Working at an art gallery in the rapidly growing community of New Kensington, my life and schedule are all kinds of crazy. My cats PJ, Monkey, and Junebug have been my 12 legs of much needed serenity.
PJ came into my life as a wandering rescue. I was dealing with a long period of underemployment, and my friend Jeb happened to find her on his way home from a bar. They say black cats bring bad luck but I beg to differ. After adopting PJ, and because of her bitchy attitude, I’ve evolved into the working girl I am today. Her unabashed sassy-ness has taught me to be assertive and unapologetic for all that makes me neurotically me. She is named after one of my favorite musicians, PJ Harvey, as she is someone who feels things deeply and much so expresses it.
Four years after PJ–much to PJ’s chagrin– in came Monkey and Junebug (Bug for short). There isn’t a mean bone in Monkey. Her name comes from the Japanese snow monkeys who bathe in hot springs. She’s incredibly pensive with her long bouts of staring. She’s also a total ham to my boyfriend Steve and his friends. I adopted Monkey from my mom’s friend, who had specifically reached out to me because I’m pretty much the only cat person in our toy-dogs-only Filipino community.
Bug is the most affectionate and playful of the three. Her eyes are huge, much like a bug, hence her name. There’s nothing she wants more in life than to groom her sisters. Bug was found by Steve, under a pile of wood in front of the apartment when it was still a construction site, only weighing one pound and meowing so loudly!
At the time, we only intended to foster Monkey and Bug until we could find them a home but thousands of lint rollers and destroyed pieces of furniture later, it’s been a full yet loving house since.
Going from a one-cat household to a three-cat household in less than a year has made coming home so much to look forward to. One silly ritual we share is what we like to call “tummy time,” where after a long day’s work I would plop down on my bed and wait for each cat to jump and knead on my tummy. Many an embroidered top have been destroyed but it’s for the love, right? What I find most surprising about all 3 of my cats is how attentive they are to my emotions. I used to think they were just buttering me up for wet food, but their affection game comes in real strong after my most challenging days.
Liz Roan is an art gallery manager & writer.