Two years ago, in November 2017, I walked into HSHV telling myself I was just looking. My boyfriend had recently moved across the country for law school, and I was having a hard time adjusting to living alone. As I walked around visiting the different cats, one senior black cat named “Newington” would not stop meowing and staring at me like he was trying to hypnotize me into letting him out. When a volunteer opened his cage for me, he climbed straight into my arms and began to nuzzle my face. He refused to be put down! That was the end of “just looking.” He went home with me that day and quickly settled in as the new lord of the apartment.

Newington received not one, but two new names. When I brought him home, I dubbed him Bray, after an ancestor who was involved in the Salem Witch Trials. My boyfriend, however, refuses to call him anything but Burr. His reasoning? Like Alexander Hamilton’s rival, Aaron Burr, this cat wants to be “in the room where it happens!” When he hasn’t slung himself over my shoulder like some kind of fashionable new accessory, he’s usually within arm’s length, just in case he decides it’s time for chin scratches or nuzzling.

He’s my first cat, and he’s changed my life in ways I never anticipated. I’ve always struggled with depression, and Bray has been a huge help in that regard. When I come home, he’s always there to greet me at the door — he meows his little head off until I pick him up, and won’t let me put him down until he’s had at least fifteen minutes worth of cuddles. Knowing that there’s always someone at home who is excited to see me has made a world of difference.

I knew when I adopted him that Bray had a moderate heart murmur. A few weeks after his adoption, he started having frequent wheezing fits, which were diagnosed as feline asthma. Unfortunately, treating a heart condition and asthma together is tricky, but he’s doing great on his current medication. At his most recent cardiologist appointment, we were told the murmur wasn’t even audible that day! We expect him to continue to be our favorite fuzzy cuddle monster for years to come.

This past summer, I had to relocate to Peru for my job as an archaeologist. Since I’m here for at least a year, and Bray is unusually good at adjusting to change, we got him vet clearance to come with me. Bray is now an international adventure cat! Our new house is also the lab/office where I do my research, and there’s always other researchers around to help “Braybae” fill his massive chin scratch quota. We’ve dubbed him our Lab Supervisor, a role which he has taken on with gusto. Everyone who meets him falls in love with him, and I hear frequently from people that they’ve never met such an outgoing, cuddly cat.

I will be forever grateful to HSHV for introducing me to this very special guy. I was looking for someone to keep me company in my lonely apartment, but what I found is a new best friend. Thank you for helping me find my Bray.


Newington now Bray