figured they would get 10 cents for white pelts and as much as 75 cents for the black ones.

Just how they planned to herd the cats was not included in the original article.

We like to think the good residents of our region found the idea as repugnant as today's readers, several of whom also indicated they wanted to scratch out the eyes of anyone who ever thought cat ranching was a good idea.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by e-mail to youasked@mailtribune.com. We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.