Stray cat who made cathedral her home gets a special send-off: her own memorial mass

Some people view stray cats as unwanted pests, but others are happy to help them, providing food and a place to stay.

And sometimes these strays stick around a place so long they become part of it. That was definitely the case for one “Cathedral cat” who became a beloved favorite of locals and tourists.

And when the cat passed away, she was honored with a beautiful tribute from her friends.

Doorkins Magnificat was a stray before she showed up at London’s Southwark Cathedral in 2008. When the cathedral’s vergers showed her kindness, providing food and warmth, she decided to take “sanctuary” and never left.

Doorkins lived in the cathedral for over a decade, quickly becoming a well-known staple of the building.

According to The Guardian, the cat didn’t always have the most reverence for religious ceremony: she apparently slept in the nativity scene at Christmas and slept through a visit from Queen Elizabeth.

But still, she became a favorite of parishioners and tourists. Doorkins was adopted as a sort of mascot by the cathedral: her face was featured on merchandise like mugs, magnets and a children’s book.

In recent years, Doorkins slowed down. As she got older she could no longer see the cathedral, and it wasn’t considered a safe place for her, according to a Facebook post.

Instead, she “retired” from the cathedral and was taken in by a verger in 2019.

Sadly, Doorkins recently passed away. She reportedly died in the arms of her caretaker following a stroke on September 30.

Still, she had a good, long life: “Her last months were very happy and she was well loved in her place of retirement,” the cathedral wrote.

Following Doorkin’s death, the cathedral decided to do something to honor their beloved cat: holding a memorial mass.

“In more normal times, we often host memorial services for the great and the good,” said Andrew Nunn, the cathedral’s dean. “But I don’t think there’s ever been a service for a cat.”

It’s a major honor for a cat, and one that wasn’t without controversy: One bishop decried the move as “grossly insensitive.”

But many defended the move, saying the cat was a beloved part of the church. And Nunn said the cat’s story represented Christian kindness.

“She arrived, she entered and we made her welcome,” Nunn said. “People concluded that if this little cat is welcome, maybe I am too.”

Due to coronavirus restrictions, the mass was only held for 30 people, but the online livestream has been viewed by over 7,000 people on YouTube.

It’s a beautiful send-off for a cat who was clearly beloved by so many. Rest in peace, Doorkins!

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