The other Rastus

I’ve been thinking a lot about our Rastus lately as he struggles to come to terms with Ginga’s return and the other local cats and it reminded me of his namesake who I thought I would tell you about. Kiwis will know of him and his owner Max Corkill and some Canadians may too as they started out over there.

Rastus and Max

Rastus was a motorcycle riding cat. The name Rastus is traditionally a black cats name and Rastus was a silky jet black cat, sleek and perfectly shaped for riding on the fuel tank of Max’s motorcycle. He wore a little black motorcycle helmet, made especially for him, and at Christmas Max would dress at Santa Claus and Rastus would don a helmet with red antlers. They had a joint cheque account (Rastus signed with his paw) and he was fond of a drink of tea (milk, no sugar) in a cup and was not pleased when you took the cup away. They rode around the country fundraising for charities. After a while Max met a woman, Gaynor Martin, who joined them on the bike as they did good deeds and spread a smile at the same time.

Sadly, as is often the way with these stories, it didn’t end well. In early 1998 their motorcycle was hit by a car and all three died instantly. Max and Rastus shared the same coffin and were cremated together. Even last night 11 years after their deaths the thought of that wonderful little black cat perched on the motorbike brought a smile and a tear or two to my eyes.

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7 Comments

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7 responses to “The other Rastus

  1. What a neat story and a great namesake for your own Rastus

  2. Cat

    That is so tragic, I knew of them, but was overseas at the time and never realised they were all killed in a motor accident! I have tears in my eyes reading your story…

  3. What a great cat and great photo! Rastus is a cool cat name, and it’s really interesting to hear the story of the original Rastus. I thought you were going to say that Rastus freaked out when Gaynor entered the picture — I didn’t think they were all going to die! What a sad story.

  4. Kim

    great name with a great story!

  5. This is a story of Kiwi culture that I’ve not come across before – wouldn’t it have been great to have seen this?! Such a sad ending 😦

  6. bookwormbethie

    “kiwi”???? is this what y’all in NZ call yourselves???

    also, very cool and interesting to hear about the original Rastus. very sad ending though.

  7. Zed Juan

    met them both at the Vancouver motorcycle show one year…Noticed Rastus first sitting on his bike wearing his helmet. They had some great stories and we were sad to hear of their passing.

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