Once you go with cats you never go back, these powerful ladies and their magnificent felines are living proofs of that statement. To get rid of the stereotypical mindset of society, a New York photographer BriAnne Wills stepped in and showed the world that women and cats are crazy but crazily incredible!
Wills captured plenty of photogenic moments of the felines and their beautiful owners, attached with heartwarming stories in the caption. Without cats, most of their lives would have been drowning in sorrow. And with cats, as we can see in their faces, they are safe to say that they are no longer depressed or anxious.
The project “Girls and their Cats” has spoken up to the right of most women who own cats and get criticized by the world. Once you are done crying out loud by reading these stories below, check out their Instagram to spend more tears, because it is worth crying!
"I had a very serious fear of cats my entire life. Until one of my friend's cats changed my mind, and I became a full-on cat lady. I made the decision to adopt one and spent countless hours trying to find my perfect kitten. I finally found "the one" and my sister, and I drove 2.5 hours to a small town in Pennsylvania to get him. We pulled up to a dilapidated trailer in the woods and were greeted by a toothless woman who had her power shut off for not paying her bill.
She was harboring sick animals that she said she "bred" herself. Against our better judgment, we took a look at the perfect little kitten from the website who, as it turned out, was not the cat we saw sick and hiding in a cardboard box on the kitchen floor. She claimed that she was a certified breeder and that the kitten was bred from two "award-winning show cats," who were nowhere to be found. I wanted to get out of there, but I looked at this kitten and knew he would die if I left him.
After a few attempts and several scratches later, I picked up the feral kitten, and I gave the woman her money and left. I called animal control and informed them of the situation. We immediately bought and applied flea medication, and by the time we got home, there was a ring of dead fleas next to him. He was also treated for ringworm, tapeworms, and roundworms. He was extremely feral and wouldn't let anyone touch him. I was so upset about the whole situation, but I knew I had to take care of him.
After a few weeks of treatment, he started to get stronger and he was eating, and slowly I could start to pet him. I realized that I was the only mom he ever had, and I think he did too. From then on we were completely inseparable. He makes everyone fall in love with him the second they see him and he has the most amazing personality. He will be 7 in May. He is the most perfect and precious thing in the world to me, and he has made me so happy over the years. Beetle will always be my one and only."
"Gizmo is the more outgoing cat. He’s incredibly smart and food motivated. I have to hide their treats in the fridge because Gizmo will find a way to open the bag and eat them all. He is also a lap cat. Gizmo will spend almost all day on my lap if he can. He likes sitting on other people’s laps, but only if their lap has a pillow on it. Cosmo is much more easygoing and doesn’t like to sit on laps but will do anything for pets. He does a “dolphin dive” to reach your hand for pets if you put it above his head. He has the loudest purr and is always ready to be loved. He has had a few health scares including a urinary blockage, and once he accidentally ate ibuprofen (which is incredibly dangerous!) but was a giant sweetheart even during those stressful vet visits.
I work from home, so I very much appreciate having the boys with me as my cat coworkers. I imagine the work-from-home life would be very lonely without them. Even though that often involves having someone sleeping on my desk and trying to walk on my keyboard, I don't know what I would do without my giant 12-year-old gingermuffins."
“I went to the shelter looking for a kitten. I've never had a kitten because I always take in older rescues so it was time to treat myself. But when I went to the shelter I found Bandit, a 6-month-old blind cat, the shelter worker said had been there for months. No one wanted him. It broke my heart and even though I was looking for a kitten I took him. I couldn't imagine life without him. He melts my heart every day sometimes I cry I'm so happy we found each other and people passed him up because he's blind. He is the most special boy in the world. He can't see but he knows his mom. As soon as I pick him up he collapses in my arms purring, and always finds his way to nestle in my arms at night.
I got Daisy when she was about 4. I was living in a farm community in Massachusetts and she was a friend’s mom’s cat. The mom just got a divorce and she couldn’t keep Daisy, or her companion Scuter, anymore. So, I took them both to avoid them going to a shelter. It was just a few months after my childhood cat Lou died at 16. Daisy had a great life living outside hunting squirrels and birds in Massachusetts. She would literally swallow them whole! (it was sad and impressive) Eventually, she went to the vet where they informed me she has FIV. I was devastated. I didn’t know what this meant. I met with experts at the vet and joined community boards and it turns out that Daisy will live a fairly normal life, but she has to be an inside cat to avoid injury and transmission. It was a long hard adjustment for us. Every day she would cry and scratch at the window screens and try to sneak out.
Eventually, after moving back to NYC she has gotten used to her simple life playing with fake mice and laser pointers. She has been living with FIV for 7 years now and all her tests come back great. She is the best cat and my best friend. She has been through everything with me. 10 moves, multiple partners, breakups, deaths. I couldn’t imagine life without her. Although I am starting to think more about it because she is about 11 and I know the time will come sooner than later.”
"Alexander the Great (Alex) is a funny one. He's usually a gorgeous long-haired, black, furry fluffball—but he's recently been groomed for the summer heat and looks alternatively like an alien or a lion. Surprisingly I found him on the streets of Red Hook over a year ago hanging with some feral cats at an abandoned car lot. I would pass him on my way home from work over a few weeks and he was always unusually friendly and eager for attention and way too beautiful to have been on the streets for long.
A local feeder of the cat colony eventually told me that she saw his previous owner abandon him and encouraged me to take him home, which I promptly did. Alex is constantly a source of laughter and confusion. He has a long deep meow and the funniest awkward stride, he lets me pick him up and carry him like a baby which brings me much joy and is the most active of the cats and continually demands to be played with and does impressive backflips to catch his toys.
One moment you look into his eyes and it doesn't seem like much is there but the next he's surprising you with genius methods of getting into cabinets and choosing the heaviest books to knock off of the shelf to wake me up for breakfast time. His cat "siblings" have a love-hate relationship with him and seem to still not completely have a grasp on him. Alex is not one to always seek affection but doesn't mind when you force it upon him and likes to sleep right on top of my feet at night. I like to think of him as a "dog cat". I love this unique little man so much and am so grateful he came into my life."
“We have a ritual that we like to do when I get home - I'll lay on the couch and he'll jump on me and snuggle into my chest for pets and purrs like a madman. We'll stay like that until he's had enough and then I can carry on with my day. It’s the best end of a workday therapy I can think of and if we don't do "the thing" he follows me around until I make time for it.
I'm sure everyone says this but he's honestly my best companion- when I've had a rough day or I'm not feeling well or I'm going to bed- all I can think about is getting into bed with him. He's really taught me so much about showing up and having a pet, even when it's inconvenient or annoying. It's a very grounding experience and I'm kind of obsessed with him.”
“We first welcomed Bubba, our 12-year old, flat-faced, grandpa of a cat, into our lives after his first human passed away and then was bullied by other cats at his second home. He was too big to fit into a cat carrier, so when his second human’s car arrived to drop him off, Bubba was just curled up on the floor of the front seat. We ended up smuggling him into our apartment via a pillowcase. He spent the first two weeks hiding in the depths of our closet. When Bubba would make a rare appearance, my boyfriend and I would automatically freeze up at the sound of his paws and just followed his every move with our eyes (and our phones), trying not to scare him away while soaking in his little face.
Now Bubba is the biggest sweetheart who follows MY every move (especially into the bathroom) and is the expert cuddler. Jeff Goldblum, on the other hand, is just over a year old and is the playful baby of the family. Jeff was an orphan found in East Harlem who landed himself into a vet’s office, up for adoption. After a few months, all of his fellow orphans found new homes while people kept passing on Jeff. Luckily for him, my boyfriend and I paid him a visit with a few drinks in our system. We made the tipsy decision to adopt the little guy after many rounds of “OMG HE’S SO CUTE HE’S THE BEST YAS”. Now I can’t fall asleep unless he’s curled up inconveniently on my face for the night. As a child growing up, I never had the responsibility or companionship of pets (aside from fish, who I had to learn not to get emotionally attached to, due to their short lifespan).
So, providing much-needed homes to these furry nuggets has been such a game-changer. Not only have I learned to love more unconditionally and work on my patience – seriously though, how many plants can one cat knockdown – but it’s also given me and my boyfriend a way to strengthen our relationship by caring for Bubba and Jeff Goldblum together.”
"Growing up in South Florida, we had hamsters, rabbits, and dogs. Calvin is my first owned cat. While I learned how to care for kittens through orientation classes, in all honesty, firsthand experience, and mentoring from my fellow rescuers has been the greatest teacher. I love fostering and helping cats find their forever homes through my role as an adoptions counselor. I am also TNR (trap/neuter/return) certified and passionate about spaying and neutering community cats. ⠀ ⠀
I am grateful for Calvin, the catalyst and inspiration for my advocacy work. I encourage people to support their local rescue groups by donating, fostering, adopting, or volunteering."
"My big 16-pound black kitty Walter found his way into my life when he was just 6 months old back in 2013. My bandmate Megan, who worked with rescue animals at the time, was on the subway and encountered a child with a cardboard box trying to get rid of a kitten. After she saw the tiny black ball of fur in the box she brought him back home with her until she could find him a forever home. He spent time there with her 3 other cats and a big lovely dog named Sarge. I stopped by to meet Walter and it was love at first sight! He was so small, but had such a mischievous personality and looked like a little vampire. He also did the strangest trick (which he still does now today): if you hold him on his back and rub his hips and his shoulders, he'll stretch out his legs all the way and let you rub his belly. ⠀ ⠀
Walter and I bonded very quickly. He was incredibly friendly and playful from the moment I brought him home. At the time, I was living with my girlfriend and she had another larger and older cat who wasn't thrilled about a new kitten in the house. Walter terrorized him (in a playful way!), but eventually they started to tolerate each other. After she and I broke up, she took the larger cat with her and Walter was able to spread out and enjoy the whole apartment. ⠀ ⠀
I never expected Walter to grow as large as he did, and honestly, I didn’t even realize how large he was until I’d go see other friends’ cats. As a very tall person I find his size to be just right—we’re both very big! He’s generally a very friendly, playful, and silly cat. He purrs extremely loudly and is very chatty, even when food isn’t involved! Throughout the years, he's proven to be a constant source of joy, love, and comfort. I think he loves to be the center of attention; he often meows just so I’ll pick him up or pet him or play with him. He also loves meeting new people. The minute a new person comes in, he immediately comes over and says hello and demands attention."
"Aside from his hilarious antics, this miniature version of the animatronic lion from Jumanji is a LOVER! He fills whatever negative space there is surrounding me, forehead to forehead, paws wrapped around my arms, snuggling as though he were being paid for it. Every night he’s under the covers, wedged in between us. He snores like a 62-year-old man and he’s constantly sneezing on me but I love him the same. He doesn’t have the attitude some cats possess; I can confidently rub my face into his belly and he adores it. I also find it endearing that in his old age, he still plays with his tail. Rasmus despises being alone and always craves the companionship of a human. He coexists with Munch but he doesn’t seek comfort from him. ⠀ ⠀
We recently moved from Dallas to Portland and as we were slowly packing up, Rasmus was losing his mind. I could read the expression on his face so clearly: “What! Is! Happening! Where is the order?!?” Also during that move, I could read Munch’s unamused expression of, “You mean to tell me this bozo is A) not a foster and B) coming with us?!” When I think of Rasmus and Munch as humans, I imagine Neil Simon’s Felix and Oscar, only these two are scrawny old men who have a set routine of reading the morning paper together, napping in the parlor together, and venturing out at night to a seedy jazz club together where one puffs his pipe and the other nurses a small glass of sherry, both too stubborn to engage in conversation with another, and yet an unspoken agreement exists between their bond. ⠀ ⠀
I love having senior cats and taking care of them in their golden years. Sure their individual dietary needs and supplement regimens have more steps than filing my taxes, but the companionship they have to offer is a feeling I can only describe as equivalent to seeing elderly folks interact with toddlers. They’re my babies and yet, they possess such wisdom to which I’m beholden. Together, my orange otter pup and my grey seal pup have brought so much joy to my life and I know my little baby Gidget is perpetually purring in all of our hearts."
"I adopted Olive as a therapy cat. My dad was sick, and I knew having a pet would bring a lot of love and comfort to that stressful time in my life. Olive was abused as a kitten and was scared of everyone (except me!). We were instantly good together.
I couldn't decide on a name for my then shy kitten, and I called up my dad who rattled off a bunch of creative ideas. When he suggested "Olive" I knew right away it totally fit her cute personality. Now, though still temperamental, she is a sweetheart and is always curious and loving. My dad passed away a year later, and it brings me such comfort to know she carries a little bit of his memory with her name."
"I have absolutely adored cats for as long as I can remember. I’m not sure where the infatuation started, but I definitely had an imaginary band when I was a kid called “The Egyptian Kitty Cat Sundaes.” My dream was to become a famous rock star and build a mansion filled with homeless cats. I’d welcome all my friends whose family wouldn’t allow cats to visit and pet them. This is still the dream though, but perhaps I missed the boat on becoming a famous rock star...⠀⠀ ⠀⠀
Years ago, I was battling terrible depression. PTSD from past trauma was taking a toll on me to a point where I lost all desire to live. In an effort to take back control of my life, I started fostering as therapy. I knew that when I was depressed, my cat Princess was the reason for living. She loved me and needed me. Fostering gave me a purpose I desperately needed, helping animals and my community. I knew that if I wasn’t there for them then no one would be there to feed them, give them their medicine, or take care of them, and I could never abandon a cat in need. After seeing how much rescuing animals helped me, I figured that for every cat I saved, another sad little girl like me would adopt one of my former fosters, who would give her a reason to live too. It sounds cheesy but I love the slogan “Who rescued who?” because I don’t believe I’ve rescued a single cat, they have all rescued me.⠀⠀ ⠀⠀
My absolute favorite part of fostering is getting to meet such a variety of personalities and watching the progress they make. I worked with a lot of young neonatal kittens that needed round-the-clock care, and feral kittens that required a lot of special one-on-one socializing. It’s incredibly exhausting work, repeatedly putting yourself out there to a scared cat who probably thinks you're trying to kill and eat them lashing back with a fury of howls and scratches. It takes a lot of persistence to keep working with them until they understand you're there to love and help them. I cannot think of a single thing more rewarding than cuddling with a happy, healthy cat who six weeks ago was on their death bed or in constant fear for their life."
“My role as a cat lady began when I was around 3 years old. My childhood was spent living in Ghana with my GrandMama. Mama, my first introduction to the power of women, had a cat named Josephine. Striped with orange, white and black, Josephine had three legs and bright green eyes. I loved Josephine! My earliest memories of her are of playing in Mama’s garden in Accra. I was always a small child, so Josephine and I were about the same size.
This was the first time I truly connected with feline energy. In 2014, my mother, Patience, passed away after a battle with Lupus. She was on the mend after undergoing surgery, so to lose her so suddenly was and still is very painful. Growing up, my mother wasn't too fond of cats because of a film she saw when she was younger. Although she grew up with them in Ghana, when she immigrated to the States at the age of 13 she watched a film about cats eating humans?! A year or so after my mother passed I began dreaming of her again. I dreamt I was in my childhood neighborhood, Cambria Heights, Queens, and was being followed by a black cat. When I finally turned around, I caught a glimpse of her features. Petite, big brown eyes — she reminded me of my mother. I turned to her and said "Mommy?" and she ran off, towards our house. It was then I decided, despite my mother's fear of them, I needed a cat companion.
The dream reassured me and offered a sign of my mother's approval. I adopted Figgaro in 2015, a few months after losing my mother. At the time, I had reached an artistic block and was finding difficulty getting back into my art practice. I had also recently moved to Flatbush and felt a sense of independence, curiosity, and anxiety. I needed a companion. Fortunately, one of my favorite jewelry boutiques @catbirdnyc held an adoption event with @aspca. I don’t consider myself to be a publically emotional person #thugtears, but when Figgaro and I locked eyes for the first time I lost it. He’s so handsome. Long whiskers, baby pink nose, thick white eyelashes, and bright green eyes. Such a pure connection. It was love at first sight.”
"I met Finn when she was 4 weeks old and still had bright blue kitten eyes. I was a senior in college and she was abandoned by her mother, living in a horse stall upstate in Aurora, NY. There were other kittens up for adoption, but we immediately fell for one another.⠀ ⠀
She was too young to be by herself, so she quickly developed a suckling problem.⠀ Whether my arm, my fingers or her favorite - my lips - it didn’t matter. Something about my skin must have felt like home.⠀ ⠀
Although she has grown out of most of this behavior, Finn has never stopped wanting to put her tongue in my mouth. I like to think it’s because she saw me kissing boys in college, and assumed that must be the way people show each other affection, but I don’t know. Maybe it’s just who she is.⠀ ⠀
Two years after we started living together, Finn developed a baseball-sized lump on her left leg. The vet diagnosed it as a fibrosarcoma, and because of the kind of cancer it was, the leg needed to be immediately removed. To help pay for her surgery, the team @PineBoxRockShop helped me run a BeneFINN where my friends played music and we raised over $1,200.⠀ ⠀
Unfortunately, the surgery ended up costing closer to $4k, which I’ve only recently paid off. Afterward, I had so many people asking me why I did it. “You’re such a good cat owner” they’d say. But there was never really a choice in my mind. When you live with someone you love and they need help, you help them. It always felt like a very simple decision to me."
“One evening about a year ago I was walking with some friends in Brooklyn heading to some get-together when this little peanut ran up to us out of nowhere meowing purrrfusly while staring into my soul. I was apparently born with the gift of an aura that attracts kitty cats where ever I go. This little guy seemed ravenous with hunger. (Which I know now is just his personality) with no nearby homes in site and doors to knock on to see if he belonged to anyone, I decided it was best to just care for him until we figured something out.
He was social and friendly but seemed to be on the streets for a while, as he was dirty and had a little ear wound. I asked the others if they would mind if he came along and they were more than happy to include him. We stopped at an open market on the way and fed him a couple of cans. We proceeded to head to our destination with a new guest in our arms as if he had been our friend all along. I had just taken in my little furball, Isabella. (Not pictured because she is afraid of anyone but me and missed her opportunity to have amazing photos in her new little hat that her mommy made her).
Also, I wasn't allowed to have any pets in this apartment and my roommate at the time wouldn't have been happy with another cat. So, my compassionate friend who bonded with him that very evening, took him in for about a week while we figured it out. My friend kept him until he had to leave for tour with his band the Mystery Lights, so his gf, took him in until she wasn't able to keep him anymore either, despite falling in love with him as everyone did along the way. So, I took him and the rest was history."
"I decided to adopt a cat soon after I moved to New York in 2013. I had always wanted a big, lazy cat to cuddle and watch movies with. I was in for a rude awakening when I brought Huxley home from @nycacc. At almost 19 pounds, he may be considered big but he’s definitely not lazy. He’s part Maine Coon which is why he’s on the larger side. Everyone’s surprised by his size when they see him. I never really thought that Hux was particularly large until the Optimum guy came over to install the internet, who was actually really big himself (at least 6'2"), which is why I laughed when he walked in and literally squealed and said "that's a big cat!" I felt bad and offered to keep Hux in my room while he worked because he was clearly nervous around him.⠀
When I went to adopt him, my friends had warned that he might be scared and hide under the bed for a while, but that couldn’t have been further from the truth. After opening his carrier, I turned around for a second and had already lost him. Within a minute of bringing him home, he was already exploring the top of the fridge. I think that the first encounter really set the stage for the rest of our relationship.⠀
He’s definitely more dog than a cat. I’ve caught him drinking out of the toilet many a time. And once came home to a trail of chips (I had left out) from the kitchen to his bed… with a container of hummus at the end. He also has a taste for paper, which I discovered the time he ate my illustration work up before I even had a chance to scan it."
"I had been wanting to adopt a cat for a long time, taking several trips to shelters. One night I was checking Craigslist to see if there were any adoption events in my area coming up. I saw a listing for a tiny, long-haired kitten who needed a new home because he didn’t get along with the owner’s other cat. I contacted the owner around 9 pm, thinking maybe I would go over the weekend to meet the kitten.
After learning both the cat and the kitten were incredibly distressed—they really didn’t get along—I ended up going to the woman’s home that same night. When I arrived, it was around 10 pm and the kitten was loudly crying and hiding under the bathroom sink. The owner scooped him up and placed him into my arms. I couldn’t believe it, but he immediately began purring. He was underweight but had the longest fur, it was like holding a little fluff ball. I knew immediately that he was the kitten I was looking for. I named him Claude because he was like a little fluffy cloud. I’m happy to say that these two cats that didn’t get along are now both living happily in their respective homes. Claude’s previous owner said it was meant to be.”
“Lola is a beautiful weirdo who is obsessed with water. She needs to be on you at all times with undivided attention, with her paws in your hand. Lola apparently has a great sense of humor too. I had a call with a cat psychic who told me Lola said 'I am very beautiful, so it is my job to keep things looking good around here.'
She also told the psychic she loves when I play happy music because it makes me happy, and she would like it if I took more pictures of her because she is very beautiful – and I truly believe she said that.”
"Mush came into my life when I met my partner. He had had the cat for about 6 months before I met him. They were living in their bachelor pad in Philly where mush had free reign of kitten terror. When we first met, I have to admit I didn't care for him and he felt the same way. He would fuck with me while I slept and refused to interact with me during the day. The love crept in slowly over time and eventually, he won me over, which was his plan from the jump, I’m sure.
The thing about Mush is he doesn't really care about us at all, we are just here to serve his demands. Food, pets, and A LOT of alone time. He is very lucky that he is as cute as shit. He's the only cat I know that hates toys and treats and he really isn't that curious. In fact, he's kind of dumb but in that really charming and cute way that has you saying "aw bless his heart" a lot. Eventually, after being in his life for about six months, he started waking me up in the morning by sitting next to my head, looking me dead ass in my eyes, and purring at his loudest volume. He has one of those machine guns purrs that is impossible to ignore or to fall asleep to.
He's also blind in one eye which makes his stare even more intense for some reason, so when he looks at you, you listen. Eventually, once I fed him every morning, he became OBSESSED with me. I realized cats were really badass at that point because any time I was sad he would sit next to me until I felt better. He is picky about when he shares his love, but he always knows when to do it at just the right time. I am blessed he's in my life and I secretly (not so secretly) think he's starting to love me more than his dad. whoops! I'm pretty sure you can tell where he gets the name by these photos. Like a little ball of mush.”
“I have three cats, which I realize is dangerously close to being an animal hoarder. Fluffy, my first cat, had been owned by a homeless man and the social worker who checked on him promised she would find Fluffy a home. Fluffy has a big personality. He’s bossy, always hungry, and very very social. He’s even been a movie star, featured in my husband Alex’s film Listen Up Philip. Two years ago Fluffy was diagnosed with cancer. We crowdfunded his treatment, and after many rounds of chemo, Fluffy rallied. He’s a true hero. Smokey, my second cat, was acquired at a street fair. I wasn’t in the market for another animal, but when I saw him in a wire cage that he couldn’t stand in very well, with his huge, sad eyes, I had to have him. Smokey is one of the most affectionate animals I’ve ever met.
We call him “the hugging cat” because when you pick him up, he immediately flings his paws around your neck, kind of like a koala. We’re also certain he comes from outer space. Smokey and Fluffy are a real dream team, they’re both giant lazy lumps who get along like true brothers. Last September I started looking at Petfinder, which only has one outcome, right? The listing for Raffles (originally named Papa Bear, which makes no sense because he’s quite small) had a single pathetic photo, in which he seemed bedraggled and stressed out. When I asked if I could see him, I was told he “didn’t show well” and that they would just drop him off at my apartment. This seemed ominous, but I said yes because I like to tempt fate. And he was a wreck, emaciated and dirty and averse to being touched.
After a bath, and two weeks of food, however, he transformed into a happy white cloud of a cat. Raffles has a hilarious personality, very alert and curious. He challenges Smokey and Fluffy to be less set in their ways. The baby of the household, we call him “little jumpy” because he has lightning-fast reflexes (when he’s not napping). Most recently we discovered he has a passion for nature documentaries and will sit for hours on high alert watching foxes, or penguins, or lions on TV.”
“I call Clementine a trash cat. She was rescued during an awful snowstorm that hit the East Coast five years ago. There were over three feet of snow on the ground and blistering winds. For a few days I watched neighbors feed a small cat hiding between garbage cans right outside of our apartment building, And I grew increasingly worried as the snow kept falling and temperatures dropped.
No one seemed to want to bring the cat inside. Brooklyn strays and I go way back. I grew up in south Brooklyn and a running theme of my childhood was stray cats. I'd bring home at least one kitten each spring, or at least tried to. I have a soft spot for cats, and in quintessential Sabina, behavior ran out to bring the trash cat inside to ardent protest from my then-boyfriend.”
“10 years ago I was helping a friend shop for a coat in my hometown mall. I've admittedly always been more of a dog person, but as we passed by the ASPCA storefront, something caught my eye. Sprawled out on a shelf in the window was a little fox-like, orange creature with bright green eyes.
He had super long whiskers that touched the floor as he slept, and tufted cheeks with red eyeliner markings. Was it a little fox? A fluffy alien? I had to find out. We made eye contact, and the next thing I knew, the staff were giving me the scoop about this new friend. "We call him Ogre because he's so mean..." "He just attacked a little boy who touched his tail..." "We've had a lot of issues with him, we just have to warn you..." "We think he's the runt of the litter because he's so tiny and scrawny..." "He's been a stray for a while so he has ear mites and is on medication..."
So, I signed the paperwork, named him Edgar after Edgar Degas (there was something quite French about his style), and took him home with me. Within a month or two, he grew to the size he is now to my utter surprise. He must be part Maine Coon because he weighs over 20lbs and is quite large.”
"We welcomed Janetta home when she was 8 years old. It was pretty scary the first few months because she was overdue for a tune-up at the vets. She needed a lot of dental work, and she was so scared that she initially stopped grooming her beautiful coat—she matted up badly. The vet recommended a lion cut to get back to basics. Of course, we couldn’t take her to a standard-issue groomer. Janetta was too fussy for that sort of thing, and instead, she required a couture styling service at the vet’s, complete with a soothing medicated bath.
Feeling refreshed, she became more comfortable with every step. Ever a little lady, Janetta was born in Moscow and carries herself like a proud and regal character, but at the same time, she lets these moments of silliness slip. One moment she’s perfectly poised—paws together, head upright, waiting for a handful of Friskies Wild West Party Mix—but other times she acts like a little kid in the way she paws for attention. I work from home, and she’s always padding around the desk, lounging across my keyboard, and nuzzling the monitor. Eventually, she settles in and enjoys the tap of the keys and the heat from the laptop.
We say Janetta is a cat of many looks. I say she’s like Madonna in that way. Sometimes she looks like a baby with huge eyes, chasing toys and enjoying a long paw massage, and then other times she is unknowable: She sits at the top of her cat tower with one leg outstretched, her fluffy tail swinging, and her eyes looking somewhere far away. I think she’s thinking about Russia. Janetta and I have our own secret language. When I sneeze, she does the strangest thing: She opens her mouth and lets out this odd staccato, crackling sound that lasts for a good five seconds. She only does it when I sneeze, not when anyone else does. I think she’s worried about me. I’ve Googled this countless times—using every combination of words—but I’ve never heard of this phenomenon. Guess it’s just our thing.”
"I first started fostering in June 2017. A friend who fosters dogs reached out to me because the rescue she was working with was going to be rescuing cats for the first time and they were in desperate need of fosters. I took two calico sisters and had them for a couple of weeks until I eventually found them homes with my co-workers. ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀
Not too long after that, my mother unexpectedly passed away. It was life-altering for me. I stopped eating, lost a lot of weight, stopped participating in things that I really enjoyed. I was a wreck, emotionally, and physically. My therapist and I began talking about ways to get my life back on track and make my life feel meaningful again, and one of the things she suggested was volunteering with animals again since she knew how much joy and comfort they brought me.⠀⠀ ⠀⠀
Five months after my first fostering experience, I decided to try again. Since I had met the @brooklynbridgeanimals foster parent who I adopted my cat Salsa from and had previously volunteered at @catcafebk while it was still a pop-up location, I felt good about fostering with them.⠀⠀ ⠀⠀
After filling out a foster application, a couple of weeks later someone came to perform a home visit to make sure my home was kitten-safe and to drop off a couple of six-week-old kittens for me to take care of for the next couple of weeks. Fostering helped pull me out of the deep, dark hole that I was in after my mother passed away, and gave me something to be responsible for. It gave me a sense of purpose. These little helpless balls of fluff were depending on me to keep them healthy, fed, and safe.⠀⠀ ⠀⠀
So far, I have been the foster mom of 14 beautiful kittens. My current fosters are three tabby siblings named Lather, Rinse, and Repeat. It’s so rewarding to see them grow up from little roly-poly balls covered in kitten food and dirt, into healthy, spunky young cats. And it’s even more amazing when you get to see them grow and thrive in their new permanent homes. In my life, there have been few experiences as rewarding as fostering."
"Loki is my little soft-hearted boy. If he was a high school student, he’d be the Goth poet who sits alone at lunch and writes sad songs with a quill pen while listening to Modest Mouse.
He just wants to be held against my chest all the time and is definitely the kitten who soothes my heart after a long day. I can’t imagine life without either one of them now, and I’m so grateful we all found each other."
"I’m allergic to cats but love how sassy and snuggly they are, kind of like me. Because of my allergies, I was woefully resigned to never having a kitten baby of my own, doomed to live the life of a cat auntie, and never a cat mom.⠀ ⠀
Then, a couple of years ago when I was living with my sister and another roommate in the same apartment I’m in now, we got rats. Not just casual rats in the walls—which the apartment still has today—but big ol’ subway-style rats that left droppings in the living room and chewed through oatmeal packets. Yeah, we called an exterminator, but the reality is the best way to scare rats away is to solicit the services of a guard-kitten. Within days of the rats’ appearance, my sister adopted two-spotted calico sisters named Oprah and Queen Latifah @queenandoprahthecats. They not only held down the fort, but also won our hearts with their relaxed but assertive demeanors, and sisterly bond.⠀ ⠀
My sister moved out about a year later and took Oprah and Queenie with her. (She didn’t move out because of any conflict between us. Actually, we wanted to try to have “boundaries,” which is pretty ironic considering how often she’s at my place.)⠀ ⠀
With the three sisters gone, I was faced with a pretty easy choice: Do I want uninvited pet rats, or do I want to add another cat to the family? A few days after Oprah and Queenie moved out, my new roommate and I were on the Brooklyn Animal Action site. We instantly fell in love with a tiny black cat with big eyes and a spunky personality who was found on her then foster family’s porch in a cardboard box. My roommate rushed to Brooklyn to adopt her. I wanted to name her Meowcus Garvey because she’s a feisty little black panther, but my roommate was justifiably opposed to naming black cats after Black people. (If you’re in the mood to feel unnerved, go on any cat adoption website and notice the number of black cats that white people name after Black people.) So, we agreed on Lumpy Space Princess after the Adventure Time character that has the same cute, cuddly, lumpy, powerful presence she does."
“When I first moved to New York my building did not allow pets and I was missing animal interaction, so I started volunteering with a cat rescue group once a week. A year later I moved into a new apartment and brought my 14-year-old cat from home up to live out her retirement in NYC. Sadly, one year later she passed away from heart failure and I was devastated. One evening about three months later I was volunteering and towards the end of my shift, I saw these yellow eyes peering out at me from a top cage. I have always been partial to black cats; to me, they are so special and often overlooked. Without even meeting her, I spoke to one of the adoption representatives and told them I was interested in adopting her. Something in her eyes told me we were just meant to be. I went home that night and discussed it with my roommates and the next day I went back to proceed with the adoption process.⠀ ⠀
A few days later I got the call that I had been approved. When I met Pinky’s rescuer she told me the little she knew about her past. She was estimated to be about a year and a half and had been left behind in the apartment when her former family moved out. The landlord found her two weeks later and she was taken to the city shelter where she eventually ended up on the euthanasia list. Pinky’s rescuer pulled her and fostered her until she was ready to move into the adoption center. It broke my heart when I heard what she had been through and promised to spoil her for the rest of her life."
“My partner Jeff and I had just moved in together and were fantasizing about adopting a cat, but we didn’t feel quite ready yet as we were still getting acquainted with our new space and living together. While browsing adoption sites and craigslist purely out of curiosity, we stumbled onto a post about Choi and just couldn’t resist wanting to meet him! Not only is he so handsome, but the description of his personality sounded incredibly lovely. He was about 3-4 years old and looking for a new permanent home. In a bizarre coincidence, the owners actually knew us through my work at @Refinery29 and Jeff’s work in film. They were happy to introduce us to Choi, and if we all clicked then we could adopt him. We set up a time to meet after we returned from visiting Jeff’s family (and their cats) over Thanksgiving.
However, things got stranger and more complicated from there. While visiting Jeff’s family I discovered—much to my chagrin—that I was actually allergic to cats. I had never spent that much time with them but had always loved them from afar. Looking back though, it all made sense: the irritated nose, the itchy eyes. But it was never consistent and it only happened with some cats. We told Choi’s owners about my recently discovered allergies, but they still wanted us to meet him since he is a Maine Coon and they typically produce less dander than other cats. So a few days later, we met Choi. He rolled over to expose his velveteen belly, and it was love at first sight—with very few sneezes. We’ve lived with Choi for almost two years and I feel incredibly lucky to have him in my life. He is a wonderful cat with a really sassy and sweet personality.
To my surprise, he acts more like a dog than a cat sometimes: playing fetch, wagging his tail, and breaking EVERYTHING. He comes when you call his name and he’s obsessed with chest rubs. When we get home, he literally rolls over and presents his belly and taunts you (with his eyes) to try and resist petting him. However, if you touch his ponch, he will be quick to let you know he’s not into that.”
“I was born in the Philippines, and in Tagalog, there’s a concept called “gigil” which is when someone is so cute that you’re overcome with the irresistible urge to squeeze or pinch or mush or devour them.
This rears its head whether she's melted into a little cuddle pile in my lap on the couch, or performing one of her adorable tricks (sit! up! spin! paw! pow!), or just, you know, sitting and staring and being CAT. With Audrey, I constantly have to be reminded to bite my cheeks and keep my gigil in line.”
"My partner, Jeremy, got Pogo for me as a surprise. We had just adopted our dog, Rocket, but Jeremy knew that I also wanted a cat. When some of his friends who live in Pittsburgh were passing through Philly, they secretly dropped off Pogo with him. I was working in my studio downstairs, where I do all my sewing, and Jeremy asked me to come upstairs. I saw a cat crate and some cat food but didn’t suspect anything—I was convinced that we were not going to get a cat since we already had Rocket. I didn’t even see the kitten inside the crate at first. Jeremy told me to look again, and I saw the cutest tiny kitten all the way in the back, looking a little scared. I couldn’t believe it. I was so happy I cried. ⠀ ⠀
My favorite thing about Pogo is his tail. It has a defect that makes it bend at a 90-degree angle. At first we thought it was broken and needed surgery, but we learned that he was born that way. His brother Foxbat, who still lives with his foster mom in Pittsburgh, has a zigzag tail too. My other two favorite things about Pogo: Even though his fur is mostly black, he has a little heart-shaped white spot on his belly, and he lets me teach him tricks. A friend of mine taught Pogo how to high five, and I was so stoked that I thought up more. Now he knows how to high five, sit, lie down, and roll over."
"I have the sweetest mini dachshund named Chakka who now lives with my mom in South Carolina. Since becoming a flight attendant 5 years ago, I couldn’t properly care for her with my hectic schedule and constant traveling. Although I visit Chakka and bring her to NY from time to time, I desperately missed having a furry friend to come home to.⠀ ⠀
I tried to fill that void by walking dogs at BARC shelter whenever I could. I follow BARC on Instagram, and this past summer they posted about the ACC being slammed with animals, urging people to help clear the shelters and consider adopting. Since cats are pretty low maintenance (compared to dogs), I had been toying around with the idea of adopting one for the past year or so, and I took the post as a sign. I mean, there was no harm in looking, right?⠀ ⠀
It started off as “just browsing”. But when I finally saw Chai, formerly known as Luna, on the ACC’s website, I fell hard. She was so pretty to me and very unique looking, and she stared curiously into the camera- almost as if she were posing. Under her pictures, a volunteer had written a blurb about how lovely and social she was, which was the icing on the cake. I took the bait and inquired.⠀ ⠀
She was found as a stray in some random building, super underweight and covered in fleas. They put Chai in their foster program until she was healthy enough for adoption. The foster let me visit and I was immediately smitten. She was so tiny and adorable, and very friendly! She even gave me a little smooch when I picked her up, which obviously sealed the deal for me."