ASHLEY the cat was a source of comfort for many bereaved visitors bidding farewell to loved ones at Worthing Crematorium in West Sussex, United Kingdom. Cats often seem to have an intuition for knowing just who needs them the most, and Ashley was no exception. The tuxedo beauty spent 16 years offering cuddles and a bit of warmth to mourners.
Nicole Marie Cuming, who visits her mother's grave at the crematorium, said: "He was with me when I buried mum - he sat on my leg all the time and came to me when I put flowers down."
But old age finally caught up with Ashley, who was euthanized yesterday by a local veterinarian, leaving behind a group of fiercely loving admirers including crematorium staff and many whose loved ones now rest at the Worthing Crematorium.
A spokesperson said: "He is already very much missed by all of the staff and he provided a significant amount of comfort to our bereaved visitors.
"He was a really big part of the crematorium."
Worthing Crematorium held a special memorial service to honor Ashley, with staff taking personal time to attend while other mourners came from as far away as London to celebrate Ashley's life.
The service was led by Rev Sarah Jane Boden, and included hymns, prayers, and songs from the musical cartoon "The Aristocats."
Crematorium staff, who happily paid for Ashley's food and water out of their own pockets, say the cat will be remembered fondly.
"Staff are not sure quite how he ended up at the facility - he just arrived one day and decided to make the crematorium his home."
Loving tributes to the friendly feline has been posted on the council's Facebook page.
"He made me stop crying and feel calm for the last seven years when I went to see mum."
"A beautiful soft soul, sweet dreams and sleep soundly."
A memorial bench and plaque will be erected on the crematorium's ground to commemorate Ashley's life and celebrate his selfless devotion. Fly free, Ashley!
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