Cue the music from the old television show “Rawhide.”
Shirley Hutchison is in the midst of a full-blown cat stampede. For nearly three decades, Hutchison has daily fed, medicated, brushed and petted the cat herd that lives at Old Cowtown Museum.
“They come running out with their tails in the air when I arrive,” Hutchison said.
She’s known as the Cat Lady as cats come from underneath buildings, out of granaries, across boardwalks — and meow repeatedly.
There’s Virgil, Morgan, Doc, Slasher, Hidey, Surrey, Widget and Ginger, which keeps the mice population at bay on the museum’s farm.
Hutchison’s mission began in 1987 when she was working in one of the Cowtown shops and noticed the museum cats scrounging from garbage cans.
“The cats have to eat every day, and I enjoy doing this,” Hutchison said. “It’s my volunteer thing. Some people feed the homeless. I enjoy feeding the cats.”
She pays for all the food, annual shots and other vet bills. She maintains the cat population at Cowtown at a dozen. Strays aren’t taken in.
Hutchison also volunteers for the Kansas Humane Society and has fostered more than 300 cats through the years.
“You don’t argue with cats,” Hutchison said.
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