Westerlo man outwitted by cat

By Quack Davis

Published November 13th, 2016

Zeke Millinger with his cat Ernie.

WESTERLO — Members of this Hilltown community were shocked and saddened Saturday when a well-known resident was outsmarted by a tabby cat.

Zeke Millinger, 40, lost a battle of wits to Ernie, his 7-month old pet feline. Now friends are worried it could be the beginning of a downward spiral for Zeke and the town of 3,361 people.

“This isn't good," whispered Randall Carver, a close friend of Millinger.  "People already think we are all a bunch of dumb hicks around here. How the hell do we explain this?"

Locals say Millinger prided himself on his smarts since the self-described “country bumpkin” graduated third grade in 1967.

“Zeke ain’t no fool ‘round these parts,” said Bob Toothsbury. “He’s one of the smartest peoples I know and I know folk from Rensselaerville.”

But Millinger was no match for his cat in a staring contest — and that was just the beginning.

"That kit sure can stare," said Bob Hoogs, 94, who heard about the contest through local gossip.

The cocky kitty soon tricked Millinger into feeding him 14 cat treats in less than an hour. The cat feigned hunger and pretended to like Millinger, who agreed to start using Ernie's litter box and ceding his bed to the feline.

"I really thought the lil' feller liked me," Millinger said with a glum expression. 

"Here in the Hilltowns, I reckon, folk don't get a second chance to outsmart a critter once they've been outwitted by that same there critter," Millinger said. “Reckon I’ll have to best ole’ Ernie himself next time.”


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