Meet ‘Dirt’, the Dirty Railway Cat and King of the Engine House

The East Ely Railroad Depot Museum, built in 1905, is located on the grounds of the Nevada Northern Railway, an old relic preserved in time to bring visitors of today to witness a rich history about the Great American Century.

The train cars are not the only tourist attraction here but also an adorable cat named Dirt, who is the boss of the engine shop at the depot museum.

“As tours walk through the building people are just amazed about hearing the history and the stories of the railroad. Then as if he knew it was his cue to appear Dirt just walks into the room where the tour is, or out from under one of the trains and sits in the middle of the group with a sense of pride that only he can have,” social media manager Eric Mencis told Bored Panda.

The engine house is the only home Dirt has ever known. He was born there 11 years ago to a stray cat that wandered in. His mom and other kittens left him as he was scared to come out. The train crews decided to leave a can of tuna every night for the lone kitten, and eventually, he came out friendly to the crews.

The scrappy cat loved rolling around on the dirt floors of the engine house and climb all over the coal pines on the steam-powered train, so the crews named him Dirt.

“Dirt is actually an orange and white cat, but because at a young age he started rolling in the dirt and climbing on the trains, his white fur gets stained gray,” Mencis explained, “At a young age, Dirt learned not to lick himself clean, like normal cats, being part stray he likes to stay oily and dirty because it helps keep him tough looking and also in a sense keeps him clean because things don’t stick to his fur and bugs don’t go near him.”

“Dirt is pretty much one of those old-time railroaders living now as a cat. Dirt walks around the shop like his the boss making sure everything is working right. The type of boss that started at the bottom and worked his way up the latter, the type who knows how hard and tough the job is but has faith that his men can get it done. He walks with a sense of pride around his engine house like these are his trains and he and he is proud of the men to keep them going. He will climb on and walk around the trains, like he is inspecting them, checking to make sure not a bold is loose or that the bearings are properly oiled up,” Mencis said.

Dirt became a social media sensation when the museum started posting photos of him on social media. “I am shocked that he has become famous as he has. I knew he would be popular but not this famous. We do offer Dirt Tshirts, magnets, key chains, coffee mugs, and even his own coffee, and I have mailed his items around the world for people who purchased them on our online store. The biggest thrill of Dirt’s fame is just knowing how much joy he brings to people around the world,” Mencis added.