The first time I saw him was in a snapshot sent via an email from my son. It was, pre-smartphone, so all I got was one grainy, slightly blurry image, but I was instantly smitten. I told my son to bring him home, we’d find a way to make it work.

That was 15 years ago, and save a few vacations where I left him behind, we were together every day for 14 years. He was my friend, confidante and yes, a cat. He was a large, gray and…