‘Mascot’ cat mimics its namesake

Published 6:00 am Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Robert Johnson was a notorious rambler, ladies’ man, and peoplelover. Some of the people associated with the Heritage House have asuspicion that he might be back in town in the form of a visitingcat.

“When we first got the house, we had a lot of workmen in here,”said Dr. Janet Shriver, head of the Robert Johnson Foundation inHazlehurst. “We had a lot of activity and this cat just showed upone day. He came every day after that, and we weren’t feedinghim.”

The workmen knew they had a new friend when the cat beganbringing them presents.

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“He started leaving mice on the front porch,” said Shriver.

Shriver said she discussed the cat one day with Kim Witt,director of Arts and Education at the Arts Commission.

Witt said, “Oh, this must be RJ. Everything you’ve told me aboutthis cat sounds like Robert Johnson. He wants to be free and wanderaround, he loves women, he loves music. It must be Robert Johnson,”Shriver recalled.

At that point, the cat became “RJ” and he’s become the house’sunofficial mascot. He often meets visitors in the door and willgive them a tour of the house.

“Steven Johnson, Robert Johnson’s grandson, really doesn’t likecats,” said Shriver. “And after meeting RJ, he told me, ‘This isthe only cat I’ve ever considered letting get close to me.'”

But as with everything else at the Heritage House, it all comesback to the children of the area.

“I think the best thing about this cat is that he’s great withpeople, and he’s going to be a wonderful pet for these children,”said Shriver.