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2005 - 2018

Our beloved cat, Cleopatra, passed away on November 12, 2018, from complications of congestive heart failure and feline leukemia. She was 13. True to her namesake, Cleopatra was bold, regal, and extraordinary in every way. Her shiny black coat and big sunflower eyes commanded attention in every room she graced; the weight of her presence was simply undeniable — and those who knew her can always light a candle for Cleo and draw strength from her memory.


Born in Reno, Nevada sometime in August 2005, Cleo came into the world like a comet — an otherworldly force and impossible to ignore. It was love at first sight, and mutual I think, judging from the way she ran to me at the shelter as a kitten with a look that said, “Let’s go.” And so we did. After changing her plebeian name of “Celeste” to something more befitting of a queen, Cleopatra led a robust life full of adventure.


Her many interests included books (lying on top of them), bird watching, basking in the sun, and ruling over her fellow feline subjects, proving that housecat hierarchy is a real thing. Hail to the Queen. But above all else, Cleo loved exploring the great outdoors. Whether discovering her first snow in Colorado or chasing blue-tail lizards in New Mexico, Cleo’s insatiable curiosity never waned regardless of the location or season. She also knew exactly what to do with a rainy day in Portland: embrace it like a warm blanket or a tasty bowl of tuna.​

She used up at least 9 nine lives — probably more. She once survived a cold night all alone (as a kitten) in the Nevada desert surrounded by rattlesnakes and coyotes; she emerged unscathed. Cleo beat cancer for almost two years — defying the odds and Gods that would have eclipsed a lesser foe. ​And recently, she took immense pride in her fierce pedigree as “Black Panther” topped the box office, setting numerous records all over the world. Wakanda forever.

Cleo also made me a better person and taught me the definition of unconditional love. When life’s cruel twists and turns made me want to crawl inside a bottle, she quickly reminded me to shut down my pity party and open a can of chow. Stat. As a deep thinker (far greater than my own capacity), she couldn’t be bothered by trivial human concerns of an unalterable past or unreachable future. Please. Cleo lived her life in the moment like a virtuoso and remained present till her last breath.


Albert Schweitzer once said, “There are two means of refuge from the misery of life; music and cats.” While that may seem a bit melodramatic, I agree wholeheartedly. No man, woman or beast ever deserved to be lionized more than our BG (baby girl) and no tribute could possibly honor her immeasurable legacy. Additionally, she would disprove two pervasive superstitions: black cats and the number 13 being unlucky. Nonsense. Wealth and luck can be measured in many ways — but mine will always reflect the 13 years I enjoyed with this black cat. 


Cleopatra is survived by her housemates, Girlene, Noel and Liam. She will be missed.




December 9, 2018 - County Kerry, Ireland


We scattered Cleo's ashes today at the beach down the road from the cottage. Per the old custom, I included a piece of candle to light her way across the river of death, a coin for the fare, and poured out some whiskey to fortify her journey. 


We will always know where she can be found -- and have named the spot, "Cleo's Cove." Although I'm not the least bit religious, an amazing rainbow beamed over the bay while walking down to the sea. It was pretty damn glorious. 

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