In January 2021 Hermione, conjectured by some1 to have been the oldest Avocado cat, passed away. She was twenty-one years old, which according to online cat age converters means she was the equivalent of somewhere between 86 and 138 human years. She lived in four separate decades and two millennia.
My family adopted Hermione as a kitten from the Humane Society in 1999, taking pity on her when her brother stepped on her head in the kennel. She was our second of several cats to be named after characters from Harry Potter, the first three books of which were sweeping the nation at the time and were a bedtime-reading favorite of four-year-old me. The earliest available photographic evidence of her life is this crop from a Kodak 4×6, which can be dated to 2002 by a Lego Technic Boba Fett located elsewhere in frame.
Hermione was sleek and soft, and loved to sit on laps. Throughout her life she would pick A Spot – the back of the couch, the arm of a chair, the keyboard of my laptop, my mom’s pillow – and hew steadfastly to it for a month or so before moving on to another one. Several times the Spot was my computer chair, whether my legs were in between her and it or not. The very first picture I took with my very first smartphone was of her curled up tightly in one of her Spots in December 2014.
We knew that as an indoor-outdoor cat there was a possibility that Hermione’s days would be numbered. Several other cats came and went during her time with us, but she was steadfast and continually surprised us with her vitality. As late as 2017, I have photos of her somehow having made it onto the roof (then yelling at us because she couldn’t figure out how to get back down).
A bum leg eventually put an end to her rooftop explorations (and made her highly dependent on human scritching on her left side) but she soldiered on a few years longer, remaining lovingly cranky to the last. The final picture I ever took of her was on December 27th, 2020, when she leapt up onto my lap only to find our youngest cat Minnie, her sometime tormentor, already occupying it. But instead of growling, she leaned her head in, let Minnie lick her ears, and then sat down beside her. At peace at last.