“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 crowd funded 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 lighting 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.”
Anna Bak-Kvapil is an artist who lives in Park Slope with her husband and three cats