Jasper's Life Mattered

By Lynn Harrison

"Jasper, my ginger Tonkinese boy was born on 1st March 2021 and came to live with me on 1st May - near the start of lockdown.

As I was working from home and going out was limited, I basically spent all my time with Jasper.

From day one, we bonded and became inseparable. He was my shadow.

He would try and join in with my work zoom calls and even try and get involved with my daily online exercise routine.

He was extremely loving and purred contentedly as I petted him. Every morning, he would come into my bed and cuddle into me. He placed his face on mine and purred away and I would wrap my arms around him. Complete unconditional love.

After he got his injections and was microchipped, I made the decision to get a cat flap and allow Jasper to go outside. I live in a quiet cul-de-sac in a residential area and therefore didn’t consider he would be at danger from being hit by a car.

I knew that I would eventually be going back to work and socialising more again and therefore wanted Jasper to have his best life. He was a sociable cat. He did actually befriend a little black and white cat who lived near us. That pleased me.

My 3-year old grandson, Leo loved him and Jasper loved Leo. Leo would often ask if he could come and see Jasp (his name for him). Even at Leo’s young age, he misses Jasper. He often says “Nanz (his name for me) I miss Jasp” and then cuddles me as knows that I am sad.

On 1st August 2021 - Jasper lost his life when a taxi driver hit him and left him for dead. He was only 17 months old and died at the entrance to my street, clearly on his way home.

I was (am) heartbroken and when I got him home, I just held him and sobbed uncontrollably.

Amazingly, I found out exactly what happened, as the passenger in the taxi , a lady called Samantha was so upset by the incident and urged the driver to stop and check on Jasper. He refused. She couldn’t, get it out of her head and went to the bother of joining a local community Facebook page to see if she could track me down. She was on holiday at a caravan park near me, so didn’t come from the area.

She did find me, but only because another cat a few streets away from me had been hit by a car a few days later and again the driver just drove away. Thankfully that cat was taken to the vet and survived. The owner of that cat had put this on the community Facebook page as was appalled at the driver not stopping. I commented on this and this is how Samantha found me.

She gave me the taxi firm details and I called to complain. The owner was an animal lover and sympathetic and took the matter up with the driver, who no longer drives for him. He even offered to buy me a cat.

The care shown by Samantha and the taxi firm owner did restore my faith in human nature.

Then on Monday, 9th August, I woke up to a message from a lovely lady called Sarah, who had also joined the community Facebook page to try and find me. She had actually witnessed the accident and saw the taxi drive away. She also phoned the taxi firm to complain. She picked Jasper off the road and sat with him until he passed. It was quick.

Her message gave me some comfort, as I was haunted at the thought of Jasper lying in pain on his own.

Jasper came into my life and made me a happier person. He made my house feel more like a home. The emptiness is now difficult.

On 3rd August, I took him to a private cremation in Dunbar. Whilst the cremation took place, my daughter, grandkids and I sat on a nearby beach before going back to collect his ashes.

All I have left of Jasper now is his paw prints on paper, some of his fur and his ashes.

Whilst I know accidents happen and there is always a risk if you allow your cat to go outside. I also appreciate that not everyone likes cats. However, to discover it was not a legal requirement to stop if you hit a cat, was a shock to me. It feels inhumane.

Cats are not “just cats” to their owners - they are well loved members of the family and their loss is devastating. If drivers have no compassion for the cat, perhaps they could show some compassion for the devastated owners.

For that reason, I have started a petition to change the law to make it mandatory to stop if you hit a cat. It should not be an option.

I understand that there have been unsuccessful attempts to change the law before. However, that will not stop me trying again to change it.

Jasper’s live mattered – all cats lives matter.

RIP Jasper - you will always be in my heart."

Lynn has been in touch with her local MP and created a petition for justice for Jasper.

You can also read Jaspers story in the Edinburgh News and the East Lothian Courier.