Nine lives legend put to the test in Mount Pleasant


Dr. Joel Ryon was headed for Mt. Pleasant’s swimming pool for a workout. He is a triathlete having competed in Ironman triathlons and also the Boston Marathon. It was his day off from his busy hospital schedule and he was looking forward to a little water therapy and a good mile-long swim.
He passed a dead animal in the road and thought it was a rabbit. However, as he passed the dead animal, he saw a few tummy stripes and thought it might be a kitty. The


Ryons had been missing one of their cats, Tonks, for about a week. “Uh, oh,” Joel thought. “I wonder if that’s Tonks?”
The Ryons have four cats, two of them named after Harry Potter characters, Tonks and Lupin. George and Shadow, Joel’s work-out-room cat, round out the foursome. Tonks, Lupin and George are 100% outdoor cats.
Joel turned his car around and went back for a look-see. Sure enough, it was a cat and there was a tan-colored spot on its head like Tonks. Joel felt bad for Tonks, but at least they would now know what happened to to her. Joel returned home and got a pair of gloves and a sack. He scooped up Tonks and took her home.
He summoned his wife, Heidi, and their two kids, Abby and Luke, and informed them that he had found Tonks. It was a sad event, but there was only one thing to do. They buried poor Tonks. They dug a hole at the bottom of the hill south of their house and laid Tonks to rest. Heidi reached forward and touched Tonk’s tummy. Both she and Abby had a little cry fest, but it was over.
All four of the Ryons’ cats are stray cats that followed them home from the nearby Old Thresher’s grounds. They take good care of the strays, have them spayed and neutered, and feed them daily.
A few days later, at 10:00 o’clock at night, Heidi went outdoors to bring in the cat food. If they don’t bring the cat food in at night, raccoons get into it. She called, “Kitty kitty!” Out of the corner of her eye, she saw a gray cat slinking toward the house, like a thief in the night. “Another stray,” she thought. As the cat got closer, it looked awfully familiar. There was that tan spot in the center of its head. The cat meowed a hello. It was Tonks! Heidi let out a scream, scooped Tonks up and hollered for Joel. Joel appeared and said, “Well, I’ll be darned. We must’ve buried someone else’s cat.”
Heidi hurriedly text her daughter, Abby, who was at cross-country camp. Abby, like her father, is an athlete and state champion cross-country contender. Abby was in her bunk and wondered why in the world her mother was texting her at 10:00 o’clock at night. When she saw the good news, she let out a scream to the other girls. “Tonks is alive!”
The news of Tonk’s “resurrection” went out over social media. One tongue-in-cheek suggestion was that they should dig up the dead cat, put it back out on the road, so that the rightful owners might see it and know what happened to it.
If anyone on the south side of Mt. Pleasant is missing a gray tiger cat with a tan spot on its head, contact the Ryons.

Have a good story? Call or text Curt Swarm in Mt. Pleasant at 319-217-0526, email him at or find him on Facebook. Curt’s stories are also read at 106.3 FM in Farmington.

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