Tyisha Shaia, Ginger, Piper & Brooklyn


“I like to say I’m a cat person because I’m a Leo and so I’m naturally drawn to my feline friends. I love to lounge and be the center of attention (on my terms) so it makes sense that my animal companions are just like me. As a former zoology major, I find them intriguing from an evolutionary standpoint as well. We’ve taken these highly-evolved predators and bred them to be these tiny versions of themselves that we keep them in our homes.

Ginger has been with me the longest out of my current bunch. She was a little over two months old when I got her. A neighbor had taken in a stray cat and that stray had a litter of kittens shortly after. They didn’t realize the cat was pregnant so they needed to rehome the kittens and that’s how Ginger and I were united. As a kitten, I carried her everywhere with me. Even to the grocery store! Because of that, she’s very bonded with me and not a huge fan of anyone else. Every morning, the first thing I do is go to the bathroom and she follows me there. If I close the door on her, she repeatedly rams her body into the door until I open it. If she doesn’t get immediate attention from the moment I wake up, she is not a happy camper. She’s my bratty, spoiled baby girl who has been with me for 9 years now.

Then came Piper. I’d always thought calico cats were beautiful so I asked the shelter if they had any. There was only one and also two years old (same as Ginger). I went into the Kitten Room where she was kept because she was so loving and motherly to the kittens and it was pretty much love at first sight. She jumped onto a shelf next to me and put her paws on each of my shoulders and rubbed her face against mine. Immediately I asked, “Okay, so where do I sign?” Piper is the most loving cat in the entire world. Anytime I have people cat sit while I’m away, they end up favoring Piper because of how sweet and soft and adorable she is. I named her Piper because she’s sweet as pie.

Brooklyn is the most recent addition to the family at 4 years old. I found her as she was being kicked out of an apartment. Apparently, a young child brought her home and the parents said she couldn’t stay. I got there just as an adult was repeatedly shoving her away from the home as she cried and tried to get back inside. As a tiny, malnourished black kitten near Halloween time, I knew that she wasn’t going to be safe on her own so I took her in. I had the intention of adopting her out, but she was a “foster failure”. She’s a dog in a cat’s body. She comes running to the door when I get home, loves to play, and literally bounces off the walls. She’s everyone’s favorite at house parties.

Now I am at my max! No more kitties for me, but my girls are definitely the loves of my life and I wouldn’t trade them for the world.”

Tyisha Shaia is originally from Tampa, FL but has been in NYC for the past 5 years. She works at Square by day and volunteers at House of Yes occasionally while also doing nonprofit work for VOAA (where she is a board member).



Photographer based in Brooklyn, NY.

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