Kenobi, 15 August 2020

Kenobi: 4 April 2003 – 4 April 2021

Kenobi died peacefully in my arms on Sunday, 4 April 2021, which was his eighteenth birthday.

This little tabby cat—nicknamed Scucci Paducci, alongside other monikers—came into my life in June 2003 when he was just two months old. I adopted him and another kitten, Osiris (2003-2013), and brought them home on a day when I didn’t expect to be adding to my household.

Where Osiris was timid and cautious, Kenobi was curious and friendly. He took to the two big dogs in the house without hesitation and, as far as I can remember, demonstrated not a single moment of jealousy in his long life, despite many changes, losses, and additions.

Kenobi was the last of the four animal companions (Nanook, Journey, Osiris, and Kenobi) who rode with me on my otherwise solo cross-country drive from Virginia to Oregon when I relocated to Portland. He was the last living creature (other than myself) who knew and shared space with those two dogs and one cat, so his loss carries deep significance.

But he was also a soulmate cat. He needed me from the outset, and our bond was quick and inextricable. The history I got from the rescue group was that Kenobi and his kitten sister had been found on the street at the age of six weeks, without a mother and already on solid food to survive. He “nursed” on my neck and in my hair for years as a young cat and all his life expressed affection by lots of licking and nuzzling, which was simultaneously endearing and annoying.

Kenobi was a helpful cat, and a feline diplomat. On that cross-country drive in 2004 when he was only a year old, he started each morning by eating, using the litter box, and then curling up inside his carrier of his own accord. He made it easy for me. He used to sleep on my head at night, his purring a soothing and grounding force that helped me sleep. I wasn’t a fan of how he’d steal blueberries out of the colander in the sink and smash them into the carpet, nor his strange bedtime ritual in his later years of kneading all four feet on a stuffed animal otter while issuing vocal complaints. But he welcomed every new member of the household, even under stressful circumstances. He comforted me when I was upset and kept me company, in one form or another, every day of his life. He watched for me in the window whenever I left the house, even on a short errand, and he cried out when he couldn’t find me. He was infinitely patient and even sought to assist the other cats when they were stressed.

There are so many stories to tell and a wealth of touching, funny moments that I will treasure the rest of my life. Being loved by such a creature was a transforming experience. He had a long and very good life, and he will be remembered with both gratitude and tears.

He is survived by myself and my partner, and by Chloe, Mimi, and Pierre. His resting place is situated near one of my favorite stargazing locations, so he will be with me as I look up into the night sky.

Now I play the role of Samwise Gamgee as I am left behind in the Shire and watch my beloved companion depart for the Undying Lands.

Posted in thoughts from the spiral.

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