Jack the traveling cat

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A recent Friday at 10:12 a.m.:

Arriving too late for breakfast at their usual spot in the Grandviews restaurant at the Grand Hyatt hotel, Peter Pasquale lifted Jack, his 2-year-old tabby, onto his shoulder and set out in search of another option. Friday is Pasquale's day off from work, and he and his feline companion usually spend the day doing errands or sightseeing. The leash and carrying case are mostly for show, since Jack prefers to ride on Pasquale's shoulder.

Pasquale is a traveling consultant who teaches companies how to use digitized medical record systems. He sets up temporary residence in different parts of the country until his trainings are complete. Every six to 12 months he starts over in a new town. He gets back to Minneapolis to see his wife infrequently, and Jack has become his lifeline.

"It's a really lonely life being a consultant, when you only go home one or two weekends a month. This keeps me sane," he said, stroking Jack's neck while sitting on the edge of his hotel bed. "There is always someone waiting for me when I get home."

The workers at the Grand Hyatt, where Pasquale has stayed since January, are accustomed to seeing Jack and Pasquale together. They ask what's wrong when they see Pasquale walk alone through the halls.

The two attracted plenty of attention at Macy's. Several clerks gathered around making goo-goo noises and tickling Jack's nose while Pasquale picked out new socks and a tie. A cabdriver seemed unfazed as Jack purred on Pasquale's lap during a lunch excursion in the Mission District.

"Everywhere I think I can take him, I'll bring him." Pasquale said he didn't want a cat two years ago when his daughter brought the abused kitten home from a party. But after three days of bonding, he couldn't let Jack go. Since then, they have become inseparable travel companions.

"I don't know how anybody can be a consultant and not bring a cat with them. I don't know how they can stand it."

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