Sequoia Park Zoo mourns death of beloved cat Chester

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Staff at Sequoia Park Zoo issued a deeply moving social media post on Saturday informing the public about the sad death of their resident domestic cat Chester. 

“The Zoo is deeply saddened to share that we said goodbye to Chester the Domestic cat this week. Chester was very beloved by the community and lived a long, happy life at the Sequoia Park Zoo,” the post began. 

Adopted by the zoo in 2003 when he was just a few years old, Chester served as the zoo’s unofficial greeter for the past 18 years bringing joy to visitors and staff alike, and there’s little doubt his absence will be keenly felt.

“It takes a special cat to be a visitor favorite in a zoo, especially when you’re competing with animals like red pandas and river otters,” the zoo shared.

Many children have stated Chester as their reason for wanting to visit the zoo and his whereabouts has always been one of the first thing staff get asked about when people pour through the zoo’s gates. And it seems everyone's love of this feline furkid was returned in spades.

“Chester was always happy to make a new friend and loved getting attention. No matter what was happening at the Zoo, Chester was always there by our side - reminding us it is always a good time for new friends and cat naps.”

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When he first arrived at the zoo, Chester lived in the Barnyard where he sat beside staff during the day and helped tell the story of animal domestication. But come nightfall when all the visitors had gone home for the day, Chester had an equally important mission - ridding the barn of wild mice. 

As he got older and began to slow down, Chester was fond of hanging out on the couch in the Zoo Keeper Office - that is, when he wasn’t manning the gates and greeting and farewelling zoo visitors. 

While Chester was healthy throughout most of his life, staff say he’d slowly started to experience a range of common age-related conditions.

“In recent years he had developed some health issues including kidney disease, a thyroid condition and arthritis, which were able to be managed successfully with medication and a special diet. Over the past year the health issues progressed and compromised his quality of life.”

On Sunday, August 29, 2021, the team at Sequoia Park Zoo made the decision to have Chester humanely euthanized where he died the way he had lived, surrounded by his caretakers.

“Zoo staff provided the highest quality of care for him and loved him very much. He will be dearly missed.”

Staff are currently creating a memorial slideshow of Chester to share with all those who loved him and the zoo is asking members of the public to send in their favorite photos of Chester so they can be added in. 

If you’d like to contribute, you can send your photos to the zoo’s Facebook page, by email to [email protected], or dropped off as physical copies at the zoo’s ticket booth.

Kathryn Rosenberg

Kathryn is a freelance writer with a passion for creating health and wellness, travel and wildlife content. Originally from New Zealand, her nomadic lifestyle has her currently fur baby-less. She scratches her pet parent itch by stealing frequent cuddles with any neighbourhood cat kind enough to indulge her.

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