Allen Nose went to the pound for a dog. He left with a cat.
In the 16 years he and his cat have spent on the road since that day, Nose knows: “With a dog you’ve got automatic loyalty. With a cat, you’ve got to earn it.”
And earn it he has. With his cat, George, riding shotgun with him for so long now, the way Nose sees it, “it’s just him and me.”
Nose and George needle each other like good friends do. “I’ll give him a poke,” Nose says. “When he gets mad, he stinks the truck up. The litter box is his favorite tool. But he keeps me from going insane.”
Nose is one of several people with CDL permit jobs who like having their truck cats with them on the road.
Beth Cunningham Murray and her husband, an over the road owner operator, ride with a cat, too. “He’s Tucker, the trucker kitty,” she says. “We love having our little boy with us.”
The couple got Tucker from a friend shortly after he was weaned last May. “I’ve never seen a cat that likes driving so much,” Murray says. “Usually cats are skittish. Not this guy. He’s right out there.”
Truck cats bring comedy to long drives
Lynn Barrier Secrest jokes that she is the only “two-legged critter” on her truck. “I got a zoo on my truck,” she says.
Well, not quite. But she does have a cat named Elvira and two Boston terriers. Secrest got Elvira as a kitten. That was nearly two years ago. Now when Secrest takes her dogs for a walk, Elvira keeps a close eye on them from the truck. If they go out of Elvira’s eyesight, the cat doesn’t like it one bit.
“She worries,” Secrest says. “As long as she can see us the whole time we’re outside, she’s OK. Otherwise, she meows like crazy when we get back to the truck.”
Secrest, an owner operator with Witchy Trucking out of North Carolina, jokes that if it weren’t for her pets she’d go crazy. “They’re company,” says Secrest, who’s had a CDL trucking job for 10 years. “I couldn’t see me being out on the road by myself.”
Tucker, too, adds comic relief during stressful situations. Like a dog, Tucker likes to play fetch. “You throw a balled up piece of paper and Tucker bounces back to you with it in his mouth,” Murray says. “He’ll bring it right back, drop it and meow.”
Murray loved cats her whole life
“Tucker cracks us up all day long with his antics,” Murray says. “When we stop, he sits on the steering wheel and honks the horn. We’ve told him, ‘Don’t do that,’ but he’ll look you in the eye and lay on the horn. I have a feeling he knows exactly what he’s doing.”
George was abused before Nose stumbled upon him at the Humane Society all those years ago. When Nose opened the cat’s cage, the Humane Society worker scolded him. But it was too late. George already had jumped upon Nose’s shoulder.
“I said, ‘We’re gone,’” Nose recalls.
“She said, ‘No, you can’t do that—’
“I said, ‘We’re gone.’ That cat and I had an instant bond. He watches out for me and I watch out for him.”
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