Graeme Riley, Ace of Cats and Station Cat Extraordinaire, has gone to The Bridge. Graeme was catapulted to international fame when his penchant for hanging out at a Melbourne train station was broadcast by the Herald Sun.
Graeme broke the news on his Facebook page:
Hello all my wonderful friends from around the world,
I have to share some sad news with you. I haven’t been well or comfortable for some time, despite all the love and attention my humans have given me. And so I’ve decided it’s time to move on from this life and take that last adventure – to find out what world there is for cats to explore after they’ve finished discovering this one.
The humans are very sad, I know. They miss me a lot, and I will miss them too. But this is what has to be; by the time you read this, in fact, I will already be gone.
I want to thank all of you lovely people for being part of my life over the last couple of years. Whether you live in my neighbourhood or on the other side of the world, whether you pet me at the train station or like my photos and updates, you’ve made me famous, which is nice – but more importantly you’ve made me happy with your love, attention and discussion about how handsome I am. My life has had many adventures, good times and bad, but the years that I’ve been part of your lives… well, those have been the best times for me.
Now take the love you had for me and pass it along to another cat. Cats deserve all the love you can give them. Also chicken, cheese and ice cream; don’t forget that.
I love you all and I’ll miss you all. Remember me in your hearts and dreams.
Graeme Riley, Ace of Cats
Patrick O’Duffy, Graeme’s dad, described Graeme’s role in their lives:
We don’t know much about Graeme’s youth; he was adopted from the RSPCA when he was six. Well, they said he was six; he could have been anywhere from four to eight years old.
He’d spent some time on the streets and lived rough, but once he was rescued he left that life behind him. Graeme was adopted by the then-housemate of my wife, Nichole Weinrich, and came to live in their house near the train station. When I met Nichole I also met Graeme, and immediately loved him like no other cat. When that housemate moved out, he took Graeme with him, which made us very sad – but fate had different ideas, and a few months later Graeme came back into our lives. Ever since then he has stayed with us, and has been one of the biggest, most wonderful parts of our lives.
He was known through the neighbourhood as ‘Station Cat’, thanks to his habit of hanging out to greet commuters and passers-by. He would happily wander into neighbour’s houses to see what there was to see; one time he even crashed a birthday party on the other side of the train tracks!
And people loved him for it; he was always a welcome visitor. Graeme was utterly fearless, unafraid of any dog, car or similar danger. Once we were called by workmen mowing the grass at the train station – Graeme was sleeping on the grass and wasn’t interested in moving, even with a chugging lawn mower right next to him!
And of course, most famously, he occasionally caught the train, going a couple of stops and then wandering out again – we had more than a few phone calls from concerned strangers telling us to collect him from neighbouring suburbs and stations! His sudden explosion of fame didn’t make him egotistical; we showed him the news stories and web comments, but he was usually more interested in dinner. A celebrity, yes, but one of the cool ones.
Even in the last couple of years, when ill health and advancing age slowed him down, he was always ready to go exploring or to wander out in search of pats. And every person he met, even if they only knew him for a few moments, loved him. He’s gone now, and he’s left a great aching space in our lives, a space that can never be filled. But our memories remain, and our love. And it’s meant a lot to us to know that so many people around the world cared about him and followed his adventures. Graeme Riley is, was and always will be the Ace of Cats. We miss him so much.
Kittehs can leave their condolences on Graeme’s Facebook page.