In our continuing series of CWA members sharing stories of their cats, we have an inspiring tale from Jonny Payne and his cat, Little Man, the not so little military mascot and adventure seeker.
Have a cat story you’d like to share? Query the CWA blog editor, Layla Morgan Wilde at firstname.lastname@example.org
God Save Little Man!
By Jonny Payne
That is exactly what I prayed aloud during Little Man’s ordeal back in 2012, not once, not twice, not even three times, but on four separate occasions.Little Man was born in a barn somewhere in rural Nebraska on or about April 1, 2002, and was promptly stepped on by a horse. The fact that he was uninjured should have been a clue to his nature. I got him about 5 weeks later while I was still an officer in the United States Air Force and stationed at Offutt Air Force Base in Omaha. The connection between us was immediate.
Just before he reached one year of age, he was declared mascot of my military unit. That was about the same time I discovered that Little Man had a thing for garages. In fact, he was right there next to me while I turned wrenches during the restoration of the first car I ever owned: a 1972 ‘Cuda. In no time at all I became well known for telling daily stories about two things: my ‘Cuda and Little Man. And not necessarily in that order.
Over the years, we became closer and closer. We even had our own “man cave” where we piled up in a double-wide recliner and watched Star Trek episodes. Little Man went where I went, and did what I did. Our bond was so strong that, if I went away on a business trip, I had to call and talk to Little Man while my wife, Caroline, held the phone down to him. Otherwise, he continually paced through the house crying for me.
Then on Labor Day 2012, something terrible happened. Around mid-day, Little Man was fine. Within hours he was at death’s door—and no one knew why. Over the next several days, a couple of theories developed based on various clues, and one of them involved the possibility of criminal activity. Little Man spent sixteen days at Catisfaction Cat Clinic in Madison, Alabama. Miraculously, he came home on the seventeenth day.
I wrote and published a book about our lives titled, Mighty Little Man: My Story, His Story, Our Story, which includes the whole story of what happened. But one of the most amazing things about Little Man’s story is something I did not come to understand until a few weeks after the book was published. During that terrible ordeal in September 2012, Little Man was subjected to many, many tests. If his test results were to be believed, Little Man’s condition was “incompatible with life.” Yet, the picture of his eyes on the front cover of my book was taken about one year after his return home. I’m inclined to believe that God saved Little Man.
Bio: Jonathon Scott “Jonny” Payne is a retired US Air Force lieutenant colonel and currently works as an engineer for the US Army. He and his wife, Caroline, live in Madison, Alabama, with four of the most spoiled-rotten cats in the entire world. He is a graduate and member of the USAF Test Pilot School Alumni and a professional member of the Cat Writers’ Association. He has been featured on local television in north Alabama twice and in three major newspapers within the state in which one article was titled, “Super-cat Inspires Grown-Up Cat Book.”
Jonny has written and self-published one book, Mighty Little Man: My Story, His Story, Our Story. His book is available on Amazon and on his website at MightyLittleMan.com He also has his own Blog and Little Man Facebook page.where you can follow his latest adventures.