It’s always sad when a friend’s cat dies. My heart hurts for what I know they’re about to go through as they mourn their loss. We’ve all been there, and even though everyone grieves in their own unique way, we all know how hard it is. And when the cat is one of those “soul cats,” the feline version of a soul mate, the pain of loss can be overwhelming. Earlier this week, my dear friend Kate Benjamin, the founder of Hauspanther, lost her soul cat Ando.


Ando was Kate’s original Hauspanther. He came into her life 14 years ago when a coworker told her about a little black kitten that had been born outside her apartment. Kate still remembers the first time she met him: “He marched up to me and I picked him up only to have him protest to be put down, a personality trait that stayed with him his whole life. He was full of sass and he charmed every person he ever met,” she wrote in a Facebook tribute to Ando.

Kate worried about adding other cats to her family after she took Ando in, but it turned out that, rather than being dominant, as Kate had feared, he became a calming presence for each new cat. “Every other cat absolutely worshipped him,” wrote Kate.


Ando could be a handful, exploring, and frequently destroying, everything in his path. He was partial to paper, cardboard and books.

He was the star model for many of Kate’s products, like the Primetime Petz shelf in the photo at the top of this post. He was also her office assistant. He excelled at the latter role in the last few years as he slowed down, spending most days sleeping on Kate’s desk next to her computer.


Over the past few years, Ando dealt with diabetes, kidney failure, hyperthyroidism, and heart disease. He passed away at home, being held by Kate and her husband Mark. “There is a hole in my heart,” wrote Kate, “but my soul feels fuller because I know he is part of it and we have been reunited.”


I never met Ando, but from the many photos of this gorgeous Hauspanther that I’ve seen over the past nine years, I’ve always felt that he was an old soul. These special soul cats change our lives. The love between a soul cat and his chosen human is bigger than anything else in the world, and when a soul cat leaves us, it’s devastating.

My heart hurts for Kate as she is mourning the loss of her beautiful boy.

Rest easy, sweet Ando.

All photos ©Kate Benjamin, via Facebook

23 Comments on A Tribute to Ando

  1. I have a tear in my eye because I am the original owner of Ando. Kate and I both worked at the same design school when he was part of a litter that was born to a stray. I too fell immediately in love with him when I brought him in. I remember it was Halloween and he was this cute, little, back kitty with personality up the wazoo.

    Unfortunately my cat at the time wasn’t having it. I was absolutely thrilled when Kate rushed over to my desk and said “yes.” I knew he had found his forever home. Thanks Kate for keeping the name and sharing Ando with the world and allowing me to watch him grow and be a part of your life. ❤️

  2. My heart goes out to you. I am struggling at this time on when is it time to say goodbye. My soul mate of 14 years has a heart condition and now has failing kidneys. He is such a good trooper with the medicine and fluids, but each time he looks at me with dread.

  3. Kate, my empathy goes to you. I lost my dear cat Shasta nine years ago. She was a “dumpster baby” who’d had many adopters who discarded her heartlessly before I took her from the last meanie. She lived with me the last ten years of her life; I adored her. I dedicated my recent book to her and wrote the dedication poem for her: “I think I could turn and live with animals….” She was pure white–unlike Ando, but became, like Ando, a kind of calm mediator between other cats who became part of our household. We love those dear cats who become permanent stars in our purrfurred families…. Blessings on Ando, and Shasta….

  4. I’m so sorry for the loss of your beautiful soulcat Ando..My heart goes out to you..I love all hauspanthers and those with feisty attitudes add an extra bit of fun..My soulcat Jack Ack Ack, is 17 yrs old and doing good so far, but I worry about when he will have to leave me, and my heart too, will break..God bless you..

  5. Ando has a special spot in your heart that will always be there. You were both so lucky to have each others love. It is so hard to lose them. My sincere sympathy goes out to you. I have a deep connection with my “black” cat Reo. She is my soul cat for sure. We are so blessed to have them. Time goes too fast & we have to let them go way too soon. Love & purrs sent to you.

  6. To Kate and family – my heartfelt sympathy for the loss of your Ando, he was beautiful. There is nothing and no one that will ever replace him in your heart. Grieve as you must, take the time needed, then honor your life together by moving on. He will always be with you, you will see and feel him always, but know he is waiting for you at the crossover point, and you will be reunited. God bless, and remember the loving times you had together. RIP Ando……

  7. He will never leave your side, you will feel his presents as he watches over you, just as he always has. Celebrate this awesome bond and allow him to be pain free again. Big hugs, it is hard.

  8. Someone once asked me what the most difficult thing about having a soul cat is. I shook my head, looked down at the floor with my eyes closed and replied. “The goodbye.”

  9. He looked like such a cutie and he aged so well. I love the photo of him in the box. What was he thinking about? If only cats could talk. A big hug for you Kate and your husband.

  10. My heart weeps for Kate, Mark and their other furbabies. Ando was a gorgeous mini-panther (as all other ebony felines tend to be), and I’m sure his siblings are missing him too. You have left us much too soon, handsome and beautiful one… 🙁

  11. It never hurts less, even when it is something that you knew was coming. My heart goes out to Kate and her husband forr thier loss. And was beautiful and I know that he was well loved.

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