Velvet of Redfern – Chasing Mice at Rainbow Bridge
Velvet of Redfern, you may know of her.
If you frequented the streets of Redfern prior to 2019 you will most likely have met this beautiful feline through the shopfront of her home Queen Justine Vintage, one of Sydney’s iconic vintage stores of the mid to late 2010’s.
Velvet would grace the front window keeping the mannequin company and would love to spend her mornings swishing her tail watching the outside world go by.
Velvet’s human mum is my beautiful cousin Justine, and this memorial is for her, to help ease the pain a little and provide a place to go to remember Velvet’s presence in our world and the impact she had on all who knew her.
Pet loss is hard. I actually dislike the word “pet” as it diminishes the value these animals bring to our lives. They are not merely pets, they are family members. I’m pretty certain you feel the same.
The Beginning – Stuck at the Pound
Two black kittens, a brother and sister, arrived at the pound on 23 April 2014. This pound was a high kill pound in the outskirts of Sydney and many cats and kittens did not make it out alive.
The staff in the cattery were the only good in this situation as most genuinely cared about the felines in their care and were heartbroken every week when many left in black plastic bags on their final journey to the tip.
Velvet was one of the lucky ones, although she endured quite a struggle before she was transported into her loving life with her human Mumma. More about that later.
Velvet’s brother, also a stunning black kitten, was adopted a few weeks into his impoundment, leaving Velvet alone to endure an uncertain future.
Each week when I voluntarily visited the cattery to photograph the new cats and kittens to help them be seen, noticed, and ultimately saved, I spent time each week with Velvet. She didn’t have that name in the shelter, she was simply known by her impound number 4085a and her brother was 4085b.
Here’s a short video I made on one of my visits, of a young Miss V.
Here she is about 3 weeks into her stay at the shelter being held by Bev who was a lovely employee who adored all the cats in her care. A saving grace for Velvet during her stay as she became very unwell with cat flu and almost lost her life.
I put out a plea on my Facebook page and my cousin answered the call by putting up her hand to foster Velvet. The wonderful animal advocate Kerri at Sydney Animal Second-Chance Rescue got in touch with Justine and subsequently was able to save Velvet, get her out of the pound, and into Justine’s arms. Turns out, into her heart also.
Foster carers are pivotal in saving lives. There are so many animals in pounds all over the world, and without foster carers, rescue groups cannot take them on if they have nowhere soft and safe to land.
This was Justine’s first experience with becoming a foster carer, and she failed… and that is the best kind of failure, a foster fail! Justine fell in love with Velvet and adopted her.
“The risk of love is loss, and the price of loss is grief. But the pain of grief is only a shadow when compared with the pain of never risking love.”
– Hilary Stanton Zunin
ADOLESCENT KITTEN ADVENTURES AT QUEEN JUSTINE VINTAGE
Velvet landed from the pound into a stylish pad in Redfern in Sydney and wow did she fit in beautifully.
A TREE CHANGE
Velvet and Justine moved to Brisvegas and Velvet spent the past few years enjoying the warmer climate and chilled-out vibes of life in Queensland. Jus converted her back deck into a catio where Velvet enjoyed her cat’s eye view of the world. She loved to sit in the sun and watch the world go by, just like in Redfern, but here she enjoyed a more natural world.
I spent four beautiful days with Juz and Miss V earlier this year. Little did I know this would be my last time in Velvet’s company. Not long after my visit, she was diagnosed with intestinal lymphoma. She lived her final months in the same bliss at her Brisbane home, with support from Juz and her vet.
If you’d like to see more of Velvet’s beautiful life you can visit her Instagram.
Rest In Peace beautiful Velvet and so much love goes to Justine for being the very best Mumma for her beautiful Miss V. Thank you Juz for putting your hand up way back when Velvet most needed it. You gave her a wonderful life.
If you have recently lost a beloved furkid, my heart goes out to you too. Please seek out support if you need to speak with someone – a Google search will bring up many options.
If you know of any you would recommend, please get in touch or post in the comments, I’d really appreciate it and can add it to this post for others to find.
If you are willing and able to become a foster carer, please reach out to your local rescue and start the journey of saving lives. Thank you to Sydney Animal Second-Chance for giving Velvet a wonderful second chance with Justine.