By Rob Stayt ©
"Alfie, my cat, was attacked and killed outside our front door by poaching dogs from the farm across the road from us on Sunday 28 November 2010. So the following is a tribute my Alfie."
A while has passed since your untimely death. During this time we have spent many hours grieving your loss. There is a huge empty space in our lives as you were taken from our family. Death is inevitable but we don’t think it was your time to go. You were only four years old.
Bereavement is a painful process, as well we know as we both have endured this pain before. A similar loss was the death of our Clawed, your brave and adventurous brother. Clawed was also a joy to us and we know that he was your best friend. And we saw how deeply you felt his loss. He was only two years old. The same poaching dogs that took your life took his.
When we heard the growling and barking of those hideous dogs we rushed to your aid, but you had been so gravely injured that all we could do was try to save your life. We hurried you to Underberg in a frantic attempt to get you to the vet and save you but you cried and let go this life in my arms while your mum drove us. You knew that I was holding you and you felt it was safe to go. You knew that I was crying and trying to comfort you. We knew you were in a great deal pain but we know now that your spirit is safe from those wicked dogs. We believe you were trying to protect your little sister, Ruby, from the same fate and we recognise you as a courageous boy.
Alf, you were a gorgeous friend and so intelligent. You were fine company during your time with us. You had an amazing sense of fun. Some folks may think it weird that you spent quality time with me in the loo but we were together, us philosophers. Your morning sips of hot water in my cupped hands from the bath helped you start your day, especially in the winter. You were a comfort to us sleeping at the foot of our bed. When your mum brought home a little rug for the bedroom, you claimed it as your own and spent many hours sleeping on it. You were always “at home“ with us in our little house.
Your company in the workshop was a blessing to me while I worked away making toys and covering you with sawdust. Not many cats would have been courageous enough to snooze under the bench saw while I cut wood to size. During the wagon building adventure you were my constant companion. You kept an eye on the progress of the wagon and watched over me, never criticising but just being good company. Our walks with you on the farm were so wonderful to us and intrigued many folks. You were an avid explorer of the outdoors, sniffing and probing the grasslands and rocky outcrops. Not many people would believe that you had walked so far in the hills of Eland Valley with me.
You sat on the bonnet of the truck while I drove on the farm to fetch firewood. You were a good passenger while sitting on the seat of the truck with me. We were extremely concerned when you were on your way to the gate on top of the Telkom truck after the phone was fixed. We had to chase the truck and get you back. You inspected every vehicle that visited our home. I always told our visitors that you were doing a “security check” on their cars.
There are just so many memories. We miss your company on our bed, on our laps, on the windowsill, in the bathroom, lying on your back inviting a tickled tummy and your presence in the family. Our friends all admired you and were so impressed when I would lay your tail along your back, from bum to neck. Not many of your fellow beings could do that. We both think this ability came down to you through your ancestors.
Well Alf, we were so proud of you, even though you came from mixed parentage. You were a blend of tabby and African black-footed wildcat. What a mix! You showed us that you were an unusual friend and you loved us without reserve, as we loved you. Our Ruby misses you but continues to be our little girl. She looks for you when I say your name.
So to you, our Alfie, our good friend, our brother, our family cat and wonderful companion, we say farewell. We love you so much and are grateful you were part of our lives. Big Al, our Fonz, you will never be forgotten, our boy.
Your old Dad.