It is with great sadness that I have to report that Monty, The Eclectic Reader’s great bookstore cat and mascot, passed away on Monday, March 1st, after going downhill suddenly. The many stories of his seven years working in the bookstore will become legendary. If you missed the opportunity to make his acquaintance, you truly missed knowing an amazingly mellow and engaging cat, whom many swear was empathic and knew when they needed a spiritual lift or the touch of a paw.
Monty was unique in that he loved everyone, especially big men with beards (frightening to most animals).
He loved children and babies (oh the babies!). He welcomed dogs into the store and was annoyed when that one poodle wouldn’t quit barking at him. He followed people around, rubbed against their legs, sat in their laps briefly, gave kisses, and lay down next to the young ones. One time he lay next to a mentally disabled child for 20-30 minutes. He would follow people, flop at their feet, roll on his back, curl his paws charmingly, and cast his eyes up at them to see if they were paying attention and would rub his belly. If he was ignored he was perplexed. One time he disciplined a drunk for pulling his tail by boxing the man’s hands with his paws, claws in. Monty was an abnormally tolerant host.
Monty, a big 14.2 pound orange male, came to work at The Eclectic Reader during the June 2012 High Park Fire. He was selected from the Larimer Humane Society after an online search for a cat that possessed the friendly “meeter and greeter” personality necessary for work in a bookstore.
With gratitude for all the firefighters who were battling the High Park Fire, and as an homage to Ray Bradbury, who died that month, the orange kitty was named “Montag” after the firefighter in Bradbury’s book Farenheit 451. At the beginning of this dystopian-future novel, a firefighter’s job is to burn books — because ideas only upset people. Eventually Montag wants to see what’s in those books, meets some rebel “book people,” and goes over to the good side.
Monty was also our “fire cat” because of his big paws. The Fire Cat by Esther Averill is a juvenile picture book written in 1960. It is the story of an alley cat who has big paws and wants to do big things, but he just can’t stop being naughty. He tries hard…but. As the story progresses he is adopted by the fire department, learns to be a fire cat, and goes with the firefighters on calls. He learns to control his behavior and becomes a hero in a dramatic rescue. Monty was a polydactyl six-toed cat.
We miss him greatly.
Monty at a live music event.
Monty at a book signing.
Monty at a lecture on the ghosts of Fort Collins.
Monty guarding the kittens at a Fort Collins Cat Rescue adoption event.
Monty, making a dog feel more comfortable in the bookstore.
Monty, relaxing while having a story read to him.
Monty, at Jake’s book signing.
Monty, just hanging out in his bookstore.