CAT'S NINE LIVES
AN ARTIST FOR ACTION
"The Activist Cat"
"Yeah! Woman Power! We can do it!"
Molly Ivins, a former activist and voice of the civil rights movement, is one of Cat's heroes. The women's march reminded Cat of one of Molly Ivins' columns that said, "We are the people who run this country. We are the deciders. And every single day, every single one of us needs to step outside and take some action to help stop this war. Raise hell. Think of something to make the ridiculous look ridiculous. … We need people in the streets, banging pots and pans and demanding, 'Stop it, now!'
"The Cougar Cat"
"When you see a mountain lion in person you'd never want to hurt it."
Prior to her move to Australia with her husband Steve Irwin, Terri Irwin lived in Eugene, Oregon. She and Cat were good friends and fellow environmentalist. Terri's love for animals drove her effort for wildlife rehabilitation and led her rescue of Melina, a mountain lion that soon became the activist's "spokes-cat," as Cat calls her.
"Has anyone ever given a mountain lion a flea bath?" Cat wonders.
"The Llama Pajamas"
One winter, Cat got stranded looking for Indian Caves up the McKenzie with her dog, Marley, and her llama, Coronado.
"Coronado could smell that there was a swamp ahead that I couldn't see so he just plopped down and wouldn't move. The dog, llama, and I huddled down together in the 32 degree weather to stay warm."
The cops searched all night for Cat after her land lady noticed that she never came home and found her truck near a trail head.
"I loved Coronado. He was beautiful and regal, just like his name," she says in memory of her llama.
"The Perfect Hat"
Last winter, Cat made a trip down to Mexico with some friends, including her college roommate Carol. During her adventure she was on the hunt for the perfect hat.
"We went to a little artist colony town and I saw it. 'This is it!' I yelled. But the girl selling the hat over heard me so she jacked the price up and it was too expensive. I kept walking along and didn't notice that Joe hung back and got the hat for me. I mentioned how I was still on my search and he said 'Well you do have a hat now!"
"I wanted a hat just like this."
"The Ascot Gavotte"
Eliza Doolittle appeared in front of the backdrop as Cat broke out into song, belting My Fair Lady's "The Ascot Gavotte" from heart.
Cat believes that her past as a teacher has conditioned her to be "rather loquacious."
"The Lennon Love"
"John Lennon changed my whole life. I was madly in love with him. After seeing A Hard Day's Night I ran and danced all the way home. They gave me hope."
"The Pink Coat"
Cat's college roommate, Carol, let her borrow this coat during a run in with some bed bugs on their vacation together in Mexico.
"There's something really special about the color pink," Cat says.
"The Yak Herder"
"Hey you yaks!" Cat shouted out the window. "Look, I'm a Republican herding Yaks!"
This coat, given to her by one of her girl friends, reminds Cat of both Indiana Jones and the markets near Sainshand, Mongolia.
"The County Fair Queen"
"Who's the queen of the county fair, the county fair, the county fair!"
As a part of her love for creative fashion and crafts, Cat handmade a crown our of collected beads and gems for the annual county fair. "It's a show stopper," she says. "So many people come up to me and ask to take a picture with me! It's so much fun."
"The Sincere Beauty"
"I want to look sincere and beautiful at the same time. Is that an oxymoron?"
While Cat loves the coat that she got on Carnaby Street in Illinois in 1968, she does not miss the cold winters of her hometown in the Midwest.
"The Movie Producer"
"I look like a powerful gay movie producer"
"The Matthews Posse"
Cool Cat arrived as she placed her funky jean jacket on her shoulders and her Dave Matthews visor on her head. "You can tell its been worn in," Cat says about her beloved hat.
As an avid fan of Dave Matthews, Cat has made it to more live concerts than she can count.
"The Arthritic Pup"
"I've always wanted someone to take a bunch of photos of me in all my clothes but when you live alone all you get are pictures of this dog!"
Cat Koehn sings to the ravens that perch themselves on the treetops that line her property in Fall Creek, Oregon. Marley, her eleven year old Labrador, is always by her side.
Marley often follows Cat everywhere she goes when she's doing yard work or helping out neighbors. Her goal is to attack berries and other non-native species in order to protect Oregon's wildlife.
Cat believes that her regular routine of rigorous work helps maintain her health. Even though she has recently undergone double knee replacement surgery, she still volunteers to travel around to her friends' homes to help them with their yard as well.
Tucked away on top of a hill, Cat lives alone in her eclectic blue home that is surrounded by her diverse rock collection, the singing crows, and her beloved Oregon forest The life of this talkative, vibrant, and intriguing woman is far from lonely.
After having surgery on both of her knees, Cat attends physical therapy to rebuild her muscles' strength. With four small wooden steps leading up to her doorway at home, Cat needs to practice lifting herself up and off of small stairs.
Everyday at 5 P.M., Marley knows that it's time to eat. Along with his dietary proportioned, two scoops of food, Marley has to take two pain pills to manage the discomfort in his legs. He has arthritis in his two front legs and recently had surgery on both of his back legs.
As an avid collector of trinkets and treasures, Cat’s home is filled with stories. In 1984, Cat set off for a road trip that took her from her girl friend’s home in Arizona up the Pacific Northwest coast in search for work. She spent the trip getting by with barely enough money for gas, sleeping on couches and in spare bedrooms of her friends’ homes along the way. By the time she made it to San Fransisco, Cat had $10 for her last stop. Instead of spending it on a bed to sleep in and the gas that she needed, she stumbled upon a tea pot at a Goodwill that she could not let go of. Now her $10 tea pot sits proudly on her Oregon home’s counter top.
Cat displays her “pussy hat” on top of her wooden antique clock so that everyone that enters her home will know that she is a proud feminist and activist. Her close friend knitted the hat for her by hand.
When Cat first arrived in Oregon, she volunteered for the Cathedral Forest Action Group, an early group centered around the protection of the Old Growth trees. Autobahn sponsored Cat's Old Growth maps for the Forest Conservation Council's effort to show congress that the forest industry had over cut national forest land by 90% for personal profit.
A true fan and lover of Dave Matthews, Cat has attended more of his concerts than she can remember.
Cat daydreams of her next Dave Matthews concert and holds up the skirt that she plans on wearing so that she can show off her newly straightened, sun tanned legs. "I've already got my ticket for Labor Day!" Cat says.
Cat worked her way through college selling clothes in several different stores, which seems to have started off her clothing collection. "I can look at a whole line of clothes by looking at the fabric, the work, the details in the patterns and tell you which is a steal. It's so easy to get people clothes for presents because I can find stuff for five dollars that was originally like $100!."
"Every first Friday of the month we try to get together for drinks as a way to network and talk about local movements," Cat says. Members of 350 Eugene and other activists within the community gather at Falling Sky Brewery to discuss pressing issues within the environment. "You have to be an optimist to be an activist in my opinion," Bernadette Bourassa says, "Try to remain positive and don't spew negativity."
Cats environmental work has her advocating for native rights down the Willamette. "The natives are the human victims in the salmon crisis," Cat says. "They got completely screwed over." Artist 4 Action member and spiritual warrior, Lana Jack, and Cat created a vibrant "Water is Life" cape in protest of the Dakota Access Pipeline.