News & Reviews News Wire Dirt, famed Nevada Northern shop cat, dies at 15

Dirt, famed Nevada Northern shop cat, dies at 15

By | January 11, 2023

Stray became a tourist-railroad celebrity

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Dirt the Cat

Soot and dirt cover a tan-and-white cat with think fur.
Dirt the Cat. Jim Wrinn

ELY, Nevada — Dirt, who became a celebrity in 15 years as the shop cat at the Nevada Northern Railway, has died, the railroad has announced on its Facebook page.

The orange and white male cat was adopted as a stray kitten by shop crews in 2008 and became famous for his coal-dust-tinted fur, photogenic nature, and regular appearance during shop tours and other special events. He has been featured in Trains Magazine and on (most recently here), as well as in the Washington Post and elsewhere. His popularity inspired a line of products in Nevada Northern’s online store ranging from T-shirts to Christmas ornaments to plush animals to coffee.

“We are all saddened with the passing of Dirt,” the railroad wrote in its Facebook post. “He will be missed. The machine shop and engine house won’t feel the same without him.”

Dirt will be buried near the railroad’s depot, the railroad said, with a life-sized bronze casting serving as a gravestone. A second casting will be placed in the railroad’s machine shop “so he can continue watching over the shop.”

For information on visiting the Nevada Northern Railway, visit its website at

Check out “The legacy of Dirt the railroad cat continues.”

8 thoughts on “Dirt, famed Nevada Northern shop cat, dies at 15

  1. I saw both Drt and DJ when I visited the Nevada Northern this past August.

    He lived a long life for an outdoor cat in such a tough environment.

  2. I am sad for your passing Dirt. I always loved cats. I visited Nevada Northern a couple of years ago, can’t remember seeing Dirt.

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