Cat: Zoey (Domestic Shorthair Tuxedo) – Brooklyn, NY
(1990 – Dec 1, 2011)
Zoey the cat, who witnessed the fall of apartheid and the rise of Occupy Wall Street, and who weathered countless airplane, car, subway and bus trips as she traveled across Africa and the United States, died at her Brooklyn home Dec. 1 after a short illness. She was at least 21 years old.
Zoey was born in South Africa, about the same time Nelson Mandela was released from prison, and was a reflection of her homeland: mainly black, with some white; stoic and resilient in the midst of upheaval; a bit battered but beautiful.
Like her adoptive caretaker, she survived countless close calls as she adapted to the whims of various news organizations. She was abducted by wild dogs in West Africa; held hostage by corrupt customs agents in Ivory Coast; threatened with deportation by airport officials in South Africa; confronted by ice-pick wielding burglars in Johannesburg; hit by at least one car; forced to do battle with rabid rodents, reptiles and large winged insects; and struck by several mysterious illnesses in sub-Saharan Africa. In New York, she endured a tornado, a hurricane, and an earthquake.
Perhaps her most harrowing episode was in 2005, when she lived secretly for several weeks at a hotel in Santa Maria, Calif., the base of journalists covering the Michael Jackson trial. The trauma included listening to replays of “Never Can Say Goodbye” while reporters rehashed testimony from the trial each evening.
In later years, Zoey gave up traveling and retired to a sunny apartment in Brooklyn Heights, where she lived happily until falling asleep quietly and forever in the arms of her devoted caretaker.