By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Dexter, 2001-2022

Dexter in 2014

Dexter was a badass — a stone-cold killer and a beheader of bunnies. A rescue cat who was about six months old when we adopted him, he was an orange tabby who I would describe as friendly, but not too friendly. I love the above photo of him, taken eight years ago. We have plenty of pictures that are more in focus, but none that captures his attitude quite like this one.

In 2006

Dexter died early today. We celebrated his 21st birthday in March even though we weren’t entirely sure of his birth date. He’d been slowing down for quite some time and was obviously failing during the past week or so. But his final passing came quietly, without the need for any final trip to the vet.

My favorite memory of him is from when he was young and strong. He brought a live bird into the kitchen and let it go so that it was flying around. I opened the top of a window. The bird flew out and Dexter leaped after him, through the open space and out into the backyard.

That one, at least, got away.

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  1. Lex

    I’m so sorry, Dan. I’ve had two orangies, one who lived to be 18 and one who will turn 13 in May and is still with us and thriving. Orangies rule.

  2. James Keefe

    RIP Dexter.

  3. Great remembrance Dan.
    I too had an orange tabby , they’re the best cats.

  4. Jeff

    Condolences Dan. Tough losing pets but sounds like Dexter had a great long life that ended as gracefully as one could imagine.

  5. Jack Gormley

    Dan, I’m sorry for your family’s loss. Rock on, Dexter!

  6. sally cragin

    I’m so sorry. Orange cats are all little kings and we are lucky to be in their kingdom. What I’ve found about cats is that they eventually send a friend because they know how vulnerable we are. He looks like my favorite kind of cat. During my years as a rock critic for the Phoenix I provided shelter for an orange tom with a touch of feral who would follow me all over Cambridgeport deep into the night. We went down to the Charles once, and he was freaked out by the water rats. Orange cats are in a class of their own.

  7. Rick

    21 years! My condolences to you and your family Dan. What great memories.

  8. Marilyn Perry

    We are very sorry to hear about Dexter, so difficult to lose a part of our families.
    He certainly had a good life with all of you.
    I remember taking care of him with Trevor many years ago, Trevor was just a young boy,
    Absolutely amazing that Dexter lived so long.
    So sorry 🐱

  9. Katherine Blake

    John and I were at the veterinarian’s today, with 18-year-old Amelia Bedelia.
    We found out that she has an enlarged kidney; blood work later this week
    will tell more. Have read that it is far more supportive to ease the end-of-life
    passage a week too early, than a day too late. Delia, John and I have been a
    loving, mostly introverted trio, since March 2019. Delia’s purring and peaceful
    presence will be greatly missed, hopefully some time in the far-off future. The
    best to you, Dan, Dexter and Barbara. It is such a loss.

    • Meredith Keane

      I’m so sorry for your loss of a ” family member”. I have a 23 year old siamese cat and I know I will be going through her loss like you have with Dexter.

  10. Very sorry to hear this. Sounds like quite a cat. A house can seem very empty when a pet is gone. My sympathies to you.

  11. Effie Stewart

    Write about anything Dan and you have my complete attention. Write about the death of a pet ( cats especially, we have 5 )and you lose me to tears! Hopefully you have already taken home a kitty ( or 2 )from a local shelter. Keep the pet updates coming!!!!!!

  12. Myrtle Pfister

    Dexter had such pizazz….gorgeous boy…..who will be missed…I am sorry for your loss…..nothing ever prepares us for this….Dexter will always be family…..

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