Nick: New King of the Magic Ranch, New King of the Jungle, New King of White Heron Nature Preserve

My wife and I are no longer an empty nest family. After my boy, Razah Cat, died right before I started going up to Cleveland Clinic for diagnostics and testing, this guy, Nick (the shelter named him Knick Knack) is the last cat out of 50 to pay attention to my wife last Tuesday. When he jumped into her lap after she called his name, there was no way she was coming home alone. Hell, this guy is so savvy and smart, I dare say he could have driven the Prius home were he big enough.

Winner, winner, chicken dinner. Like having a golden retriever puppy inside a cat suit.

Nick never lived outside the shelter. He is 2. He was protective of all small cats at the shelter (bullies beware!) and he appears fearless and has started marking territory accordingly. Very inquisitive about his new surrounding.

This morning, he climbed a fallen tree in the jungle and became King. He also chased a neighbor’s big bull cat from our yard. (Razah’s not around to walk guard duty, so, this guy, Nick, has this already figured out: the high position - just like at the shelter - lets me keep an eye one everything.


1. Find the cat surveying his new domain, feeling the wind and sun for the very first time in his life, smelling the flora and fauna, a world of wonder for the new King of this jungle:

2. Second photo, not as sharp (I want a new camera phone after this) shows how high Nick is. Yeah, this guy is Type A all the way, yet, he’s a gentle giant, a love cat.

This boy and I will be going out on motorcycle trips together. I dare say he and I can take any bar filled with red hats who might want a taste of crazy Liberals. My only wish is Razah Cat could have been present to meet this MonsterCat.


I think of this guy as 99, Aaron Donald, of the Rams. Don’t let that belly fool ya. It’s all muscle underneath. His weight will give him advantage if he gets into it with a python or iguana. And did I mention, his relfexes are like zapped electricity in an executioner’s chair? He’s quick, very agile. (I learned quickly not to brush his tail. When I did, snapped his head back and had the meat of my palm between the fangs at the front of his mouth - never breaking my skin but giving me the one warning, “Nah, we don’t brush the tail.” He was so fast I fell over laughing. He’s tough too: I’ve seen him fall from a 15 foot mark and not feel a thing. Can take a swat or punch. (The best two fighters ever, Sparky was white, and Sluggo was black, so, we get a new top cat who’s orange/red/brown. Nick is bringing fun back and extending our palette of multi-culturalism up here at the Magic Ranch.)

Since he has found us (When he jumped into my wife’s lap and meowed, “I’m going home with you and that’s that.”) it’s as though the guy waited two-years knowing an old guy with cancer and his wife living in the jungle next to nature preserve.

How no one ever adopted this cat is the Mystery I don’t want solved. He chose us. We are his.

Don’t laugh: I think of this special feline as my service cat. He’s done more to elevate my mood than all the drugs I have for pain. This is a match made in another Universe. This kind of thing doesn’t happen often in life. This alien cat stayed put for two-years and waited patiently for the women who would make him exhale a meowed “Just right!” as he dug his big bus-head into my wife’s shoulder and purred like a well-timed motor.


Post Ian, we had a small surge. The dirt road out front was under 6-8 inches of sea water. I think Nick would welcome a kayak trip during our next hurricane - which I hope to see. I love hurricanes. So does my wife. I like the calm after a hurricane. I especially love when the power is out and neighbor helps neighbor, no politics when you’re struggling with no internet, mosquitoes, heat, yada, yada.

Nick will learn all this whether I’m here, or if it’s just him and my wife. I bet this guy would go with me kayaking and I bet he would jump into the ocean.

I haven’t seen such devil dare all in a cat in years and years. And he will crawl up into bed. Snuggle with the wife for hours. Comes over. Gives me nose bumps, curls up on top of me and purrs.

Owns us lock, stock and kayak.

If you don’t have a car or dog in your life, the shelters are pretty full with post-COVID returnees.

Nick has elevated the mood of this whole property, including the wildlife. My wife and I have had belly laughs (and brothers and sisters, that hurts so good with the big C urging you to slow down and be depressed.) with Nick’s curiousity and fearlessness.

This is the jungle. This is paradise. Even flooded, we take it one day at a time and slooooooooooooow down to enjoy the beauty of nature, which is a tonic to me and my new son, Nick.


Congrats on being claimed by a special cat. I’ve had that pleasure and nothing equals having an animal choose you. I had it happen with a horse once. When I went to look at him people were lined up to watch. He was a real gentleman to ride. They told me afterwards that he had run away with or bucked off all the other people who came to see him. He definitely picked me.


At the beginning of my dirt road is the largest horse ranch in the Keys. The woman who owns it keeps buying storm damaged properties, levels them, and turns it into pasture. My kind of gal!

She also has started a riding school and out of nowhere I’ve seen classes of six to twelve little girls riding horses and ponies with their parents parked along the ranch fence taking photos.

It’s great to see young girls learning about not only these horses, but all the wildlife visting that ranch from the Nature Preserve. One day recently there was a flock of Ibises pecking at one end of the ranch. The girls stopped their horses short and took photos.

I wish we could offer this to every kid in the projects of Key West.


Sounds wonderful. How nice to have that right down the road. Getting kids outside and learning to appreciate nature and other living beings is such an important thing these days… getting them to give up their screens for a bit.