By CHANSE WATSON
ENAVILLE — Alfie the cat may not be the owner of The Snake Pit, but he certainly calls the more than 100-year-old structure home.
For years now, many of the staff and customers of the The Snake Pit have enjoyed the company of the friendly orange cat who can be seen on any given day strolling about the property or napping on the porch.
“Alfie has been the perfect cat for us — he is friendly to everyone, including kids who want to pick him up or climb all over and around him,” current Snake Pit owner Tom Richards said. “He lives on the balcony upstairs where he has an insulated and padded house and a heated water dish for the winter, but he can usually be found lounging around the porch or sunning himself on the front stairs.”
Alfie’s past is not well-known or documented (due in part to him being at The Snake Pit longer than anyone who currently works there), but it is believed that he has lived in and around the historical eatery as far back as 2011, when Joe Peak owned the place.
Richards said that most of The Snake Pit’s customers love Alfie, but in consideration of the few who do not, the famous feline is barred from entering the dining room. It appears though that Alfie doesn’t mind too much nowadays, considering he now has a family to take care of.
For months now, Alfie appeared to have found himself a girlfriend — a powder white cat now named “Snowball.” The two could be seen together on the balcony and around the building for some time.
Then a little more than three weeks ago, a total of five kittens suddenly appeared from the crawl space right behind the front stairs. The little family can be seen snuggled up on the balcony now, but quickly retreat to the crawl space when approached.
As Snake Pit manager Sannette Robinette works to get the kittens to a vet and possibly find them homes, it goes without saying that the new additions (whether they be permanent or temporary) should be given names. After all, their father is a pretty big deal around these parts.
As for the decision to crowd source names, Richards believes that since Alfie is the Silver Valley’s cat — its the people who should have the final say.
“The Snake Pit is a sort of community center for the North Fork of the river and for much of our end of the Silver Valley,” he said. “In my mind, the cats don’t really ‘belong’ to the restaurant as much as they belong to the community. Besides, the community is already supplying better name ideas than we could have come up with ourselves.”
In the days since The Snake Pit announced the new kittens on Facebook, folks have thrown around several different names.
They include: Snowflake, Ringo, Snakepit, Ena, Rocky, Oyster, Ductape, Storm, Snowman, Ghost, Spike, Blacky, Marshmallow, Peak, Kingston, Hawk Eye, Ida, Josie/Joe (after Josie Bates or Joe Peak), Lucky, Alpine, River, Tater Tot, Gem/Gim, Smudge, Spud, Frosty, Zoltan the Magnificent, Lil Flake at the Snake, Ginger, Schnapps and Ash.
While the future of the kittens remain uncertain, Richards is hopeful that maybe now a tradition can carry on.
“I am actually hoping that one of the kittens will end up sticking around so that we will have a cat around the building long into the future.”
To vote for your favorite name or request a different one, simply comment on the online version of this article on the News-Press website, the News-Press Facebook, The Snake Pit Facebook or tell a staff member the next time you swing by The Snake Pit.