Exciting News for the Nevada Northern Railway’s ‘Boss Shop Cat Division’ with Adorable Mews!

For fifteen years, a rough-and-tough tomcat named Dirt was the Boss Shop Cat at the Nevada Northern Railway. He was born a runt and was the only one in his litter to remain at the railway. Yet, over his lifetime, Dirt became famous worldwide. He helped draw thousands of visitors to the town of Ely.

It’s not the first time a cat brought incredible prosperity to a railway. For example, who can forget Tama, the cat from a railway in Japan credited with saving it? Saving a cat could bring luck in ways you couldn’t have imagined.

From a glance, you can see that Dirt had a unique charisma that made him unforgettable. He also brought out the best in those around him and made each day brighter, despite all the coal dust.

Dirt, Nevada Nothern Railway, Boss Shop Cat Division, Dirt, DJ, R2D3, Kennecatt, Railroad, Caboose, Ely, shop cats, protégés, Museum, steam locomotives, Steve Crise, Bristlecone Animal Aid Rescue And Xpress (BAARX), 1

Famous photo of Dirt by Steve Crise via Facebook.

Since Dirt’s tragic passing in January 2023, his protégé DJ, Dirt Junior, also orange, has been on his own with big paws to fill. 

Dirt, Nevada Nothern Railway, Boss Shop Cat Division, Dirt, DJ, R2D3, Kennecatt, Railroad, Caboose, Ely, shop cats, protégés, Museum, steam locomotives, Steve Crise, Bristlecone Animal Aid Rescue And Xpress (BAARX), statue

The railway’s journey with DJ began when they adopted him from a ranch in Lund. They found DJ after putting out a call for an orange and white kitten in 2020. Under Dirt’s tutelage, DJ blossomed.

Dirt the cat, Nevada Nothern Railway, Boss Shop Cat Division, Dirt, DJ, R2D3, Kennecatt, Railroad, Caboose, Ely, shop cats, protégés, Museum, steam locomotives, Steve Crise, Bristlecone Animal Aid Rescue And Xpress (BAARX), DJ and Dirt

Now, in the midst of another busy ‘kitten season,’ the railway has embarked on a new quest to find a protégé for DJ. Wonderfully, the Boss Shop Cat Division is expanding!

“Since DJ has filled Dirt’s big paws admirably, it’s now time to get DJ a protégé, so he can pass on his training to the next generation,” they shared.

Dirt the cat, Nevada Nothern Railway, Boss Shop Cat Division, Dirt, DJ, R2D3, Kennecatt, Railroad, Caboose, Ely, shop cats, protégés, Museum, steam locomotives, Steve Crise, Bristlecone Animal Aid Rescue And Xpress (BAARX), DJ visits Dirt's grave

Images via Instagram and Facebook/Nevada Northern Railway

Operation Kitty For the Nevada Northern Railway

Both Dirt and DJ were fortunate rescued kittens, a heartwarming tradition that the railway is proud to continue. In a testament to their dedication to animal welfare, the railway partnered with a local rescue group, Bristlecone Animal Aid Rescue And Xpress (BAARX) for ‘Operation Kitty.’

Even before the search began, the crew chose a name for the future rescued kitten: R2D3, short for RailRoad Dirt 3. They were excited to introduce the world to the orange tabby on Sunday morning, May 26, next to one of Dirt’s statues. The memorial overlooks the train station (pictured with DJ above).

Nevada Nothern Railway, Boss Shop Cat Division, Dirt, DJ, R2D3, Kennecatt, Railroad, Caboose, Ely, shop cats, protégés, Museum, steam locomotives, Steve Crise, Bristlecone Animal Aid Rescue And Xpress (BAARX), one kitten

“We have found R2D3, and he is adorable! He was born on March 25th at 1:48 pm, the second kitten of the litter,” they shared.

Nevada Nothern Railway, Boss Shop Cat Division, Dirt, DJ, R2D3, Kennecatt, Railroad, Caboose, Ely, shop cats, protégés, Museum, steam locomotives, Steve Crise, Bristlecone Animal Aid Rescue And Xpress (BAARX), 3

Plans Get Derailed For the Railway in the Best Pawsible Way

In the post, the railway hinted that there was more to come on the story.

“As with most things at the railroad, the best-laid plans of mice and men can derail rather abruptly. And that’s what happened to us, more on that story tomorrow,” they posted.

The next day, the Nevada Northern Railway revealed what they had been hinting at: They also adopted the third kitten in R2D3’s litter! This little one was born at 3:13 pm. And just look at these two! How could they resist?

Nevada Nothern Railway, Boss Shop Cat Division, Dirt, DJ, R2D3, Kennecatt, Railroad, Caboose, Ely, shop cats, protégés, Museum, steam locomotives, Steve Crise, Bristlecone Animal Aid Rescue And Xpress (BAARX), 2

Images via Facebook/Bristlecone Animal Aid, Rescue & Xpress (BAARX)

R2D3, Kennecatt, and DJ

So now, R2D3 will always be with his brother Kennecatt, named after an orange Kennecott caboose. It’s fitting since Dirt once chose to live in a caboose. And adopting a bonded duo is a great idea. Caring for two rambunctious kittens is actually easier than one. For one thing, they’ll entertain each other endlessly and won’t derail their caretakers’ plans quite as much!

“Since they were brothers, we did not want to leave him behind. If one orange and white ball of fur was great, wouldn’t two be better? At least that’s what we told ourselves, so we decided to take both kittens,” they shared.

Dirt the cat, Nevada Nothern Railway, Boss Shop Cat Division, Dirt, DJ, R2D3, Kennecatt, Railroad, Caboose, Ely, shop cats, protégés, Museum, steam locomotives, Steve Crise, Bristlecone Animal Aid Rescue And Xpress (BAARX), two kittens

A  Remarkable Legacy Continues Down the Tracks

Before they start their new adventure, the rescuers are delighted to continue caring for  the duo until they’re ready to join DJ. But soon, they will begin staying with their mentor in the Nevada Northern Railway shop and engine house. And we’re sure Dirt will be watching over the entire Boss Shop Cat Division with great pride.

What an amazing legacy for such a remarkable cat! These two adorable kittens are carrying Dirt and DJ’s legacy down the tracks, making lots of cute little paw prints while doing it. 

“Welcome to the NNRY family, R2D3 and Kennecatt! BAARX is so honored and proud to have been a part of this amazingly fun journey known as Operation Kitty! And no, we are certainly not complaining about Kitty-sitting these two fluff balls until they are ready to join their ‘big brother’ DJ at NNRY!!” the rescuers shared.

Dirt the cat, Nevada Nothern Railway, Boss Shop Cat Division, Dirt, DJ, R2D3, Kennecatt, Railroad, Caboose, Ely, shop cats, protégés, Museum, steam locomotives, Steve Crise, Bristlecone Animal Aid Rescue And Xpress (BAARX), two kittens, 2

Check out the Nevada Northern Railway’s social media for updates on the growing Boss Shop Cat Division on Facebook and Instagram.

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