, Salem, MA

December 4, 2012

Lucy, feline fixture of downtown Salem, passes away

By Bethany Bray

---- — SALEM — We could learn a few lessons from Lucy the cat. Be curious. Be friendly. Take it easy.

Lucy, a fixture of downtown Salem, died this weekend. He — yes, he — was 12 years old.

“He was just a nice cat. He made people happy, and just liked being himself,” said Lucy’s owner, David Pelletier. “I felt really lucky that we had him, and lots of people felt the same way.”

Lucy, a Maine coon cat, packed many adventures into his 12 years. An outdoor cat, he would wander from Pelletier’s home on Crombie Street through downtown — meowing with just about every step, Pelletier said.

Lucy’s second home, however, was The Barking Cat pet shop on Essex Street. He would stop in just about every day to take a nap in a bin of cat toys or sit in a favorite spot by the cash register.

Owner Jeff McKee said Lucy could even recognize his car, and he would find the cat waiting for him in the morning to unlock the store. Lucy was sweet, very sociable and loved attention, McKee said.

“He had a good-natured cat attitude. That’s the way I liked to characterize him,” McKee said. “He was a really good friend. We will miss him.”

McKee would often post photos of Lucy on The Barking Cat’s Facebook page, with comments written in the voice of Lucy.

As of last night, dozens of people had left condolence messages about Lucy on the shop’s Facebook page.

Lucy’s favorite time of month was when The Barking Cat would receive a shipment of catnip. He would lie for hours in the empty box the catnip had been shipped in, McKee said.

Lucy was so prone to wander — in his younger years, he would roam as far as Dunkin’ Donuts on Washington Street — that Pelletier had a tag made for Lucy with his name and the phrase “I’m not lost.”

Lucy made headlines in April 2011 when he was cat-napped and reunited with his rightful owners several days later.

The Pelletiers got Lucy, a rescue cat, as a kitten. They named him Lucy because they thought he was a female cat.

The name stuck, even once a veterinarian broke the news that Lucy was, in fact, a male.

Lucy died from a blood clot, Pelletier said. They were on the way to the veterinarian’s office this weekend, when Lucy “melted way in my lap,” Pelletier said.

“He had a pretty charmed life,” Pelletier said yesterday. “... He had fun. He was happy to go tooling around downtown. Everybody knew him.”

Bethany Bray can be reached at and on Twitter @SalemNewsBB.