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In 1984, our family was adopted by a cat named Billy. He was a tiny little 8 week old kitten who entered our lives with a soft meow and impacted upon us with a great roar.

We had previously enjoyed the company of a gracious young Cornish Rex who, in human terms, was named Tripitaka. 

Tripi was a white Cornish Rex with huge ears and resembled the monk from the famed television series " Monkey " from Japan.

The family has long ago grown up. But the memory remains.

Tripitaka was a white god who was as peaceful and kind as the monk who inspired his name. Sadly, Tripi died and left our lives. My daughters were heartbroken. They sobbed and cried and, to this day, they both remember the day that this cat left our lives and we grieved.

As a parent, I could not bear their pain. I contacted the breeder of Cornish Rex cats and was told that she had one kitten - a grey Cornish Rex, who was too young to leave his mother. I pleaded. I begged. I said that my girls could not cope with the loss of Tripitaka. 

So, at 8 weeks, young Billy joined our family.

grey cornish rex kitten photo

Billy arrived, tiny and so much like an over sized mouse. He was grey and soft and so in need of love. Well, Billy found love in bucketloads.  My daughters swooped on this precious infant feline and praised him with love, adoration and delight.   Whilst we mourned the loss of Tripitaka, our hearts were lifted by this young fellow who would change our lives, and perception of cats, forever. Because Billy was no ordinary cat.

 My daughters named him after Bilbo from Lord of the Rings and decided that he was going to be the bearer of a golden ring that would unite us and bind us together as a family. And so he was Billy.

Billy came to live with us on a river in Queensland. The town was beside the the Coral Sea and a popular tourist destination. There, he prospered and grew to adulthood with a family that adored him and soon learned that Billy was a very unusual cat.

He loved to swim.


He would go down to the river and pop in to the water and paddle about. Which was fine, until he decided to paddle up to the next door neighbour: a Restaurant, renowned for its seafood cuisine. 

Billy would often swim to the Restaurant and slip up onto the dock, shake himself off and sashay through the dining room amidst the aghast of the people paying big money to dine there. You see, when wet, Billy looked like a water rat. 

It was not a good look for a fine dining restaurant.

One night, Billy swam up, waltzed in to the Restaurant and cruised through to the kitchen. On the Chef's table was a whole Red Emperor. A fish worth a great deal of money. Billy leapt up, snatched the fish and ran off to the carpark where he took the fish, under a car and began to eat it. 

Not a good look and certainly not something Master Billy should have done.

download 2020 08 13T124615.828

I got a knock at my door and the owner of the establishment was there, demanding recompense for the fish. I paid. A lot.  Billy was in the dog house that night but he snuggled up beside one of my daughters that night, content with a job well done. 

I was asked to make sure that Billy would not visit the Restaurant again.  I passed the message on. Billy must have realised the seriousness of this situation. He never did it again.

It might have had something to do with the cleaver that the chef was wielding .... ?

download 2020 08 13T123128.019

We left the river and moved to the beach. When we walked along the sand and the surf rolled up on the shore, Billy would be there in the dunes. Sometimes, he would come down and join us on the sand and walk with us. In my memory, I see us walking, a couple with two children, 2 dogs and a cat, walking down the shoreline and accepting it as normal.  


not Billy. Just some pussycat holding up traffic.

My daughters would hop into the bathtub together and, when Billy felt that the temperature was right, he would pop in and sit with my girls and enjoy a tub. As a result, Billy always smelled rather wonderful. 

He was a huge fan of sewing. I would lay out my pattern board with the thin tissue paper pattern and he was most diligent in diving onto it and assisting with the intricate process of my work. 

Billy was a very nice cat. We had a flightless lorriket named Scooter and Billy would let this bird snuggle in and nest in his cuddle. Though, I suspect that Billy would not have wanted that published.

download 2020 08 13T125414.051

I can still remember him walking out in the dusky dark of a heat filled Australian night and being followed by a poodle, a staffy, two adults and two teenagers, all following Billy, the Cornish Rex.

When we took Billy on a long trip in the car he would hop out with the poodle and the staffy, do his business and leap back into the car.

Sometimes you get a cat who is not a cat. 

You get a soul who is sent to you at a time of need.

Billy was that soul.

Billy left us, through old age in 2000. To this day, I can see him and the image is as clear as if it was yesterday. 

All those years, Billy, my cat, guided us and I cannot help but think that we are sent souls to help us in times of need. 

I think we all need a Billy again. 

He was a good cat. 

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