*This post is from my campaign shoot for Smallsforsmalls.com*

“I’d never really been a ‘cat-person’. I’d been quite obsessed with dogs since we got my puppy Mia when I lived in Australia. I even had a gorgeous little blonde mouse called Bowie. But I had never owned a cat. However, moving to New York and not having a pet felt like the weirdest, maybe the loneliest thing I could ever think of.

I knew getting a dog would be just a little too hard in my shared apt in South Williamsburg. And after the unfortunate deaths of my two pet frogs, I became fixated on the idea of getting a kitten. After scrolling through a cat adoption website late one night at a bar with my friend Evan, I decided to make it happen. I reached out to a Brooklyn rescue center, Empty Cages, and the next day and they sent me to a pet store in Bushwick to meet some potential candidates.

There were maybe 6 or so adorable kittens in a playpen in this cute little pet store. I must admit, when we first walked in I was fixated on a pair of white little fluff balls that were cowering at the back. But their shyness was outshone by a wiry little white, black & beige bundle of energy that was dying for my attention. I picked her up and immediately she began burrowing under my chin and from that moment I realized we were soulmates.

Her skinny little kitten figure was spotted with perfect black and beige spots that resembled a tiny cow. So I called her Benni, after Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. I am forever correcting people that call her a ‘he’. It’s quite obvious, not just from her looks, but also her mannerisms that Benni is not just a girl, she is a lady.

As a true lady of leisure, she begins each day demanding scratches as early as 7 am, after which she retires to a day of sleep — all day, non-stop sleeping. In our last four years together, we have formed an inseparable bond. So strong that she even gets jealous when I spent too much time on my laptop and I bear the brunt of some fierce swipes of the claw.

Still, she has not only won me over but has also used her seductive ways (and the fact she smells like cookies) to lure my boyfriend Calvin, also not originally a ‘cat-person’. I’ve heard stories about these viruses that cats have that make humans unwittingly fall in love with them and make you a crazy cat person, and I totally believe that’s exactly what Benni has done to us.”

Jessica McGowan is a freelance Graphic Designer and Art Director, based in Greenpoint.

She is also the designer of Billy Magazine.


Photographer based in Brooklyn, NY.

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