Feline Who Made Beeline for Freedom

Ernie the wandering cat may not be living in the White House, but at least he's ensconced with a Republican.

Ernie once belonged to President Bush, who found the cat in a tree when he was governor of Texas. The six-toed Ernie, named after Ernest Hemingway, eventually became a part of the Lone Star State's first family ("Ernie the Cat's Incredible Journey," April 11).

But alas, the Bushes had to move to the White House, which forced a decision on whether to bring Ernie, who tended to claw things like people and furniture. Enter Brad Freeman, big-time Republican fund-raiser and investment banker, who adopted Ernie and moved the orange and white feline to his lush Brentwood Park home.

Ernie, however, had other ideas and quickly disappeared. He was found a month later, in April, wandering the Avenue of the Stars, looking scruffy, but otherwise none the worse for wear.

So, has he stayed put since then?

"Ernie is doing fine," Freeman said. "He's very, very comfortable. I think he learned his lesson when he was gone."

Among other things, Ernie is now an indoor cat and a little on the heavy side, with a new kitten to keep him company. And to keep Ernie from shredding the furniture, he's also been declawed.

"He doesn't mind it a bit," Freeman said.