Inverness Station Kills Off Its Resident Feline, Diesel, after Fourteen Years of Faithful Service and Companionship
"Diesel was a much-loved personality around the station for well over a decade. She will be sadly missed by staff and customers, including many foreign visitors to Inverness. After meeting Diesel, they often came back with gifts from beds to toys."
-- Michelle Crawford of First ScotRail
The select fraternity of railroad cats lost one of its most illustrious members back in April when the resident feline of Inverness Station, Diesel, was killed off by the Scottish SPCA on orders from First ScotRail. (See photo above.)
Although the official rationale for ending her life was kidney trouble, more than likely she was done in simply because she had become incontinent as so often happens to both elderly cats and humans. Of course, it goes almost without saying that the high muckamucks at First ScotRail were not about to clean up a little urine whenever her kidneys gave out before she could reach the litter box.
Consequently, after fourteen years of loyal service to First ScotRail and the public she most likely was given a jab of sodium pentobarbital and her corpse tossed out with the remainder of the day's rubbish. She certainly deserved better but, with man being the most ungrateful and mercenary of all creatures, her shabby treatment was merely par for the course as far as most cats are concerned.
She thus joins the ranks of such world famous felines as Scarlett and Dewey Readmore Books who were similarly rewarded for their invaluable contributions to mankind. (See Cat Defender posts of October 27, 2008 and December 7, 2006 entitled, respectively, "Loved and Admired All Over the World, Feline Heroine Scarlett Is Killed Off by Her Owner after She Becomes Ill" and "After Nineteen Years of Service and Companionship, Ingrates at Iowa Library Murder Dewey Readmore Books.")
The same fate befell Colin's of Port Taranaki and a newspaper cat named Tripod. (See Cat Defender posts of May 31, 2007 and February 9, 2006 entitled, respectively, "Port Taranaki Kills Off Its World Famous Seafaring Feline, Colin's, at Age Seventeen" and "Newspaper Cat Named Tripod Is Killed Off by Journalists He Befriended in Vermont.")
Even the notoriety enjoyed by Bill Clinton's former cat Socks was insufficient in order to save him from the gallows. (See Cat Defender post of March 12, 2009 entitled "Too Cheap and Lazy to Care for Him During His Final Days, Betty Currie Has Socks Killed Off and His Corpse Burned.")
During her long tenure at Inverness Station, Diesel became well-known not only to local commuters but to tourists from around the world as well. She accordingly quite often received gifts, such as food parcels, from as far away as Finland.
"Diesel was a much-loved personality around the station for well over a decade," the railroad's Michelle Crawford told The Press and Journal of Aberdeen on April 18th. (See "End of an Era at Railway Station.") "She will be sadly missed by the staff and customers, including many visitors to Inverness. After meeting Diesel, they often came back with gifts from beds to toys."
Another famous feline with railroading in her blood is a pretty fourteen-year-old tortoiseshell named Tama who made headlines last summer after it was announced that she had been appointed a stationmaster on Wakayama Electric Railway's Kishigawa Line in western Japan. (See photo above.)
Since her appointment, both ridership and revenues have skyrocketed which proves once again that whatever man can do a cat can do even better. (See Cat Defender post of June 2, 2008 entitled "Ridership Soars as Tama Takes Over as a Stationmaster on Money-Losing Commuter Train Line.")
At King's Cross Station in London, a former shelter cat named Tizer has made quite an impact following his appointment as an honorary constable and head mouser by the British Transportation Police in 2007. (See Cat Defender post of November 23, 2007 entitled "Tizer Lands a Job Working for the Police After Ending Up at a Shelter Following the Death of His Previous Owner.")
Not all feline encounters with trains turn out to be positive affairs, however. For example, a South Bend cat named Rascal wound up in Chattanooga after she wandered onto an idle freight train. Luckily, everything turned out all right for her thanks to the kindness that she was shown by the employees of floor covering distributor Primavera and she eventually was reunited with her guardians in Indiana. (See Cat Defender post of June 7, 2007 entitled "Rascal Hops Freight Train in South Bend and Unwittingly Ends Up in Chattanooga.")
At Inverness Station, however, officials of First ScotRail have not announced any plans to either erect a memorial in Diesel's honor or to find a replacement for her.
Photos: BBC (Diesel) and China Daily (Tama).