Tampa’s beloved cat Cole, of Cole and Marmalade fame, has died

Rest in peace to the black cat that millions cherished on YouTube.
In this 2020 photo, Jessica Josephs holds Cole and her husband Chris Poole holds a cat toy up for Marmalade at their home in Tampa.
In this 2020 photo, Jessica Josephs holds Cole and her husband Chris Poole holds a cat toy up for Marmalade at their home in Tampa. [ CHRIS URSO | Tampa Bay Times ]
Published Oct. 11, 2021

Revered internet feline Cole, a Tampa resident and half of the YouTube-famous duo Cole and Marmalade, has died.

On Sunday, Cole’s owners posted on Facebook that the family would be saying goodbye to the cat later that day.

“He put up a brave fight that was helped by all of the love you sent his way, but his body can’t support itself any longer and he let us know it’s time,” the post reads. “We’ll be furever grateful for the amazing support you’ve sent our way over the past 9 years.”

COLE 3/1/12 - 10/10/21 I'm so sorry everybody... we'll be saying goodbye to Cole later today 💔 He put up a brave fight...

Posted by Cole & Marmalade on Sunday, October 10, 2021

Chris Poole and his wife, Jessica Josephs, are the local couple behind the cats. According to Tampa Bay Times archives, the couple adopted Cole when he was just a 6-ounce kitten back in 2012. A friend had found him, flea-infested and alone, on the side of the road in Pasco County. The couple bottle fed him until he was strong.

Related: How Tampa's Cole and Marmalade got famous, beat cancer and helped save more cats

Marmalade was adopted next. Then came the videos that made the cats a household name. Over 1.4 million people followed their Cole and Marmalade videos on YouTube, and another 2 million followed the cats on Facebook. The feline duo made appearances on Ellen and the cover of Modern Cat magazine. Along the way, Poole and Josephs used their platform to educate folks on the importance of adopting black cats and FIV-positive cats.

By March 2020, a lawsuit between the cats’ owners and their former partners in Digital Pet Media stopped Poole and Josephs from posting cat pictures online. After a confidential settlement that August, the posts resumed.

Related: Cole and Marmalade back online after cat lawsuit is settled

The cats have long battled sickness.

Marmalade is positive for FIV, feline immunodeficiency virus, and survived lymphoma. Most recently, Cole was fighting cancer. According to an Instagram post, abdominal scans found that Cole’s left kidney had a mass on it, surrounded by fluid, in late September.

Cole will be missed.

“This handsome house panther had a pawsome life,” said Sunday’s post. “And made a big difference in the world.”