Benny Keene

July 2, 2002 to February 1, 2022

Benny was adopted from Denise Stanley’s litter of kittens on July 2, 2002. We chose him because he was the only kitten getting out of the box, while his siblings snuggled with their mom. The first time we brought him home, we lost him. He sounded like a squeak toy, and we found him on the bottom shelf of a bookcase on top of some books.

As he settled into his new home, he became best friends with a stuffed teddy bear and would carry it around with him everywhere. He wouldn’t leave the room without taking it with him even though it was bigger than him and was a real struggle for him to carry it, even up and down the stairs.

When we got Benny, we already had Ginger with us. Having been our only cat for eight years, Ginger slowly came to accept Benny and he mourned her passing in 2013 by sleeping in her basket for two nights after she was gone. Benny was a great comfort to us when we were grieving Ginger’s passing.

After that, we had many happy years with Benny now that he was top cat and leader of the household. Benny was naturally curious, wasn’t thrilled with children, but would eventually come out for adults. If you spent the night, you might find a toy mouse in your shoes, or even your luggage when you unpacked. He was very persnickety and independent. He didn’t like to be picked up or held. He laid on you and cuddled up according to his terms.

He was smart, knew his name, knew the words for “brush,” “treats,” and learned their spellings. Perhaps his most loving attribute was his awareness of our health issues and keeping a vigil on the bed. He has comforted us through 19 ½ years of life’s ups and downs and brought immense joy and enrichment to us with his wake up whisker kisses (and if that didn’t work, shake his head to make the bell on his collar ring then meow, sounding just like “wake up.”) If that didn’t work, well you got bitten on the arm or hand! We will miss you getting us to bed on time and rubbing against our power toothbrushes in the morning. Cancer finally got you in the end, but you got to go out on a high note because you could still hear, see, walk, and make small jumps.

Benny’s favorite toys were first, his teddy bear, aluminum foil balls, the shiny crinkle balls, and his mice. He loved to skittle these along the floors and hallways. He loved chasing flashlight circles, laser dots, and his fishing pole toys. He had a thing for licking tape and plastic bags. He loved his catnip banana best of all. He loved to scoot around dropping emery boards, plastic straws, and Q-tips.

He was also best buds with our Max for the three years we had him, as they were just months apart in age and cuddled often. Benny and Max are famous for jumping in the Christmas tree and stretching full out on the limbs. We decided to put harnesses and leashes on them and bring them into our fenced yard. Epic fail! They wriggled out. Benny was jumping for joy at a little white butterfly, tongue hanging out just like a happy puppy and he hopped over the fence into our neighbor’s yard!

He hated closed doors but loved his boxes and perches. He loved tissue paper on the floor and would make running starts to pounce on it, then slide-surf on it. He was in your lap if reading anything and would smack at the newspaper being held up. He was jealous of phone callers and let you know it. He would walk on the keyboard and lay on it. He would bite your hand if you even tried to move the mouse. He would photobomb zoom meetings, then settle in your lap. He grew to love our relatives and his caretakers. He made sure that Greg and I had equal attention, in addition to his love of stretching out in front of the fireplace, hopping from one lap to another. It was our privilege and honor to afford him every option of comfort and security during his cancer care. We moved him above us in bed on his special heating pad between our pillows.

We want to thank Drs. Connie Canode and Kevin Britt and the entire staff of Veterinarians to Cats for their loving compassionate care and life-extending treatments. We also thank Dr. Bridget Quatmann and the staff of Veterinary Wellness Center of Roanoke for her tender care and the treatments he received that put some of the spark back that was missing in his old age and gave him a better quality of life. He loved his daily brushing time and moxa routine. He loved his warm orthopedic bed, his hot water bottle, and his heating pad.

We are so very grateful for the long time we had with him and will cherish his memory in our hearts forever.