C'gatta loses its top cat
DEREK the cat knew she was onto a good thing when she arrived at the Twin Towns Casket Newsagency in Coolangatta.
Fed and cared for by newsagents David and Veronica Townend - her “adopted parents”- Derek was treated like a queen for 21 years.
The Townends named Derek before they discovered she was a female.
Afterwards, the name stuck and Derek went on to become a known identity around Coolangatta.
Last Friday, however, Mrs Townend was devastated when Derek wandered into her store and suffered a stroke.
She and her husband rushed the cat to the vet but it was too late.
“I miss her,” a tearful Mrs Townend said yesterday. “I'm still really sad.
“Every morning she would be here waiting for us to come and open the shop and feed her.
“She knew my car and would bound over to me in the parking lot.”
Derek first appeared at the Griffith Street newsagency with her mother just after the Townends bought the business more than two decades ago.
“Her mother was a stray - this tiny brown thing,” Mrs Townend said. “One day she showed up with this tiny kitten and that was Derek. She was about two or three weeks old.
“Then Derek began showing up without her mother. How she survived so long, I don't know.”
Mr Townend called Derek his “friend and workmate”, and says her picture on the store counter has helped raise money for the RSPCA over the years.
“Her picture will remain on our counter as a reminder to all those people who have given to the RSCPA cause,” Mr Townend said.
“To all those who have admired her and stroked her and felt affection for a truly remarkable little cat.”
He said it was important to let people know what had happened to Derek because the animal melted the hearts of everybody she came in contact with.
“Everybody knew her,” Mrs Townend said. “People would come in just to pet her. They would give her presents for Christmas, and cat food.
“She hated kids because they chased her around, but workmen would come in and they would just melt over her.”
Mrs Townend said Derek lived a happy life to the end.
“She had the best of both worlds - she had us but she also had her freedom.”