Capi the Concierge Cat
Capi, Pacific Garden's concierge cat, is no more. He has gone to the great cattery in the sky, where, no doubt, he will be checking everyone who arrives and deciding whether they are fit to enter.
Capi (short for Capulet), in case you didn't know, was the feline who kept close guard over our parking-lot. Although somewhat small and scrawny beneath his leonine coat, Capi sauntered between our cars and on our sidewalk as if he were a beast at least three times his size.
His favourite spot to snooze was on the hood of a newly-arrived and warm car. He seldom budged until he absolutely had to. It was not uncommon to open your car door, get into the driver's seat, buckle up, turn on the engine - and only then would Capi bestir himself, stretch, and ever so slowly, slide off the hood, all the while giving you the most irritated of looks because you had the temerity to disturb his well-deserved sleep.
Capi insisted on displays of affection. He simply would not let you pass until he had received a scratch behind the ears, and a word or two of murmured conversation. You would think that would be annoying, but he actually provided quite a therapeutic service.
There was something very soothing about communing with a cat after a difficult day at work or school, and his obvious delight in your attention was very affirming. Like most cats, he had a good understanding of human psychology, and knew what he could demand, and also what we needed.
Alas, Capi grew more frail in recent weeks, and began to show his age. The bones underneath his coat became more prominent, and his fur became matted and dull. He seldom greeted people, and was content to lie in the middle of the parking-lot, forcing people to drive around him.
It was obvious he was tired and wanted to leave us, but just couldn't let go. Finally his owner, Shawna, had a chat with him, and gave him permission. That night, Capi walked away, and was never seen again.
I know what you're thinking - he was just a scruffy, beat-up old pussycat, so why the fuss? It's hard to say, but I think it's because he had become such a fixture of our lives here, we saw him as part of our community.
We'll miss him.