Ivy the cat certainly knew how to relax.
The orange and white feline was a storefront fixture at Ivy Insurance on South Street in Jamaica Plain and could often be seen stretched out on his back with a Cheshire cat-like grin. He delighted customers and passersby for nearly 15 years before his death on Aug. 22.
"Some knew him in person, and some knew him through the glass," said Tim Foley, the owner of Ivy Insurance. "He had hundreds and hundreds of friends. I have a feeling there were people who didn't have any other friends who kind of adopted him. Even the dogs loved him."
Foley said Ivy led a full and joyful life as a member of JP's quirky, colorful street scene. From the very old to the very young, many passersby couldn't help but break into a smile when they saw Ivy lounging in the 38 South St. window in all sorts of peculiar positions.
Foley remembers some extraordinary stories of people connecting with Ivy. Blind schoolchildren trying to figure out what he looked like by petting and prodding him; artists taking his photograph; a homeless man who wrote Ivy-inspired poetry, which Foley saved.
Through it all, Ivy was patient and tolerant. Or seemed to be. It can be difficult, after all, to know what a cat is really thinking.
"I'm not always there [in the store], but Ivy was," Foley said. "He had friends that I never met."
Ivy was the second of his name. The first Ivy passed away a few years back, but Foley said he'll never have a cat quite like this one.
"I'm getting a little long in the tooth, too — I'm 71 now," he said.
Nevertheless, he admits he's not ruling out adopting another cat.
But folks have made it clear that no cat will ever be able to replace Ivy. Comments on the Jamaica Plain News Facebook post about Ivy are filled with sweet memories and photos. Foley said someone drew an elaborate memorial portrait of Ivy in chalk on the street outside of his window.
"If we could all have the disposition of this cat," Foley said, "we'd all get along pretty well."