He was an expatriate cat. Born somewhere in about 1990, he was abandoned in a state park in Norfolk, Connecticut. Friends who lived adjacent to the park were able to lure him into a cat carrier with food – he was such a scrawny adolescent boy – and they gave him to us because the Captain had a hankering for a marmalade kitty.

He lived in our bathroom for a week; I spent several hours daily just sitting on the floor, talking to him softly, coaxing him to come for a treat, a little scritch, and finally to sit in my lap. Turns out he was a lover. And a talker. That’s how he got his name. He used to walk down our long driveway with me every morning when I went for the paper, and he sang the whole way down. So we named him after Pavarotti.

When we moved permanently to Italy he moved too, becoming a very cosmopolitan cat. He never let it go to his head, though. He stayed his usual lovable, talkative self, and he grew hugely fat, like his namesake.

He used to love to sleep on the roof of the rustico below our house. There was just one problem – while he could get up on the roof, he couldn’t get down, so his penchant for going there always ended up with me at one end of a long board and him delicately tiptoeing down towards me from the other.

He was such a well behaved and lovable gentlemen that friends were always willing to take him in for several months when we began to return to the States for annual visits. That was lucky for us, and even luckier for him. This year he was with two young women who adored him and cared for him beautifully. They asked to watch over him, knowing that he had renal failure and that it was likely he would die while we were away.

That’s just what happened today. He slipped away in his sleep at the age of 18 or 19, and has been buried next to the dog Balto, who probably would’ve eaten him in life, but who will guard him in death. He had a pretty interesting life for a cat and I think it was a good life. I know he made our life much better just by being the cat he was, and we will miss him so much.