Back Porch stray cats win Facebook fame

Jordan Swanson
Meet The Back Porch Taste Testers: K.C., Big Orange and Little Fluff. These cats lounge around The Back Porch restaurant during most days, greeting customers on the ramp leading to the front door.

The Back Porch in Destin has turned its long-term stay of stray cats into a titled group.

K.C., Big Orange, and Little Fluff are the trio called The Back Porch Taste Testers. These cats even have their own Facebook page with more than 460 fans who follow their posts and post their own photos of the cats after visiting the restaurant.

“They hang out on the ramp most of the day and let people pet them,” said Trey Horton, general manager at The Back Porch.

The cats do not venture into the restaurant.

“They know not to come past the threshold,” said Horton. The cats also have their own “Meet Our Taste Testers” display board near the front entrance to the restaurant. The board hosts photos of the cats with their names as well as their specialty, as a bit of comedy.

K.C. is the “tuna tester,” Big Orange is the “grouper gourmet,” and Little Fluff is the “amberjack aficionado.”

There is a fourth cat posted on the board — Nubs, but he no longer hangs around the restaurant.

The restaurant, located at 1740 Old Scenic Hwy. 98, works with Feline Friends of Destin to support the cats. In exchange for keeping a donations box in the restaurant for Feline Friends, the non-profit organization supplies dry cat food for the Taste Testers crew as well as their other feline pals around the restaurant.

Feline Friends has also spayed/neutered, and administered shots to some of the cats to keep them healthy. The way to identify those cats that have been spayed/neutered is by checking one of their ears for a slight clip in the corner. “Contrary to popular belief, they are well taken care of,” Horton said.

In 2010, the cats were given their title as The Back Porch Taste Testers and a Facebook page was created in their honor.

On a Facebook photo posted of K.C laying under The Back Porch’s bench by the front door, Joan M. Rice writes “These are wonderful cats ... am taking 'em back to Illinois next time! My friend Lisa has an extra cage, too!”

Horton said that there have been feral cats around the area of the restaurant for years. There are at least five cats that hang out around The Back Porch, but these three stand out amongst the rest as the most outgoing with people.

One of the new Back Porch T-shirts in the gift shop even incorporates a member of the Taste Testers in it, depicting one of the cats sitting atop the roof of the restaurant.

“It’s either Little Fluff or K.C.,” said Horton.

He said that the cats are fun to be around and “people seem to enjoy them.”

For more information on this feline group, find them on Facebook under their title: The Back Porch Taste Testers.