My longest friend and companion died yesterday afternoon.

I received Chuck from a high school friend in 1989. I was 17 years old and living with Tom Marion in Seattle. Chuck started out as Johnny Cat because his head was so big compared to the rest of his body and he looked *just like* the cartoon on the Johnny Cat Litter bag. From Johnny, Tom started calling him Mr. Johnson, Big J and, later, Charles B Johanson. On occasion we’d call him Percy, short for Percival. By his fourth year we named him every derivative of Charles: Charlie, Chaz, C-dog and, finally, Chuck. Tom & I moved with Chuck to Spokane in 1997.

Things change: Tom & I split in 2001 and for a while it was just me & Chuck. Together, Chuck & I have stayed with almost every one of our close friends’ houses as a unit. We are lucky to have such gracious people in our lives who accepted that my love interest was 15lbs of fur and meowed like a drunken sailor.

Chuck saw more of the United States than most if its inhabitants. Together we went on a 6-week roadtrip from Spokane to Leavenworth to the Canadian Border, Seattle, Portland, Crater Lake, the Eastern side of California, Lake Tahoe, Sacramento, Davis, San Francisco, Highway 1 and Monterey where we stayed for 4 years with our new best friend, Justin Lewis. Then, we three trekked to Arizona (through Navajo & Hopi Nations), Utah, Colorado, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, and – finally – Rhode Island.

For what has been close to the last twenty years of my life I have had Chuck with me or very close to me and I miss him terribly. He died naturally and peacefully. We are fortunate to have been able to be with him through his entire passage and grateful to have known him. He was an incredibly soulful cat.