I went to HSHV looking for a companion for my first cat. One of the communal rooms had a group who’d been seized from a hoarding situation, and a black kitten ran right up to me. I had come in with my mind set on a black cat, since they get overlooked so often, but I also wanted an adult—and it turned out that, although she was small and scrawny, she was in fact six years old. I took her home that day.

We gained and lost roommates, human and animal; we moved to Indiana, and then North Carolina, and now Virginia; she went through more nicknames than I can remember. So much has changed, but some things haven’t. She still greets me with a sound that is more chirp than meow and trots over, makes herself at home on any available lap, and covers her face while she naps. Now seventeen, she just got a clean bill of health at her annual exam, and she remains my one constant in this wild and crazy world.

Poughkeepsie now Luca/Mandu/Luna/Girl Cat/Sharp Bits