Cat Tale

Remember Smokey the Bear and Woodsy Owl?

I bet you do!

I also bet you didn’t know they were college roommates.*

Even less known is the story of their mysterious third roommate, Archibald Sebastian Persian, whom they affectionately nicknamed, “Scruffy.”

Ironically, Scruffy (who was anything but) made his fortune as a model/actor, and yet there are almost no available public photographs of this reclusive feline.

Here are the only two photos still in the public domain:

(Nothing is known about the cat on the left.)

Notoriously, Scruffy’s juvenile trademark always included wearing the blue ribbon, until the risqué adult centerfold for Cat Fancy in which he posed collarless.

After graduating college, persuaded by the success of his friends, Scruffy attempted his own public service campaign, combining both of their specialties (safety tips and anti-littering) into one message.

Give a huff,

Don’t

Leave your puff

Always stub a burning butt.

You may think you’ve got carte blanche

But

Don’t leaf your cigarettes on a branch!

(Meow! Meow!)

Sadly, the PSA proved not only a dismal failure (the number of fires from discarded cigarette butts increased the year of the campaign; the pretentious language and the atrocious pun were both mocked mercilessly on late night talk shows), it also resulted in an estrangement between Scruffy and his more successful friends, who resented the obvious infringement on their campaigns, even though Scruffy claimed he intended it as an “homage.”

Scruffy attempted a swift career change/image makeover and opened a travel agency called, “A.S. Persian’s Excursions” — another disaster, as he was accused of further pretension and an even worse pun. More late night mockery followed.

Soon after, Scruffy withdrew into a life of seclusion. His only media exposure in the intervening years since came (and went) with little fanfare, a spread in an interior design magazine highlighting the former actor’s castle. The snarky title referenced Scruffy’s checkered past: “The Laird of the Manners,” underlined with a blue ribbon.

What attention the spread garnered centered primarily on the artistic representations of Scruffy’s notorious former roommates, Smokey and Woodsy, and whether the three ever reconciled.

(*Because they weren’t. I made up this story to link all these random photos that crack me up — I hope you enjoyed it!)

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