All my life I have been a huge animal lover. I grew up riding horses, having bunnies hop around my bedroom, parakeets singing in my living room, and dogs running around in my backyard. However, the one thing my family never had was a cat since my brother was highly allergic. I was always really bummed that we couldn’t adopt one because I was super intrigued with pictures of artists with their cats like Georgia O’Keefe, Frida Khalo, and Patti Smith. Their cats seemed to be their muse, inspiration, and best friend, and I so badly wanted one as my own. When I moved out to NYC for college and to pursue my artistic endeavors, I met my boyfriend who is also a huge animal lover. However, he grew up with only cats, so he really pushed me to adopt one and helped me find Buster.
Buster was an abused street cat that was picked up by someone and taken to the ACC and it was thought he wouldn’t be adopted because he was “too shy and scared.” Anjellicle Cats organization rescued him from the ACC and that is where I was first introduced to Buster. When I went to the shelter to meet him, it really felt like everything was so meant to be. When we were petting him, he wouldn’t stop purring and rubbing his head on us. The minute I took my hand away, he actually reached his paw out and placed it on my arm. I always heard that cats chose their owners, but I didn’t believe it till I saw it. I knew that we were meant to be no matter what. When Buster got to my house, he was very nervous and extremely scared, and immediately ran under the bed. I knew that it was going to take a lot of patience and time for him to feel safe and to come out of his shell.
The following weeks were honestly so rewarding but also very challenging. Many hours I spent lying on my floor next to my bed so he could get used to my scent and energy. Whenever he made progress acclimating to his new environment, I was filled with so much joy. From watching him learn to eat his food while I was around, to lying on the couch with me, to then lying on my bed, I couldn’t believe that this little shy boy was gaining so much confidence. Before I knew it, Buster was following me everywhere I went, meowing at me, begging me to pick him up, hitting my legs to get my attention, and if that didn’t work, licking them!
We say he acts more like a little koala bear than a cat because he loves to hang onto me and wrap his arms and tail around me completely. Buster loves sitting on the ledge and looking out the window at the pigeons flying by, listening to me play guitar and sing, running around the house like a maniac for 10 minutes, and then tearing up a pot of cat grass from the Union Square farmer’s market. He also loves scratching my furniture or as we say “working on his sculptures,” and running down the hallway in my apartment building once I know all the neighbors are asleep.
Buster is still learning to trust new people who come into our home, but he has come such a long way since I first met him. He is truly the best thing to fall asleep to and wake up to each morning and night. My boyfriend and I actually don’t even remember what it was like without Buster being in the house and can’t imagine it any other way. We even talk about him when we are out on the town together wondering what he is doing at home and wishing we could call him up to see what’s going on. Living in the city can be very hard and lonely, but coming home to Buster always reminds me of what is important in life – simplicity and ease, being present, having moments of pure insanity to pure tranquility, and most importantly unconditional love for those around you.
Claudia is an actor, singer/songwriter, and artist. She loves listening and jamming to Fleetwood Mac, surfing at Rockaway Beach, and snuggling her silver tabby cat.