Cats are being recognized more and more for their ability to help humans whether in nursing homes as therapy cats or by helping kids learn to read. Science has also caught up with what cat lovers already know – that on top of companionship cats provide us with many health benefits. When it comes to providing comfort or stress relief cats are masters at it and we often don’t even realize they are working their magic on us. In the UK Barney the cemetery cat is once such feline who has worked his healing magic on people for 20 years.
Barney, who had been at the cemetery since he was a kitten, originally lived next store with his owners, but after they moved away the ginger tabby kept returning. Barney was eventually re-homed at the cemetery and looked after by the parish staff where he attended funerals and provided much-needed comfort to people mourning their loved ones.
Last Friday the parish announced that after providing 20 years of service to the public Barney passed away from old age and was laid to rest. The Real-Fix reports that one of his keepers, Alan Curzon, has confirmed that Barney has now been “laid to rest at the place where he spent his entire life brightening up the lives of hundreds during their darkest moments.”
Alan tells the Real-Fix that “When relatives and friends have suffered the awful loss of someone close to them and go to visit a cemetery they are not in best frame of mind but Barney was always there to cheer them up… for those who entered the cemetery with a heavy heart, he lightened up the experience for them. When people walked through the gates, he often came up to them and brushed against them.”
Hundreds of tributes have come in for Barney and many people are in tears over his passing. Area residents who knew Barney, and are grateful for his presence over the years, have expressed their thanks.
“Writing on Facebook Debbie Ann Le Page said: “God bless you Barney, remember that lovely sunny afternoon, I laid down on the grass in the cemetery and we cuddled up together for two hours. I needed a friend that day and there you were my angel!! God bless you.”
Sue Falla, whose daughter is buried at the cemetery, said: “I always felt my young daughter was never alone when he was there. Really going to miss you, Barney, RIP.” – via Real-Fix
Barney most definitely had a calling, providing an unspoken and invaluable service to the public, one he fulfilled right to the end. For all the ‘Barney’s’ out there working their magic I hope that his story will encourage more praise and respect for our feline friends everywhere.
RIP Barney, you have earned your wings.