Feline trades alley for celebrity status

Tom often sports his business attire during work hours at the office.

By Cory L. Higgs

On your next trip down Main Street in Stuart, keep your eyes peeled for one of the area’s biggest celebrities, Thomas, the town cat. Thomas was the muse of a recently released book and has built a fan base around town, rather successful for an alley cat, some would say.

He came to us as an unneutered male that was skinny and getting in fights. ‘Tom,’ or his official name, Thomas, was a given at that point — that’s who he was, plain and simple,” said Erica Cipko, who helps manage Tom’s Facebook page and is one of his many personal assistants. “The last name Stuart was necessary because, not only does everyone need a last name, a dignified member of society definitely does. Therefore, Thomas Stuart became the official name for our tabby,” Cipko added.

Tom no longer wanders the streets looking for trouble; instead, he supervises and visits shops and offices around Main Street to make sure all is operational. Before Tom begins his rounds, he is served a hearty breakfast by his wait staff. That is when the real work begins, according to Cipko.

After breakfast, Tom is likely to be at one of several places — the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office, the Patrick County Veterans Memorial Building, a nearby coffee shop, or even a quick stop by The Enterprise office to meow “hello.”

Like many of his human companions, Tom’s hair and nails seem to be getting out of control while the salons are closed.

“Thomas is dying to get back to his friends at Divine Designs; he doesn’t understand why he can’t visit.  Most normal — pre-COVID days — he spends his mornings with us, and most of his day with Teresa and crew down at Divine Designs. The pedicure chair makes a great napping space, and all of the ladies love him,” Cipko said.

Erica Cipko, one of Tom’s personal assistants, helps the feline maintain his presence online, mainly because he doesn’t have thumbs nor the time on his paws to manage his social media pages. He does dress for the occasion and is shown here wearing his tux.

After making his rounds, Tom can be found whiling away the rest of the day while napping at Chris Corbett’s Main Street office. Tom’s kingly bed is in a top-secret location, said Cipko.

And while Tom traded life on the streets to become one of Stuart’s most distinguished celebrities, he didn’t leave his family and friends behind, but brought the whole kit and kaboodle with him.

Tiny is Tom’s “baby momma,” and the couple have two kittens, Ozzy and Gizmo. Each feline has a distinct personality and skill that they bring to the table, Cipko said.

Unfortunately, she added that Ozzy has been missing in action for a few weeks, and the cat staff is still searching, asking for any information that leads them to Ozzy.

“We’d like to warn folks to drive slowly through town, not only to keep them safe but also to stop and love on Tom, Tiny and Gizzy,” Cipko said.

Tom’s assistant said the town cat had a few meows of encouragement during these troubling times”

“Snacks make the world a better place. Make the humans keep them on hand.  Love the ones you’re with, even if you don’t like them all the time, and any time scratches are itchy. Find someone to help out” Cipko said, translating.

She noted that especially now, Tom is fond of another saying: “Keep your whiskers peeled for brighter days. They’re coming.”

A copy of Thomas’ book, signed with his footprint inside, will be available after a book launch is set. Visit “Thomas Stuart Town Cat” to stay up to date with all of the feline shenanigans.





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