Beware this safety patrol cat

Typically, cats only make it online when they’re adorable and can’t spell.

The subject of this post is not particularly adorable, but he probably could spell — and that’s been enough to earn him a pile of headlines in recent days (see Yahoo, Huffington Post, and ABC News, among others). And so I feel obligated to warn the internet — indeed, all humanity — of his danger. Take it away, Tri-City Herald:

Twice a day, every weekday, a large black cat named Sable trots from the garage where he lives to a nearby street corner in West Richland.

He plops down in a patch of grass and watches as children cross the street to and from Enterprise Middle School, earning him the nickname “the crossing guard cat.”

Now, when I say Sable could probably spell, I mean this cat is a Frick-en genius. My cat is indignant every single time he gets locked up for the night, and then spends a while meowing and scratching at the door as if that has ever gotten him out. Listen, Oban, maybe if you were smart enough to eat at the next-door neighbor’s, and didn’t reliably fall for the “come downstairs for dinner” trap every. single. night. then maybe you’d manage to occasionally avoid the dungeon. But of course, you never learn. Sable, on the other hand:

Sable typically arrives at the corner about five minutes before the children — and he stays in on the weekend when children won’t be in school.

The article doesn’t address what Sable does on holidays or over the summer, but at this point I wouldn’t be surprised to learn he’s got the calendar down too (even if he doesn’t appear in any 785 cat calendars available on Amazon; for the record, that’s 250 more than there are dog calendars, probably because 99% of dogs don’t speak English). At the very least, I imagine he figured out when it’s Halloween.

But what makes Sable so intelligent? Is it that he goes to school every day? Or is it something more ominous?

I know you’re dying to see him — and, don’t worry; I know you can’t mention cats on the internet without providing a picture — so here’s what he looks like:

sable

Holy crap, that cat is fluorescent!

According to owner Tamara Morrison, Sable is wearing a neon safety vest she bought for him at a pet store. But that innocent-sounding explanation doesn’t fool me; I know when I’m dealing with atomic numbers much greater than 10. There’s only one possible explanation here: Sable is bright orange because Sable is a radioactive mutant.

That might sound far-fetched, but consider: Sable lives in Richland, WA — and since that probably doesn’t mean all that much to you, allow me to provide a little background.

Richland was a tiny farming town until 1943, when the U.S. government bought up an area half the size of Rhode Island along the Columbia River and expelled everybody living there. By the end of World War II, Richland’s population had passed 25,000 — an increase of over 830% in almost exactly two years (or an increase of infinity if you start counting after the original residents had been expelled and before the new ones had a chance to move in). The land the city was built on — indeed, the city itself — was owned by the government. Housing, public transportation, light bulbs, trees — all provided by the federal government.

But Richland was not some ironically-named experiment in collective living. Richland was the home of the military engineers who built the first atomic bombs while working at the Hanford site, 25 miles and directly upriver from their homes. For this one, I’ll just quote Wikipedia directly:

The Hanford site represents two-thirds of the nation’s high-level radioactive waste by volume. Today, Hanford is the most contaminated nuclear site in the United States and is the focus of the nation’s largest environmental cleanup.

Richland (technically the Tri-Cities, of which Richland is the closest to Hanford) is nicknamed the Atomic Town, and is home to the Atomic Ale Brew Pub, the Atomic City Roller Girls, the Atomic Ducks Dive Club, the Atomic Salmon Derby, the minor league baseball Dust Devils (formerly the Atoms), the Atomic Co-Operative (only in Richland can an organic food market call itself “Atomic”!), the Atomic Bowl, the Atomic Cup — and now, an Atomic Cat. Memorizing the calendar is probably the least of Sable’s mutant powers.

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