2003-04-01 — 2021-03-01

Brooklyn “Cuddies” Catalopolous, 18, died in the very early morning hours in the warmth and comfort of his bed on March 1, 2021 after a very brief but severe illness. Born in April, 2003 in an auto mechanic’s garage in the Greenpoint neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY, he was brought to his first home on the Upper West Side of Manhattan in mid-May, the result of his parent’s very eager Craigslist search.

Having been the only tiny kitten of his litter that the mechanic was able to capture from amidst the car parts, Brooklyn’s affection was obvious from the very first night he spent in his new home. On this night, he crawled over the couch cushion barrier placed at the top of the spiral staircase for his protection, quietly made his way down the precarious steps, and clawed his way up the bedspread to sleep with his parents, John and Todd. The next morning, Brooklyn established the almost daily routine of visiting each parent in the shower, lapping up clean water, and bucking the stereotype that cats prefer not to get wet. Thus began Brooklyn’s predilection for drinking primarily from the bathtub faucet, or getting “tubbies” each day.

A constant companion, Brooklyn traveled extensively throughout the Northeast over the next three years. He would jump, with elation, into his own Sherpa travel cat carrier when his parents would simply lay the bag on the floor, open it, and call out the phrase “Jeannie’s packing up!”  Weekend jaunts to places like the Jersey Shore, Boston, MA, Providence, RI, and Portsmouth NH, amongst others, were second nature to this adventurous cat. Checking in to hotels with a litter box in tow became second nature to John and Todd.

Resilient and intrepid, Brooklyn enjoyed experiencing two new homes over this time period as well:  one in Jersey City, NJ and another in Mt. Lebanon, PA. Brooklyn’s Jersey City rowhouse afforded him the space and ability to stretch his legs and run around in ways he had never imagined possible in his cramped Manhattan apartment. It was here that his love of chasing lattice jingle-ball cat toys was solidified — but only those whose ring produced an extremely specific timbre afforded by an extraordinarily particular type of metal bell. A cat toy connoisseur, Brooklyn looked forward to visits from his Auntie Nickol, who always arrived generously with gifts in hand (and well-manicured nails, perfect for scratchies.) His ability to chase or capture jingle-balls and toy mice earned him great renown, even internationally, as his UK mates Charlotte and James admired his prowess during their visits.

Brooklyn’s love of the outdoors first became apparent upon his westward move to Mt. Lebanon. Although he enjoyed trips to Central Park as a resident of the Upper West Side, Brooklyn had never before had access to his own private outdoor space. He enjoyed working with John in the garden and sitting on the back porch with friends. He made his desire to venture outdoors abundantly clear by pounding on the kitchen storm door, alternating rapidly between his two front paws, until anyone in earshot or eyeshot agreed to acquiesce to his “polite” request. This became playfully known as Brooklyn’s “cat treadmill.” It was here in Mt. Lebanon, however, that his celebrated days of being an “only cat” would soon come to an end.

In 2008 Brooklyn met a brother, Gryffin, with whom he enjoyed spending time until his very last day, even despite the lack of sense and intelligence that Brooklyn perceived in his companion. Gryffin’s despondency as a result of the loss of his brother continues to be both apparent and heartbreaking. Also in 2008, Brooklyn’s Aunt Alycia and cousin Davie moved in to his Mt. Lebanon home. Although not a great fan of dogs, Brooklyn’s eagerness to teach manners to his cousin Davie became evident through the frequent growls and swift swats that were intended to let her know that she could stay in HIS home, but only if she would agree to toe the line.

This time period saw an increase in visits to his grandparents’ houses. Brooklyn enjoyed visiting Nana Hope, who affectionately called him “Brookies,” and Pop Pop John, who loved taunting and playing with him under a sweatshirt while whistling and shouting “Brooklyn! Do you wanna fight?!” (Brooklyn’s implied response was always undoubtedly a resounding “Yes!”) It was here that Brooklyn first encountered his avian friend Tidbits, with whom he would peacefully share a home in his later years.

Additionally he often traveled to visit grandparents Grammie Deb and Papa Fred, who were both loving caregivers to Brooklyn over the years, attending to his needs, sneaking him treats, and cuddling with him nightly. Visits to both sets of grandparents were referred to by John and Todd as a trip to a “cat spa.” Brooklyn undoubtedly relished both the opportunity to travel as well as any time spent as the only cat in grandparents’ households in Trappe, PA and Latrobe, PA. The unlimited attention, pampering, food, and relaxation were worthy of any quality spa, and certainly comprised some of his happiest hours on Earth. Brooklyn continued to appreciate these visits throughout his entire life.

In 2011, after Alycia and Davie moved out, Brooklyn met his cousins Greg, Tuss, and Moo Shoo, with whom he surprisingly and inexplicably enjoyed cohabitating for a few years. It was not uncommon for someone to wake up with “’Cuddies,’ ‘Gryf,’ and ‘The Old Lady & The Shoo’” all sleeping together in the same bed with them. But this peace was not to last.

After his cousins moved to Shadyside, Brooklyn eventually moved to his fourth and final home in the fall of 2014 in the Lawrenceville neighborhood of Pittsburgh, PA. The next summer would see the addition of two brothers to the household within a mere few weeks. Longtime friend Anthony, who first learned of the legend of Brooklyn through math problems created for his 9th grade class, returned from a Fulbright Scholarship in Bulgaria along with Niko to live at home with Brooklyn. Very shortly thereafter, Gingey’s nightly visits from one of the Lawrenceville cat colonies to Brooklyn’s back garden morphed into a permanent in-home residency. Brooklyn’s patience with these two “Raptors,” as they have become known, was understandably thin and most certainly waned as the years progressed. But as they say: with age comes wisdom.

It was during this time that Brooklyn cleverly trained Todd and John to create a permanent and personal “cat spa,” but this time in his very own home. Gryffin would be the only other cat ever granted admittance. He also thoroughly enjoyed spending his days in the back garden away from the Raptors most of the year while napping in the shade, drinking from the fountain, and chasing birds, mice, and moles all while exploring his own private and verdant wonderland. He appreciated being taken on increasingly frequent visits to his grandparents’ homes in his advanced years.

A special thanks to Brooklyn’s many caretakers: Kandis & Greg, Nick, Alycia, Jason & Blair, and especially grandparents Deb & Fred, with whom he spent the last three months elatedly being pampered and spoiled. It was there, just one week before his passing that Brooklyn met his newest canine cousin Rudy, whom he was able to scold, hiss at, and frighten with the energy, vigor, and vitality of a significantly younger cat.

Brooklyn will be forever missed; some of his ashes will be scattered near his favorite cat mint plant in the back garden as well as near his first home on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, where we initially learned what a unique, exceptional, unforgettable and irreplaceable cat he truly was. May his spirit forever grace our home and hearts, yet haunt the Raptors forever!

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