Farewell to ‘one in a zillion’ cat that adopted Beach Elementary as his own


The Beach Elementary community lost a beloved neighborhood companion Saturday.

Sparkles, the orange tabby cat known for strolling the school corridors, spending lazy afternoons on the Beach blacktop, and for his nonchalance par excellence, died after being struck by a vehicle outside the school and near his home. Neighbors said they wished drivers came to a full stop before turning right from Lake Avenue onto Linda Avenue.

An outpouring of photos and stories — some heartwarming, others hilarious — soon followed a neighborhood Facebook group post announcing the news. By Monday afternoon, an impromptu memorial had sprung up outside Beach.

Sparkles quickly cemented his status as “official” school cat after arriving in the neighborhood. But he became truly Piedmont-famous following a 2016 STEAM Expo project by Payton Cole, who attached a GPS tracker to Sparkles’ collar and charted his wandering over a period of several weeks.

On the weekend he died, Sparkles’ human family shared a note with the neighborhood. “We know Sparkles had many fans; we saw people taking his photo almost every day as he laid about on cars and we often heard people calling his name,” they wrote. “He was a beloved, loving cat who was one of a kind and will be sorely missed.”

4 thoughts on “Farewell to ‘one in a zillion’ cat that adopted Beach Elementary as his own

  1. Post signs about speeding and running stops. Say Beware: Children and Pets Live Here! Cameras in Effect. Violaters will be Prosecuted.” Hand letter them, if you have to and put them everywhere. Then for two weeks, station a traffic cop hidden nearby and nab several offenders. Word of mouth will do the rest. We may need to “remind” drivers once in a while, thereafter, by relaunching the campaign, but that should do the trick. Sparkles death was completely inappropriate and avoidable and next time it won’t just be a pet. Get over your inertia, Piedmont!

  2. Drivers should really slow down and pay more attention while driving. Sparkles shouldn’t have died in that manner. There are also lots of children in and around that intersection…

  3. Sparkles was the neighborhood mascot! I would always look forward to seeing him when I took my walks and he would come over to me for pets. You will always be remembered!

  4. we’ll miss this amazing cat – who would appear in the most unexpected spots around the neighborhood, always be game for a good scratch, and even be known to nuzzle with out dog from time to time. RIP Sparkles, the neighborhood won’t be the same without you!

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