Harley Jan 2009—9 Feb 2024

A big brown tabby cat with a white chin lies on a red and white ikat throw on the sofa
Harley. Photos: Zazie Todd

By Zazie Todd PhD

On Friday we had to say goodbye to our beloved brown tabby cat, Harley. He was 15 and had lived with us since he was about 2.5 years old.

Harley was a very affectionate cat who would start purring as soon as I walked into the room (something that ended up in a story in The Atlantic after a journalist asked me what made my cats purr). He was also an expert at opening doors, which sometimes led to a few adventures or at least to extra treats.  

Although he was an indoor cat, there would be moments when we could not find Harley anywhere. Then, after we hunted through the house, he would suddenly be sitting in the middle of the hall. It was as if he had teleported there from somewhere else.

Harley had a number of medical conditions that were well managed with twice-daily insulin injections and pills. He was diagnosed with heart failure at the emergency vet about 16 months ago, but he had been doing well since and his loss comes as a shock.

Harley leaves a legacy, especially in my book Purr: The Science of Making Your Cat Happy, where there are many stories about him. He is also mentioned in anecdotes in Wag: The Science of Making Your Dog Happy, and in my upcoming book about fearful and anxious dogs.

Harley is very much missed.

A tabby cat with amazing green eyes sits in a cat tree

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