Thursday, December 27, 2007

Tiger Cat Killed At Glen Road

This story doesn't tell us of the great historical events of the day, but it's just too good to pass up. As for historical interest, it does tell us in passing that two households in the area of Sigourney street had servants in them - an interesting fact in itself. I can only assume that the two officers involved in the great cat-hunt spent the rest of their careers trying, unsuccessfully, to live down the shame of it. Two men, two guns, one kitty. The jokes must have followed them for years.

Mr Nathan Haskell Dole gets a mention here. His name is new to me, but apparently he was a well known author and editor, and friend to the famous. The Tileston family lived at the corner of Glen road and Sigourney street, next to a house my father's youngest brother owned in the early 1960s, so I know the area, and can well imagine the battle with the great beast.

Boston Daily Globe January 10,1907

Killed By 15 Shots

Brick Helps Some Too.

Rabid Tiger Cat Attacks People.

It Frightens a Jamaica Plain Neighborhood.

Done to Death by a Big and a Little Policeman.

A big tiger can, believed to have been affected by rabies, that had recently terrorized the aristocratic neighborhood of Sigourney st and Glen road, Jamaica Plain, was sent to its long sleep yesterday afternoon by revolver shots fired by patrolmen McAdams and Riley.

When Dr Austin Peters, chief of the cattle bureau of the state board of health, who lives in the vicinity, learned of the rabid cat, he had the body taken to his residence, and tomorrow will have an examination of the head made to determine if the cat had rabies.

For the past two days the tiger cat, said to weigh more than 20 pounds, has been prowling about the neighborhood and acting like a wild cat. It had no fear of attacking man, woman or child, and it is said a number of children have been bitten and scratched by it. Monday night it got into the residence of Cheever Newhall, corner of Walnut av and Montebello road, frightened the servents by its vicious attacks on them and was with difficulty driven out of the house.

Yesterday morning it made its way to the premises of Roger E. Tileston, 82 Glen road, and when Mr Tileston's little boy and girl began to pet it the cat sprang at them. The children's screams attracted a servant in the house, who ran to drive away the cat, but she was glad to beat a retreat, taking the children with her into the house.

Mr Tileston, too, was attacked by the cat when he attempted to drive it out of the yard in front of his residence. Later the cat sprang at a woman who was walking on Glen road.

Two Policemen Detailed.

The police were told about the cat and patrolman McAdams, one of the biggest men in the department, and patrolman Riley, who is not more than 5 feet 4 1/2 inches in height, were sent out to find the cat and secure it if possible. After skillful gum-shoe work they discovered the cat on Glen road, and when the tiger saw the officers of the law it promptly ran to cover under the steps of the porch of the Tileston residence.

There was only one exit from its hiding place and that was the hole by which it entered. So big Jack McAdams and little George Riley proceeded to lay in wait. The wait was a long and tiresome one, for the cat refused to leave its place of security.

Some hot water was poured through the cracks of the planks of the piazza, and out through the hole of its place of concealment sprang the big tiger cat. A shot from McAdams' revolver made the cat crouch on the lawn as if about to spring upon the policemen.

Again and again did McAdams' revolver fire at the cat until all the seven shots of his revolver had punched holes in the air without hurting the cat, which crouched and blinked at the smoke from the muzzle of the revolver.

Little George to the Fore.

Then little George Riley pushed big Jack McAdams aside with a knowing wink. Five shots in rapid succession were fired at the cat by Riley, and when the smoke of battle had cleared away kitty was still there glaring at the marksmen.

Then reinforcements were brought into play.

The policemen had used all of their ammunition, and a revolver was borrowed from Nathan Haskell Dole, the author. Before the policemen got back to the battlefield a citizen had tapped the crouching cat with a brick. It rolled over on its back, and received the contents of the third revolver before it gave up its life.

In all 15 shots were fired, not counting the brick.

Dr Austin Peters said last night it was unusual that a cat was affected with rabies, for the reason that they would usually manage to get out of the way of a dog, but occasionally a case of rabies in a cat has been discovered. Whether the dead cat was affected with rabies he could not tell until proper examination of it is made. He was interested to know the cause of the vicious attacks of the cat on human beings, and if rabies was the cause of its unusual actions, and that would be determined today at the laboratory of the board of health.


  1. Do you understand anything about what rabies is? People who are bitten by a rabid animal DIE in quite a horrible way, and there's still no cure once the symptoms of the disease start manifesting.

    I am quite certain that the officers who killed the cat were thanked for their action, not ridiculed by aw-the-poor-widdle-kitty types.

  2. Rabies is nasty, serious stuff, but the tone of the article was definitely sarcastic.