My law school days had me yearning for a little creature to take care of and after being swayed out of taking on the responsibilities of a dog, I made my way to an adoption event in North Carolina, where I was living at the time. I started playing with an energetic, oversized kitten with a monopoly on the toys. After knocking a stuffed mouse under some metal crates, I saw a tiny striped body with bright green eyes crouched in the corner. I coaxed her out with some treats and learned that Tali (then named Vicky) was a year old with some respiratory issues and an ear infection. Knowing the younger ones would get adopted quickly, I was sold on the older cat that needed a little boost back to health. A ton of vet visits and a polyp-removing ear surgery later, my eight pound perma-kitten was healthy and not afraid to wake me up with up-close meows for food at ungodly hours.
Tali had both feline chlamydia (just a respiratory infection in cats!) and an ear infection when I first brought her home. Our first two weeks together were an endless cycle of coaxing her out from under my bed, giving her eye drops, ear drops, and pills, and then watching her run away in terror. A great start for sure. She wasn’t one to go without payback–two MacBook chargers and one iPhone charger were the chewed-through casualties of our first ten days together.
Once she started to feel better and realized I wasn’t out to torture her, she started to warm up and come around to hang out. She’s gotten more and more affectionate over the years, and even though she still doesn’t like to be held, she’s taken to resting her head on me whenever she can and demanding to be pet.
I flew up to New York with Tali the day after I graduated from law school. She was in her carrier (the girl does NOT do collars or leashes) when TSA asked me to take her out, walk through the metal detector with her, and then have her swabbed to test for chemicals, etc (people honestly do that to animals?!). Affectionate as she can be, she’s not one for being held or constrained. Short on time and worried about having a cat on the run, I clutched her as tightly as possible and began the security ordeal…when I started to feel a stinging on my chest. I looked down and saw three bright red marks, already dripping blood. The TSA agents were a little kinder and quicker after noticing too. Some kitty Xanax and short flight under the seat later (yes, I was that person), Tali made it to the city and adjusted well to pigeon watching within a few days.
After four years together, I might sometimes seem annoyed by the way she intertwines herself in my ankles when I try to walk after I get home or get up in the morning, but she’s become a pillar of comfort and reprieve in craziness of the day-to-day.
Cydney Russell is a litigation attorney living in Williamsburg, Brooklyn with a penchant for non-fiction, jalapeños, and live music.