Yesterday, employees and patrons of Bloomsbury Books in Ashland, Oregon gathered to remember Orlando (pictured at right), who passed away last week after a 15-year career as the bookstore’s cat.
Orlando was adopted around 1993 by retired Bloomsbury employee Marilyn Edwards. No one is certain of his breed and exact age, but he was named after Virginia Woolf’s “Orlando.”
Bookstore owner Karen Chapman remembers the time he scratched the top of a box of books, and damaged the book Women Who Love Dogs. “We were sure he was able to read.”
“He was a working cat. He had a job, and he knew what it was,” Chapman said. “He was a goodwill ambassador, he was a greeter.”
For many customers, like Bloomsbury regular Mary Anne Bergman, Orlando was a reason to stop by the store. “Every Friday we would go to Pangea and order salmon, and we would save Orlando a portion,” said Bergman. “We would go on the children’s bench and feed it to him.”
In later years, as his health declined, Orlando paid for his vet bills through the sales of postcards at the store. The photogenic cat knew when to strike a pose, and one photographer, Diana Standing, said, “He was just such a wise, sweet cat. That was a real special time for me.”