The story of Carmina the Cathedral Cat, the resident cat at Washington’s National Cathedral, captured my readers’ hearts when I first wrote about her in November of 2010. I thought her story should be shared with a wider audience, so I pitched it to Cat Fancy magazine a while back. Last week, my editor approved the story for the June issue of the magazine.

I got in touch with the media contact at the Cathedral to get updated information on Carmina. I didn’t expect the following e-mail:

We are saddened to tell you that the Cathedral Choral Society’s beautiful kitty, Carmina Chanté Schumann, was fatally struck by a car on Woodley Road on Tuesday evening, November 1, 2011. Witnesses reported that she was frightened by a dog and ran into the street.

Carmina has entertained everyone in the Cathedral Library since June 2010, when she was adopted from an animal shelter. She received special attention at the Cathedral’s Blessing of the Animals service that October. Although her principal caretakers were the Cathedral Choral Society staff, she had a great many friends around the close who will miss her. She is listed on our personnel roster as Morale Officer and she attended staff meetings regularly. Her most recent activities included gamboling behind the chain-link fence and bringing us presents she had captured along South Road. It is unlikely that her position will be filled.

When I wrote my original piece about Carmina, learning that she was allowed outside made me uneasy. While the cathedral grounds are massive, the cathedral is located along a busy city street. Even cathedral cats aren’t safe from the many threats of the great outdoors, especially not in a city environment.

Rest in piece, Carmina. To quote the Religion News Service, “may mice perpetual shine upon you.”

Photo by Washington National Cathedral, Craig W. Stapert, photographer, used with permission.

21 Comments on Carmina the Cathedral Cat: RIP

  1. I am surprised that Carmina was allowed outside, and especially in the heart of Washington, DC! Washington is rough and rogue. With so many people around her, loving her, one would think the majority would know “outside” is a shorter life for a cat. Not only hit by a car, but attack by animals, human abuse, disease… One horror is gangs picking up kitties for “fun,” i.e. torture. And “stray” cats are sought for bait, dog fighting. R.I.P. Carmina Chante Schumann ~ For sure your spirit remains in the Cathedral. Those in touch with the knowing, will be able to feel her presence, and more. Sweet Carmina.

  2. Such sad news. Poor Carmina, the worst of it is that she was frightened and fleeing when she was hit. Rest in peace little darling.

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  4. This makes me so sad. And even sadder to see that “her position will not be filled.”

    I can’t imagine the cathedral won’t feel huge and empty and lonely without Carmina now, and that those who spend time there won’t notice the void. I’d love to think that eventually they will adopt another rescue cat, but that this time they will understand it’s best to keep her indoors. We can hope. Thanks for sharing this.

  5. Hearing she was allowed out would have made us uneasy, too. We’re so very sorry for their loss, and fervently hope that if the Office of Morale Officer is eventually filled, they will consider keeping the new “employee” indoors….

  6. Oh Lord– Cat left to roam outside = Death or Abuse. WHY WHY WHY was she allowed to be outside? I am sorry to hear about her tragic unnecessry death.

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