Charlie was my very first pet. I didn’t really have much of an opinion on cats at the time, besides knowing that my mom was terrified of them, but I had always found them to be interesting animals. I rescued Charlie from the Detroit Humane Society when she was six months old. I went in just to look, and I saw her and liked her but was unsure. When I turned around to leave, she stuck her paw out. I was a goner. She was named Precious, but it didn’t fit her. I renamed her Charlie, after Charlie Brown, because I am a big Peanuts fan.
Charlie, who’s now 13, has seen me through law school, a move to DC, different roommates, severe depressive episodes, and everything in between. She’s the companion I never knew I needed. When I didn’t want to get out of bed, knowing I needed to feed her would make me get up; when I returned, she would snuggle me until I felt better. Like most calicos, she’s a diva who wants her way and wants it immediately. Charlie is also very smart, and most of my friends think she’s more human than cat. Sometimes when she stares you down you can see the judgement in her eyes. She used to be the chattiest cat, but as she’s gotten older she’s really vocal only when she wants your attention—or treats. She loves everyone and immediately demands that you pet her the minute you walk in the door.
I never thought I would have more than one pet at a time, but I felt like Charlie was lonely while I was at work, so I started looking into getting another cat. That’s how Louis came into play. I adopted Louis from PetSmart, where he was up for adoption from Last Chance Animal Rescue. He didn’t have a name and was six months old, just like Charlie was when we met. I saw him kneading biscuits on his bed and fell in love. He was so sweet when I played with him at the store, and I thought he was unique with his all-white fur and blue eyes. I brought him home the next day, and once he warmed up to my apartment his personality really came out.
He was a little terror at first: He chewed through multiple headphone cords, ran laps around the place, and surprise-tackled Charlie, which she was not happy about. He’s five now, and has grown up to be very tall. He looks bigger than Charlie, but he’s all legs, with a lithe wildcat body. He and Charlie tolerate each other, but they are not the fast friends I hoped they would be, though sometimes I do catch them cuddling and die a little bit from the adorableness. Louis isn’t the smartest cat in the world. For instance, when you put food down for him, sometimes he stares at it from afar until you move him directly in front of it. He also doesn’t mind water. Well, not in that he wants a bath, but he likes to get in the sink and wait for me to turn on the faucet so he can splash in the water flowing down, and he will let it run on him so long as he can play.
My third cat, Pigeon (not pictured), was a surprise. I never thought I would have three cats, either, but here we are. I was volunteering with Hannah Shaw, who has a rescue project in DC called Kitten Lady. I had met quite a few of her rescues and loved each of them, but never felt the need to apply to adopt any; I was happy to see them go off to their new homes and follow them on Instagram. But then Hannah went to New York City and saw a girl trying to catch a kitten who had a damaged eye. Hannah, being the rock star she is, stepped in to help and eventually got Pigeon out by luring her with food. The kitten’s eye was indeed infected and hurt. Hannah named her Pigeon because she had a coolike meow and is a Brooklyn baby. Hannah brought Pigeon back to DC, and the minute I saw her I knew I wanted her to be mine. She was two months old and slightly feral, but warmed up to people immediately. Her mom and two siblings were still in Brooklyn, but her mom was too feral to be domesticated, and her siblings were adopted out to another woman in New York. Thanks to Instagram, I get to watch her siblings grow up. With her squirrel-like fur and yellow eyes, Pigeon is unique. Everyone says she looks like a mountain lion, and I agree, except she’s on the small side for a cat. Pigeon and Louis are best friends; they chase each other all day and love each other a lot. Louis was perfect for helping her run out all of her kitten energy, and Charlie even likes her—sometimes. Pigeon is very mischievous and loves stealing my water, as well as waking me up by licking my face in the morning. She really makes our house complete.
When I walk up to the door of my building after work, it’s like Louis hears me coming. I look up, and there he is in the window. After we make eye contact, he jumps down, and when I get to my apartment door, he and the other two are waiting there like my little welcome home committee. They all have their own way of getting my attention. Charlie meows loudly until I scratch her head. Louis rolls around the floor until I pet his side. And Pigeon is unimpressed by it all and leaves the door to go into the kitchen because she knows it’s treat time.
Brie Statham is a Detroit born, current DC area resident, attorney by license, but writer by job, with a love of all things pop culture, boy bands, desserts, and of course cats.