Sparky the cat, on his perch in front of the cactus house on Precita. Photo courtesy of Ryland Moore.
This article was written by Bernalwood’s cub reporter, Miel Lappin, age 10. This is her first Bernalwood story.
Sparky was the “sidewalk cat,” the cat everyone looked forward to seeing, the one who just stood there, unafraid of the dogs and people who loomed over him. Sparky was the brown and black striped cat who lived in front of the cactus house. I remember when I first met him.
“This is the cat I told you about!” my step-mom exclaimed. “But, I thought his house was the green one with the cacti” she commented.
“I’m going to try to lead him back home,” I said, determined. Sparky was lying in front of a house up the street. I bent down, and let Sparky sniff my hand, he didn’t really seem to care about it. I decided to try petting him. He purred. That’s when I slowly started walking away, and to my surprise, he followed! I walked him all the way back to the cactus house, and he seemed to recognize it. He jumped onto his banister, content.
The first time when Bernalwood’s cub reporter met Sparky.
When Sparky died, it was devastating. His owners made a beautiful R.I.P sign, hung it on a tree outside their house, and told people to write notes on the little card hanging below.
There are so many nice notes, ranging from “He made my walk to work fun,” to “Best and most handsome mayor of Precita Avenue.” Who knew Sparky was so well known?
Sparky’s owner, Neighbor Leslie, told me Sparky was born in the cactus house, in a dresser drawer with four other siblings, and he lived there his whole life. Sparky died after he was attacked by a dog. The dog was being walked, and when he saw Sparky, he lashed out. Sparky died at age 16.
Neighbor Leslie says she knew it was a risk letting Sparky hang out on the sidewalk, but she also knew Sparky needed to be outside in order to be happy. “Sparky was in the world, 100 percent,” she said.
It was my dad who pointed out the Lost Cat signs a few months ago, the first time Sparky went missing. That’s how we learned Sparky’s name. Luckily, he came back that time.
The second time though, we weren’t so lucky.
Sparky was like a neighbor you often see, but don’t know very well. Most people just enjoy having him there, they don’t need to know about his personal life. When Sparky died, it was like that neighbor who you were friendly with, moved out. Mornings are never going to be the same, because there is no neighbor to greet, and no Sparky to pet.