Sophie Grant, Simon & Oliver

XJ8A1314aLast week a friend from out of town stayed with me and I asked them to write a description of my cats:

“Brothers born in the back of a Brooklyn bodega between boxes of butter beans and brown bread, Simon and Oliver may be equally and infinitely handsome but their balance is defined more by their differences than familial similarities. Simon, the diva, is a dashing and adventurous troublemaker. He struts around in style and has no qualms about getting all up in your business. Oliver, on the other hand, is a natural diplomat. He plays the long game and waits patiently for the universe to unfold in front of him, presenting a warm and welcoming lap upon which he can curl up and snooze. When Mom gets home, both boys completely lose their cool, morphing from regal feline royalty into frenzied fanboy freaks: it’s feeding time! Simon smokes very expensive cigarettes. Oliver micro doses magic mushrooms.”XJ8A1168aSimon and Oliver are gorgeous tabby brothers. They were indeed born to a beloved bodega cat (her owner wanted to keep her but couldn’t commit to all the kittens) so a non-profit organization was able to foster the mama and five kittens until they were old enough to be adopted. Their origin story (or at least how they came into my life) begins in 2012 when I was biking back from my studio and decided to swing by PS9’s adoption event. One in particular stood out to me – a long legged tabby with mostly white fur, a bright pink nose and a fearless attitude on that noisy Brooklyn street. The woman running the adoption told my partner and I to take all five kittens home for the night and then bring back the ones we didn’t want the next morning to their adoption location. Over the course of that active night, Simon (the bold kitten with pink nose) and Oliver (a tender teddy-like tabby) were the two who kept tugging at our hearts. The next morning (through tears) I took the other kittens to the adoption event, but was happy to hear later they had all been adopted that same day!XJ8A1283a

There was never a time growing up in the mountains in Santa Cruz, California, when my family home didn’t include cats. All the women in my family worship cats. If a cat sits on your lap, it’s sacrilege to get up. My feelings about cats have only strengthened since living alongside S and O. I feel lucky to interact with another species on a daily basis.XJ8A1210aEvery morning when I’m making coffee, Simon gets up and stretches in a grand fashion on the kitchen floor and then gets within inches of my face waiting for me to scoop him and hold him like a baby. He begins to drool within seconds and this could go on and on until I have to dip him down to the floor, detaching him like a barnacle. Oliver’s time to shine is later in the evening when he likes to give endless head-butts or crawl into the neck of your shirt for cozy snuggle. Around new people, Oliver always wins hearts right away with his doe eyes and trusting demeanor. Simon and Oliver bring waves of joy to our life and they actually each sleep next to us in these funny little crib-like beds we have on either side of our bed. However, when friends spend the night and enjoy our air mattress accommodations, we call it “cat highway” because the boys get excited and our railroad apartment becomes a multi-lane speed zone where cats fly through the night! Sweet dreams.XJ8A1248a

Sophie Grant is a visual artist and full spectrum birth doula.

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Photographer based in Brooklyn, NY.

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