The history of the communities of Cactus and Etter date back to the early 1900s. It was then that the first post office in the area was opened, named Kong for reasons unknown. While the histories of these two communities dates back over 100 years, Cactus was not an incorporated city until a 1968 election by a vote of 50-3.
Though not officially incorporated until many years later, the Cactus-Etter area boasted a larger population than that of neighboring Dumas in the 1940s. Helping to grow the population was the Cactus Ordinance Works, which was secured in 1941, and capitalized on the oil and gas-rich area.
There are many notable events in Cactus' history include the building of a major meat packing plant in 1974, construction of a new post office in 1975, construction of a tannery in 1977, the building of the first city hall in 1979 and the construction of a community building in 1984-85. Today that building is used as a branch of the YMCA of Moore County.
In April of 2007, Cactus was struck by a mile-wide EF2 tornado that injured several and damage and/or destroyed about 1/4 of the town. Cactus has shown its ability to overcome adversity in the rebuilding period that followed.
The population of Cactus has grown very quickly over the past few decades. The city had just 644 residents in 1970 and, in 1990, there were 1,529 people who called the city home. The latest census estimates show the population to be 3,186.