A Traveler’s Tribute to His Cat

This is Noir. He enjoys lurking and running up and down staircases.
This is Noir. He enjoys lurking and running up and down staircases.
Noir put the happiness into returning home from even the greatest adventures.

Coming home is one of the best parts of travel.

Yes, I love a good adventure. I love the sights, smells and sounds of an unfamiliar city. I love seeing a forest filled with creatures I’ve never encountered before.

But my favorite foods, my own bed and – most of all – my most-excellent cat Noir made my return home a happy occasion.

If this was your cat, he'd make your top 5 list, too.
Noir wasn’t a very good guitar technician, but he tried hard.

Unfortunately, Noir will no longer greet me when I return from my next trip. We said goodbye to him last night after 16 years of friendship. Noir turned me from cat-indifferent to the sort of guy who couldn’t pass a cat without trying to pet it. During his long life, he watched me pack for my first international trip as an adult — he was the cat of the house while Sarah and I hiked glaciers, searched for kangaroos and mangled foreign languages. (Since he lacked opposable thumbs like most cats, our good friend Todd cared for him in our absence. Every time Todd came to visit, Noir treated him exactly like he did Sarah or me. Noir was friendly toward all humans, but he held Todd above the rest.)

During my travels, I encountered many feline friends that made me think of my little buddy back home. If not for him, I wouldn’t have made these new friends. As a tribute to Noir’s memory — in honor of his long life — in recognition of the cheer he brought to our home, here are some photos of the cat friends I’ve made around the world!

A friendly cat starts off his busy day on the lake near Hakone, Japan.
We met this friendly cat on the lake near Hakone, Japan. (2011)
The Hakone cats are a friendly bunch. This guy had a big motor mouth and wasn’t shy to ask for attention.
And another friendly Hakone cat.
These little furballs greeted visitors at a trailhead on Jeju Island, South Korea. (2011)
Sarah meets Casador, the original travel cat, at the La Paz Waterfall Gardens outside San Jose, Costa Rica. His name means “scratcher,” but something that means “Attention Hog” would’ve been more appropriate. (2005)


During lunch in a hut on the Mekong Delta in Vietnam, this little guy waited for anyone to drop a tasty morsel. (2013)
A perfect little Halloween cat gets some attention from Sarah in Bergen, Norway. (2012)
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I didn’t expect to see a fluffy, rolly-polly Maine Coone prowling Hopkins, Belize. But this one spotted us from a few hundred feet away, bounded down the beach and nearly knocked Sarah off the pier to get a petting. (2007)


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By Wandering Justin

Writer. Traveler. Gastronomic daredevil. Fitness fan. Homebrewer. Metal dude \m/. Cat and dog lover.


  1. It’s always a sad thing to lose a friend like that. But it seems to me that he has had a very long and happy life with you. And you have made a lot of other friends on your travels! 🙂

  2. Sorry to hear that you lost your buddy, Noir. Pets always fill our days with fun and love. Nice to see some of the many cats you have met while traveling. Cats are awesome! Nice tribute.

  3. Thanks, Michelle. Pets are such great family members … and I’m glad you enjoyed the tribute. I really wanted to end it with more hope and gratitude than sadness.

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