I woke to horrible news yesterday. A neighborhood icon, Sheriff the cat, had died. Even more tragic, his death came as the result of some vile person kicking him. The animal ambulance came, but there was too much internal bleeding to save him. The psychopath who kicked him has been arrested.
It’s hard to imagine the neighborhood without Sheriff. Although he called Café Tilt home, he could be found wandering throughout the immediate neighborhood and among the many bars and terraces. A friendly cat, he seemed to take his name seriously, often walking with us as we returned home, as if making sure we made it safely. Once we were in our house, he would then continue his patrols, vigilant, but often with a friendly meow.
He is one of the stars of a wall mural just off Wittevrouwenstraat behind Café Tilt, along with other icons of Utrecht. The mural is a nice reminder, but it will never make up for losing the real Sheriff. The loss has been felt by many, with outpourings of horror and grief throughout social media. He was such a frequent sight that losing him really does feel like losing one of my own beloved cats. It’s hard to believe we’ll never see his battered ears and beautiful black and white whiskers again.
I took these photos back in December, but forgot to post about them. Today, however, one of the stars of this fantastic bit of wall art reminded me that it was time to post them. You see, Sheriff, the black and white cat at the center of the painting, performed his usual task of escorting us to and from our home today. He prowls the neighborhood, keeping an eye on things, and I think perhaps he courts one of the neighborhood cats, although from the sounds of things, I’m not sure how successfully.
The mural is a mix of Utrecht icons. As well as Sheriff, another neighborhood icon is the white building, which is now a lawyer’s office but was once a police station. It has a clock tower that rings out the hour and half hour throughout the neighborhood. Of course, the mural also features a couple of other Utrecht icons, namely the Domtoren and the city’s notable canals with wharves below street level.
I always love these creative uses of large blank wall spaces. The artists who fill them explore a fantastic range of subjects and styles, and they’re always worth admiring.