BERKELEY (KPIX 5) — A kleptomaniac cat named Darwin who became something of a North Berkeley legend and online celebrity for snatching items for area homes was being mourned Monday, almost a week after being fatally struck by a car.
From the moment Karen Flynn took in a small feral kitten, she knew he was a bit different.
She named him Darwin because he seemed determined to be naturally selected out of the gene pool.
“He’d bring me thumb tacks and razor blades and broken glass,” remembered Flynn.
But about four years ago, she realized the truth about Darwin. He just loved bringing stuff home to her.
It started with leaves and then moved on to wrappers and gloves and the occasional slipper; up to seven or eight new items per night left at her bedroom door.
“He probably went through a few months of junk mail, He was really big on stealing junk mail, said Flynn with a laugh. And mail mail too, so there were a few things, you know, return to sender.”
Darwin collected much stuff that Flynn rigged up a motion activated camera to the bathroom window of her Berkeley home just to document the adventurous cat’s deliveries.
People seemed to love seeing what the cat dragged in, so Flynn created a Facebook page and posted photos of his latest haul. She would save the posts for times when the nightly news was depressing, just to cheer people up.
But then, about 3 weeks ago the deliveries stopped, almost as a sign that something was about to change. Then, last Tuesday night Flynn heard a commotion outside.
“I heard somebody’s just blood-curdling scream to slow down to a car that sped by. I heard the car go super fast,” said Flynn.
Darwin was hit and killed on the street outside her home. The past week has been hard for Flynn.
“It was rough,” she said.
While it’s not easy getting over losing her quirky little friend, Flynn said the heartfelt responses from total strangers on Facebook offering their condolences have been a real comfort.
“I just thought he was awesome. And to read what all these other people thought of him…it really helped me through it,” Flynn said. “It was pretty great.”
Karen has other cats, but none of them are quite like Darwin. He will be missed because, along with all the junk mail and other items the cat pilfered, he also managed to steal a heart