One of the things we marvel about journalism of a century ago is how the smallest bit of news could be so newsworthy. Of course, today we have the internet for those small stories. The story of Betty was reprinted in newspapers across the country. She was a train station cat, kept to hunt mice at the Lackawanna Terminal at Hoboken, New Jersey. Betty led the usual life of a cat until January of 1933, when she boarded a train bound for Dover, leaving two kittens behind. Railroad employees up and down the line were alarmed when they realized what happened, and sprang into action to return Betty to her home station.
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The press had a lot of fun with Betty’s story. One newspaper suggested the much-married cat galivanted off to Buffalo to visit a boyfriend, who had sent her a cat-o-gram. Thinking she was an employee of the railroad and thus entitled to ride the rails for free, she put on her fur coat and boarded the train.
Another newspaper said that perhaps Betty ran away because she had been wed too many times. She was tired of caring for kittens year after year, and was in search of an adventure all on her own.
Station-master Byrnes came up with his own reason for Betty’s antics. He surmised that the cat was upset that she didn’t get her usual turkey meal on Sunday morning, because the restaurant at the Lackawanna terminal was closed. She may have decided to jump on the train in search of an open eating establishment.
Whatever her motive was, that evening the one-time hobo cat received a turkey dinner fit for a railroad magnate.