It is with a heavy heart that I write this post…an ode to Alice Boo Boyle, the family cat who cashed in her one-way ticket to heaven last Thursday. Alice Boo Boyle, you managed to seduce so many during your 18 year and 9 months on planet earth…even humans who professed to dislike cats.
You charmed many, especially me, and so I sit and write this epitaph to you, my sweet bundle of black fur…thank you for so many wonderful, funny memories…A senior family member said of your passing…’ You were the cement in our family’….Of this I am certain, and your parting legacy and gift to us all is that as family unit, we are stronger for it. Thank you
Alice Boo Boyle, I will attempt to do your life story justice with a few words…18 memories, one for each year of your extraordinary life….detailing the story of a cat who definitely made the most of her nine lives and then some.
For none pet lovers it is OK to check out now….all you need to know is the following- Alice Boo Boyle, the family cat, lived a great life.
1- Alice, we first meet you at the RSPCA. As a family we were heartbroken, our beloved Siamese cat Albert had recently succumbed to kidney failure. It was wintry July day, cold and windy…as at the assistant at the RSPCA informed us ‘ It was NOT cat breeding season’. And so our choice of feline that day was YOU…just YOU.
I was not happy about this. As a teenager still mourning the death of Albert, I thought it was too soon to collect a new pet, that you weren’t interesting enough, too plain looking and ‘not cool’ to have no choice in the matter…On that day it was simply YOU Alice…. OR wait till breeding season started in a couple of months.
Against my better judgement, and after leaving the shelter to ‘think about it’, we went back 60 minutes later and signed the adoption papers. It was there and then that you became Alice Boo Boyle.
2- Alice you were super cute. You fit in the palm on my teenage hand. Your fur was plain black, with a tuft of white fur near your nether region….You had a big personality, huge….and we loved you for it.
You had been with us for a couple of weeks, school holidays had ended. Still grieving Albert’s passing, I came home from school one day, to find the basement were you spend your days empty…you were GONE.
I was home alone, I searched EVERYWHERE….I then resorted to walking around the garden, tears streaming down my face, crying out your name ( which I was not certain you even new was yours!!)
My neighbour saw me…’ What is wrong?’….’ It’s Alice, she has run away’ I sobbed whilst looking at my neighbours scratched legs, claw marks from her ankles to the top of her calves…
Instantly I knew…Alice was with her.
Like a parrot resting on a pirates shoulder, our Alice too insisted this lofty resting perch. For many summer months I wore jeans to prevent leg damage and she clawed skyward!! But my poor neighbour has been in a knee length dress that day, and had suffered.
‘ Alice is safe with me’ my neighbour said, hugging me tightly and handing over the tiny escapee…
Alice Boo Boyle…it was the first of many great escapes!!
3- An extensive appetite for food, there was nothing you would not try…and I loved you for it…
Corn of the cob, spaghetti, tim tams, pumpkin soup, fruit cake, puffed wheat….You were a modern day Dyson vacuum cleaner for food waste…Yet nothing induced a more rousing display of cat like behaviour than when a plate of freshly cooked broccoli was placed before you….It appeared your would KILL for a piece of this green plant….
As one of your admirers remarked at your passing ‘ Keep eating those veggies in heaven’ xxx
4- Alice, you possessed a kind and loving nature…You were our only family Pet who did not kill another ‘family’ member!
Albert managed to do away with Bruce ( Number One) the bird, Marmalade the mouse and her litter of nine…Bruce ( Number Two) committed suicide, taking his own life, drowning himself in the washing up water….
But Alice Boo Boyle, you let ‘family’ members not only live, but thrive!!
Milo and Elle the budgies lived happy long lives…Bart the fist enjoyed 5 long years in a fish tank, before he too saw it fit to take his own life….
The animal world loved you….no more so that a blind, overweight poodle.
5- Alice and Claude the Poodle. An unlikely love match ( no doubt Claude greeted you with a big smooch at the pearly gates of heaven last week!!)
There is truth in the saying love is blind….I have seen it with my own eyes….Alice was a cat, Claude a dog. Alice was black, Claude ,white. Alice had use of her vision, Claude was blind. …and the rest as they say is history.
Alice and Claude sitting in a tree
First comes love, then comes marriage
Then comes a baby sitting in a carriage
Heaven is richer now for you both call it home
Paw entwined in paw, forever you shall roam
6- Alice you inspired to Arts. I dabbled with the idea of capturing your beauty in my Year 12 major assessment piece….But the medium of paint, charcoal or pastel could not do you justice…You personality was too BIG…So I abandoned this idea and did something mediocre…
You often posed for Christmas portraits, and when my brother took up photography classes you became his ‘muse’ …You where a beautiful subject to photograph…Striking, making the camera work for you, with the flick of a whisker or a strategic yawn to indicate the trivial nature of the industry you loved to hate.
Such was your influence in the Arts world, that for your 10th birthday, a song was written and performed live in your honour at your family home…Can any other cat claim such an accolade??
7- Alice, while BOO was your official middle name, destruction might have been more appropriate….
You used the family lounge as a scratching post, such was your desire to obtain three meals a day, that you shredded the seal on the family fridge, you destroyed fly screen doors and window screens on not one, but two family homes….but despite the mounting cost to repair your trail of destruction….it only made us love you more….
8- Alice Boo Boyle…..you thought you could fly…..you where not meant for this world! In 2001, you tested this theory and came of second best…Falling some 5 metres from a cedar tree, and winding up with a broken leg that would be placed in a plaster cast.
I lived in the UK at this stage….and thought this all sounded hilarious ( distance is a funny thing) I demanded photo evidence, and it promptly arrived by post addressed to Willesden Green, London Town. The story of Alice the flying cat went international….a priceless story to be shared over pints of beer and packets of crisps!!
9. Alice you always made Christmas FUN….You seemed to enjoy opening gifts more than anyone sitting round the Christmas tree…The games you played with wrapping paper…If only it gave me the same joy.
And you were always so cheap to buy for and always happy with your gift….
One Christmas, when the summer heat got the better of us early, Dad and I sat in the backyard and threw flower buds in your direction…you were our target…It was the simple things Alice, you were always obliging….Did you do it because the petals smelled sweet?…
Christmas Cheer, could have almost been your middle name , along with Boo and Destruction.
10- Your 10th Birthday party in 2003…Wow wee….A night of nights, one I over catered for and overcommitted too…But it was so worth it…You lapped up the attention, sitting in front of the fireplace all night, party goers paying there respects and showering you with gifts….a pink diamonte collar, an array of gourmet treats…
In you honour, we all wore black and our musician friend Denise, wrote you a birthday song…
That night will always be legendary ….I have it from good authority that that YOUR party lead to a surge in party plans for felines…You were a pioneer Alice, paving the way for the animal kingdom.
11. Eight years may have passed, but there was much hype and speculation ( Would you make it??) to your Eighteenth birthday. You did…and in style.
Carried around in a washing basket ( you were almost beyond walking) so that people could pay there respects. A testament to you Alice, those you where there at your 10th b’day, reappeared at your 18th.
You where even gracious in allowing Carlos, the fox terrier, to steal the limelight that night…You were after all ‘ Over it” in a big way….2011, the year Alice turned 18 or 112 in cat years.…Finally of legal drinking age
12- Alice Boo Boyle, you taught me about love….supplying me with endless amounts….So much so that I welcomed Flora the cat into my home in 2007.
Alice, I am certain that had the experience of living with you not been such a fun filled ride, Flora may not have the life she leads today…Nothing Flora does surprises me Alice…You set the bar too high!!
13- Alice you confused people. Not everyone understood the effect you had on my family….then again, not everyone turns to the animal kingdom like we did for companionship and understanding .
Birthday parties for cat, Santa presents at Christmas time…lenghty discussions about your level of intelligence and wit….Many outside our family merely tolerated our adoration of you.
But the movie ‘ Red Dog’ released last year in Australia, has done wonders for deepening the understand of our bond. As I cried down the phone to my friend Jess, expressing the sadness I felt as your passing, she gave you the ultimate compliment-
‘ I can’t relate, but I think of Red Dog, and it helps me to understand how you feel’
14- Alice Boo Boyle, born in an era before face book and email, skype and video conferencing…despite this your friendship circle was expansive, inclusive and well maintained. Doctors, poodles, lawyers, artists, school children and teachers alike sang your praises…and often…
15. Which lead me to the outpouring of grief that has been expressed since you cashed in your one way ticket to heaven…text messages, face book posts, calls from interstate, messages from overseas…
Despite the fact that you never uttered one word in English ( or any language for that matter)…you spoke an international language of love and friendship…and your disciples are untied in grief.
16- Alice Boo Boyle , the was a secret hope of mine that you would live until my little brother ( aged 29!) walked down the aisle in June of this year…but alas, that wish cannot be.
I understand, that your time was up, your number called, you one way ticket to heaven in need of validation….
17- Alice Boo Boyle, I thank you for choosing my family to be your carers, heaven knows we needed you !! I said it before and I will say it again…’ You were the cement in our family’….Of this I am certain, and your parting legacy and gift to us all is that as family unit, we are stronger for it.
18- RIP Alice Boo Boyle