A family in New Radnor are calling for animal safety awareness after the death of their beloved cat.

Tao Sharma was devastated to learn that their beloved pet, Jooji, was hit by a car. It comes shortly after a cat named Fudge was struck by a passing vehicle, that didn't stop.

Tao said: "Jooji was just outside the 20 MPH zone. Jooji was only two years old. Jooji was a unique cat - in many ways, he was more like a little puppy. As well as celebrating Jooji's life, we want to raise awareness about cats on the road. Fudge was another New Radnor cat who died. He used to visit our house. We wish we could do something to help other cats in the future or make people drive more safely. So often we just drive by animals that have been killed on the road without a second thought, but those animals have friends and family as well."

Jooji enjoyed adventures around the village
Jooji enjoyed adventures around the village (Tao Sharma)

Tao has thought about putting up warning signs to make drivers aware of the animals in the village. "I thought about putting up signs around the edge of the village, around the speed limit signs. We were planning on doing exactly this for Jooji near where he died, with a photo. My mum, Cath Newnham, is on the village council, so perhaps I should ask her to raise it there as well."

According to Cats Matter, 230,000 cats are run over every year in the UK. Over one in ten drivers have left a cat to die alone.

For Jooji, he was one of those statistics. "Jooji was left on the road by whoever hit him. My mum found him shortly afterwards, while she was driving to work, as his body was still warm. We think he died almost instantly from the collision, but this won't be the case for all cats. Drivers must stop and see, even if they fear the worst.  "I don't blame individual drivers, as it's unfortunately a risk we all take by using the roads. However, I do think we have a responsibility to consider cats and other animals more carefully as we drive, and at the very least stop if we think we have hit an animal."

For Tao, the grief for Jooji is strong. "We're devastated about his death. He was a part of our little family. He leaves behind his brother, Yamabiko, who will also miss him very much. He was born just outside Presteigne in April 2021. I wasn't planning on taking away two kittens, but the person who had reserved Jooji pulled out at the last minute. I was also delivering his other two brothers to their new home, so I couldn't leave him by himself! They lived with me and my partner Hazie in Birmingham for 6 months, before moving back to New Radnor. He was a beautiful tabby and white cat, with the longest tail I have ever seen."

Tao's partner wrote a book about Jooji's adventures
Tao's partner wrote a book about Jooji's adventures (Tao Sharma, Hazie A)

Like Fudge, Jooji was most comfortable owning the village. "In New Radnor, Jooji loved playing with us outdoors. He used to follow us on our walks around the village, and up on top of the castle mound. It seemed like his territory was wherever we were, and would follow us for miles. Sometimes the other village cats were taken aback by his confidence! But he was never violent and rarely used his claws. Once, he didn't come home, so late at night we went out into the village to look for him. On the other side of the village, we could hear a faint meowing. It was coming from a shed next to a house! We knocked on the door and were let into the shed by a kind man. There was Jooji! We had no idea how he got into the shed. Inspired by Jooji's adventures, my partner Hazie wrote a book about him."

The book was published in 2022, and sees Jooji set out to find his purpose.

Tao said: "We're so sad that Jooji has died, way before his time. We were looking forward to having him in our lives for so much longer. He was so special, playful and kind."

Tao is devastated at Jooji's death
Tao is devastated at Jooji's death (Tao Sharmer)