Alvin the cat, celebrated Bird Rock hoarder, dies at 20

Alvin the cat not often encountered a piece of community debris he wouldn’t consider to provide house to his baffled human beings in Fowl Rock. Day immediately after day, month soon after month, calendar year after year he grabbed very significantly anything at all he could get his mouth around.

There had been sweet wrappers, coffee cups, toddler socks, plastic bottle tops, rubber gloves, stuffed animals, wadded up parts of aluminum foil — so many 1000’s of things that his owner entered some in that yearly showplace of quirky collections, the home and passion show at the county good.

1 year, Alvin gained a ribbon.

“It never finished, till he couldn’t wander any more,” mentioned Merrie Maino, the befuddled but eventually grateful receiver of all the largesse.

Alvin died Feb. 4. He was 20.

His strange wanderings, highlighted 2 times in front-page Union-Tribune characteristics over the decades, commenced not long just after Maino adopted him from a shelter in August 2004. (She termed him Alvin since his gray fur and fluffy tail reminded her of a chipmunk.)

At very first, she and her spouse, Tony, didn’t know exactly where the junk was coming from. One particular day they read the growl cats make when they’ve captured prey, and there was Alvin pushing by the cat doorway with a piece of pipe in his mouth.

A thing in their amused reaction have to have inspired him to continue to keep heading. “Bringing a current is a cat’s way of stating, ‘Hey, I really like you,’” animal behaviorist Arden Moore explained to the Union-Tribune. “As prolonged as he’s not stealing the auto keys, she must be thrilled.”

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Neighbors’ house-reworking tasks had been fertile searching grounds: Packets of screws, wads of insulation, duct tape rolls, instruction pamphlets. Then, just after the work acquired done and the neighbors moved back in and unpacked, Styrofoam peanuts appeared by the dozens.

Maino threw the stuff into the trash. Then a design employee recommended coming into it in the honest, in the collections show.

That is exactly where people today fill glass exhibit instances with all method of Americana, oddball slices of pop tradition, heritage and humor that say some thing about our time and put. It is postcards, paper weights and potato peelers. Mattress pans, bobby pins and Betty Boop. License plates, laundry lint, getting rid of lottery tickets.

And Alvin. Maino exhibited his selection in 2007 below the heading “Look What the Cat Dragged Residence.” It was a strike with fairgoers. She entered him yet again in 2017 and the judges awarded an honorable mention ribbon.

Alvin the cat, celebrated Bird Rock hoarder, dies at 20

Alvin’s collection at the county fair in 2017.

(San Diego Union-Tribune)

By then, he’d introduced dwelling what Maino approximated was more than 5,000 items of this and that. He acquired so prolific that she warned neighbors to close their garage doorways and design employees to roll up the home windows of their parked vans. He was noticed looking within Dumpsters, less than houses, in storage sheds.

One woman who identified a bra lacking from a backyard laundry line right away suspected the cat. “If he stole it,” Maino instructed her, “he did not bring it household.” Yet another neighbor who noticed Alvin sitting down on a tractor reported, “I imagine he’s striving to determine out how to choose it house.”

The Mainos — she’s a retired parole agent, he’s a Superior Courtroom judge — didn’t devote considerably time hoping to decipher what was in Alvin’s head. Generally, he designed them chuckle.

They place his photo on their Xmas card one particular year, on a wall calendar a different. Immediately after he obtained as well frail to leap the backyard fence, they slash holes in it for him at floor amount.

He was fond in his last calendar year of bringing household ornamental bark, 10 to 15 parts a day. Maino collected them in a bucket and distribute them close to the yard.

Also weak at the conclude to wander in other places, Alvin at times picked up a piece of bark from his very own garden and dropped it at her feet.