DEDICATION TO MY BELOVED CAT, SPARKY
Some people feel that losing a beloved
pet can be as devastating as losing a family member or a
friend, while others think that this statement is ridiculous
as pets are just animals. But there are special
animals, just as there are special humans. Animals
such as dogs and cats are capable of showing unconditional
love towards their owners, and they can display great
excitement and happiness when they see you after a parting.
They share most, if not all aspects of your life while they
are with you, compared to most of the people that you know.
My cat Sparky passed away on 14th
January, 2006 at the age of fourteen. I knew that this
sad day would eventually come, for such is the cycle of
life, and for this day I had tried to prepare myself for
some considerable time. Now this day has arrived and
in spite of all my preparations and good intensions I find
that living life without my cat is not at all easy to come
to terms with. It’s as though a chunk of my life has
gone missing. It is hard to grasp the fact that I will
never see her again, and so I am still half-expecting to see
her walk in through the door waving her fluffy tail.
For more than a decade of my life,
Sparky was a part of it. This included the good, the
bad and the indifference. She has outlived two
long term relationships and I don’t know how many short
lived ones that I’ve had during the last twelve years.
It is generally considered that cats, compared with dogs are
more reserved showing less affection, but this was not at
all the case with Sparky! She always knew when I
needed cheering up for on those occasions she would hang
around me for longer periods of time. She made me feel
special and she also made my house a home. As in any good
relationship, our bond grew closer through the years.
The dreaded day of her passing came
only one day before my friend, Denise’s 39th Birthday.
This day my friend Olga and I buried Sparky
The next day I planted a golden cane palm tree on
Sparky’s grave and that tree is now known as 'Sparky and
Denise’s special tree'
This one bright little palm tree, which will grow into a big
flourishing tree, now commemorates two
friendships as well as two significant events
One event being the passing of my beloved cat, and the other
representing the passing of Denise’s last year in her
thirties. Both milestones of life. (2)
Denise and Sparky
The special palm tree
wishes and special tributes to Sparky from friends above and
Let’s now go back to the beginning.
It all started in 1994 when my friend Jennifer informed me
that one of her work colleagues was leaving Brisbane to go
travelling, and he needed a home for his two cats both aged
two. Originally I had planned to get a kitten but now
I decided to inspect these two animals first.
Jennifer’s work colleague introduced me to his two cats,
Sparky and Socks. He explained that Sparky was so
named because she “Is full of life and sparks”. Not a
name I would have chosen for a female cat, but after this
explanation, how could I change it? Though I did have
some fond nicknames for Sparky such as 'Sparkalarka',
'Sparkaroo', 'Creature' and affectionately as 'Monster cat'.
Sparky was a grey, long haired half
Persian, with deep piercing yellow eyes, an owl looking face
and a soft, bushy squirrel-like tail. She was
beautiful. She and I bonded immediately.
I persuaded Jennifer to take the remaining cat Socks.
So, as two independent, single women with no dependents, it
was as though we had suddenly became mothers and our cats
became our dependent children. When I bought Sparky
home for the first time she was a little apprehensive about
this strange new place. She kept hiding in places such
as in cupboards and under tables where I could not see her
and she seemed to be inspecting the place before coming to a
decision. This behaviour changed after a short time, and
instead of her acting like an apprehensive visitor it now
appeared that she was really the actual owner of the house!
was a quick learner! One instance that I recall
happened soon after Sparky first came to live with me.
She jumped onto my bed one morning, with a present for me.
A harmless huntsman spider! As a person who absolutely
hates spiders, whether poisonous or not, this was one of
Sparky’s habits that I changed very quickly! Like most
cats that enjoy hunting, Sparky continued to show me her
prize captures, but no more spiders.
So what was so special and unique
about Sparky? Well, where shall I begin! Sparky
and I used to do many things together. Sunbaking in
the backyard is one example. I would be sprawled out
in the sun, and Sparky would be sprawled out right next to
me in the shade. It must have been a funny sight to
see! She especially enjoyed joining me in the back yard
when I went out to do gardening. She would follow me around
just like a dog. She also liked to keep me company
when I was putting out the washing, and one time, to my
neighbours’ amusement, when my back was turned she jumped
into my tall cane basket that held the wet clothes. She
continued to be a very playful cat right up until that sad
time she became ill, passing away five days later.
During all those happy years Sparky
would always be there to welcome me home. The time of my
arrival home would determine her location. Early
evening, she would be sitting on the back stairs and my
neighbours have commented on the way she would just sit
there, waiting for me to come home. If I arrived a
couple of hours later, she would have moved to the front
yard, and be waiting there. As soon as she caught
sight of me through the spaces of the front wooden fence,
she would start meowing excitedly, even before I made it to
the front gate. During her later years, when I arrived
home late at night, I would find her sitting outside the
front gate, waiting for me there. On those occasions
when I drove home to find her waiting outside, I would stop
the car, pick her up and put her on my lap. Then we
would drive to the garage together. This was a treat
that she loved.
On other occasions when I arrived home
during the day after shopping for groceries, Sparky would
come straight out from under the house and inspect what I
had bought. Rain never prevented her from running out
to greet me. Unlike many cats and dogs, food was never her
priority and often she would leave her food to be with me
instead. She especially loved it if I sat with her
downstairs in the morning while she was eating, but
unfortunately I could not do this very often because I was
usually rushing off to work.
Sparky loved playing games, and one
game I especially enjoyed playing with her was to see who
would have the last word, or in Sparky’s case, the last
meow. It was like having a chat with Sparky, or even a
debate! Most of the time she would win! One of my
friends, Kerry, was amazed at how Sparky would like to chat
with me. Sparky also liked to chat when I was on
the phone, and usually the friend on the other end of the
line would comment, “Is that Sparky I hear in the back
Sad to hear the news....my
eyes were blurry in tears when I read your email to
your niece.....I know how much Sparky means to you.
I am glad that you are able to put your feelings all
down in words and from your words I know that you
are very sad but have accepted that life will move
on without her in a new era for you.
In our Buddhist perspective Sparky
has a been a very lucky cat....to be cared by
someone one who has given her a life befitting of a
human life.....in her past life she must have done
something really good for you and in this life you
are caring for her back.......in her next life she
will move on to a higher realm.....you both will
treasure the time you have spent together....lessons
in life that you have both learn from each other.
I do thank her for being a
part of your life...to share your life in one
wholeness. May she rest in peace.. Will
look forward to the writeup on AusNotebook website..
Meanwhile, pray for peace for her.
Often I would wake up in the morning
and find Sparky sleeping on my bed, for she would like to
come in quietly during the early hours while I was still
sleeping. On the weekends when I had my sleep in and
when Sparky was ready to be fed, she would give me a kiss on
the nose while I was sleeping, in her attempt to wake me so
I would get out of bed to feed her. I would usually
just roll over to the other side, as I never like getting
out of bed to early on weekends! If I rolled over and
had my back to her, she would move to the side I was facing.
She would then go back to sleep too and wait for me to get
up, but she always made sure she was on the same side I was
Sparky also had her mischievous side.
I would often joke with this particular friend by telling
her that I know what it is like being a parent because I
have a cat! My friend has two children and never
agreed with that statement! It was as though Sparky
wanted to prove my point, for Sparky would meow, wanting
attention. But Sparky’s best performance always
happened in the middle of the night. This was the time
when she would find something to bring into the house,
usually a moth or grasshopper, and make the biggest noise
ever, chasing the moth or grasshopper while this friend was
trying to sleep. Thank goodness Sparky generally saved
this type of behaviour only for the occasions when this
specific friend stayed over!
Generally Sparky was really very well
behaved, for a cat! To the surprise of my friend, Sue, who
also has two cats, Sparky knew my limits and she knew there
were strict rules that could never be broken, such as not
being allowed to jump on tables or bench tops. One
funny memory I have of Sparky is when she came home covered
in car motor oil, she accidently knocked over my neighbours
bucket containin this oil and it was all over her.
The guest room was the only room in
our house that was a cat free zone. So every
opportunity she had, such as if I accidentally left the door
of this room opened, she would sneak in, then run out
quickly when she saw me, knowing full well that this was the
forbidden room! So it was a special treat for her if
friends stayed over and left the door open, for she
considered this was an open invitation for her to go in to
join them. Which she did of course! When I walked
people out to the front gate to see them off, Sparky, by her
own choice, would always be part of the farewell committee.
Sparky was a very placid cat and she
tolerated many things that must have been irritating for her
at the time. This ranged from being brushed by me,
even when she had knots to untangle. She tolerated
being washed and she even made it relatively easy for me to
give her tablets to swallow when required. She would
never scratch anyone and was a great pet to have around
This New Year morning of 2006, unlike
most where I usually stay out late, I came home just after
midnight. The first thing I did was to cuddle my cat
and wish her a ‘Happy New Year’. This was probably the
only time I have ever done this. I had no idea then,
that sadly, this would be the last New Year festivity that I
would be able to share with Sparky.