In 2003, shortly after I moved from Germany to Oregon to go to college, my roommates and I decided to get a cat together. We looked in the classifieds and saw that a cat lady had to give all of her cats away because her family was moving her into assisted living. When we got there, the cat lady’s son told us that he was going to drown any cats that would not be picked up. My three roommates and I were beside ourselves and yelled at him that he better take them to a no-kill shelter. We even offered to take the cats there ourselves. He was pretty shaken up and mumbled something about us not being able to take a joke. Clearly he was a garbage person. But, the good thing that happened was as soon as I set foot in that house, a tiny orange tabby kitten walked right up to me, meowed, and wanted to be pet. He was a tiny, tiny, tiny baby cat — his tail was as big as my little finger. I fell in love with him at first sight and also knew that we had to name him Raymond. My roommates loved Ray but it quickly became obvious that Ray had picked me as his person.I’ve been told that orange tabby cats are the sweetest type of cat and Ray is living up to the myth. Raymond is the most people-loving and friendly cat I know—even dog-people love him, which I think says a lot. When new folks come into our house, he walks right up to them, says hi, gets some pets and then hangs out. He is a real friend and family member. We have gone through all of life’s ups and downs together and have moved more times than I can count, including cross-country from Oregon to New York. Ray has thyroid disease but he’s a trouper and thanks to good vets and meds we’ve been managing it for over 6 years.
Ray has a distinct personality and strong likes (Fancy Feast only, trust me I’ve tried other brands) and dislikes (do not lock him out of a room). We have our little rituals. In the morning, he gets his meds and I brush him with a soft brush, which he loves. I’ve planted kitty grass on our fire escape so he has access to greens and fresh air. I take my cat out to pasture to let him graze in the morning, that’s what my husband Alec calls it.
This cat is such a loving companion in my life that I don’t even think of him as an animal anymore. He’s a being that I have a great connection with. I’ve never experienced this kind of human-animal understanding before I met Ray. We talk to each other and know what the other one wants. He’ll ask me to help him get under a blanket, but has also mastered the art of tucking himself in.
His favorite place is his cat tent. At first he rejected it, then we moved it from the bedroom into the living room and now he loves it. I don’t know why, but my heart wants to explode with happiness when I see him in his cat tent. I think it’s the cutest.
Uli Beutter Cohen is the creator of Subway Book Review (@subwaybookreview on Instagram), a social media project that’s a new way to discover books, places, and people. When she’s not underground, Uli works freelance as an experiences and content creator for brands like Away, Adidas, and The Wing, among others. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and her cat. One of them is a comedy writer.
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