A cat named Barney inspired and comforted a community so much that when he passed away, he got his very own plot.
The world first found out about Barney in 2014, when his caretaker gave an interview with the Guernsey Press. Barney and his family used to live next to St. Sampson’s cemetery, where Barney would often wander off to. During his cemetery strolls, he would come across people grieving for their loved ones. When this happened, he would walk up and brush up against them.
“For those who enter the cemetery with a heavy heart, he lightens the experience for them,” Alan Curzon, the cemetery sexton who looked after Barney, told the Guernsey Press in a 2014 interview. “When people walk through the gates, he often comes up to them and brushes against them. There is not a bad bone in his body.”
Barney had been in Curzon’s life since 1996. When Barney’s original family moved a mile away from the cemetery, he would frequently leave to go back to his favorite place. He left his home so much that he was eventually rehomed at the cemetery. A shelter was made especially for him and Curzon looked after him. With his shelter and Curzon’s care, Barney never had to leave the cemetery and could comfort people around the clock.
On March 1, the Guernsey Press made an announcement on Facebook that Barney had died. He was 20 years old, and an official death notice was put in the paper for Barney.
Since his death, there has been an outpouring of love from the community Barney made such an impact on. He was given a proper burial and a plot at the place he loved most: St. Sampson’s cemetery. In addition to his own plot of land, Barney will receive his own bench and a plaque on a cemetery wall to be remembered by.
“He would wait with me at the gate when we did burials and he would make himself known to the newcomers and he gave a lot of comfort to people,” Curzon told Buzzfeed. “He would rub against their legs as they placed flowers on the graves.”