Once upon a time (that’s the only way to begin this story), there was a cat.
And one day a few years ago (nobody remembers exactly when, and the cat isn’t talking), the front door to Comic-Con’s office building opened, a FedEx person came in to deliver a package, and hot on his heels was a little black cat.
The cat didn’t stay very long that day, running back out after making a quick circuit around the office. (No cat food? The nerve of these people!) But he came back soon after. And back again . . . and again and again. And after a while it was obvious he adopted us (because that’s the way it is with cats).
The black cat had obviously belonged to someone at some point, because he wasn’t shy around people. But it was also obvious that he had been living outdoors on his own for a while. Sue, our Human Resources director (and evidently in charge of Cat Resources, too), had a vet stop by to look him over, and at that point we found out he was about 8 or 9 years old and even had some food allergies.
After a while, he just became part of our daily life in the office, so we had to name him. Sam, our Exhibits Registration person, suggested Roscoe, but it was me, Gary—the editor of the Toucan blog and the person telling this story—who said there was only one name for him: Mooch, just like the little black cartoon cat in Patrick McDonnell’s Mutts comic strip. After all, he kind of looked like his comic strip counterpart (minus the white face), and let’s face it: he was a mooch. He found himself a cushy place to crash and moved right in.
Mooch remained a semi-outdoors cat while he bunked at the Comic-Con offices. He would sit in the parking lot and sun himself, often on top of someone’s car, and he acted as the de facto parking lot attendant. He also liked the empty planters outside, but he’d be just as content to curl up in someone’s in-box on a desk or quick to take over a warm chair when someone got out of it. He also liked to visit our other offices next door, on the top floor of a two-story building, where Janet, our Guests Relations liaison, worked. And he was welcome in the first-floor office (but only on select chairs) run by a totally different company. He had his own path throughout the neighborhood, which sometimes included—of course—mooching off a local restaurant or two, just like his funny pages namesake.
Mooch was added to our sign-in board that shows who is in the office each day (not surprisingly, he never moved his dot to show whether or not he was actually in) and was given staff badges to Comic-Con in both 2010 and 2011. As you can see from the 2011 badge, we had “discovered” his full name by that point: Myron “Mooch” Moocherson. He never actually attended Comic-Con at the San Diego Convention Center, but we had him covered with his own badge just in case the need arose to call him in.
A year or so ago, Mooch retired from Comic-Con. If you believe that one cat year is the equivalent of seven human years, Mooch worked for us—on and off, but mostly off—for close to 30 years. Rather than a gold watch, he was given another cushy place to crash in his golden years, moving in with our office manager, Ruben, where—we’re pretty sure—he still steals your spot when you get up.