Silvia Orozco & Hayley

Hayley is tiny but mighty. She is a little orange lady (only 5.5lbs) with ears that tower above her little head and huge eyes that only add to her charm. Although she’s such a tiny cat, she is the boss. Every day, Hayley makes her rounds through the apartment as she constantly meows. Just like her mom, she loves to chat. Hayley has been with me for the past five years and she’s around six years old. Before moving to Brooklyn, both of us lived with my parents and our two other cats. Hayley—obviously the smallest— somehow still seemed to run the house. I often say, “its Hayley’s house, we’re just living in it.”

I saw Hayley at an adoption event in Union Square when I was just passing through, and something about her really caught my eye. She was very thin, quite scared of everything, and her paws were covered in litter. I knew then that she needed to be mine. Hayley was rescued from the ACC’s euthanasia list by Social Tees Animal Rescue. At that point, she was at the tail end of an upper respiratory infection and was just gaining back her strength. We don’t exactly know what her life was like before she was rescued, but since then, she has really blossomed from a timid, scared and shy cat to a very talkative and affectionate cat. She came into my life when she was battling a lot and in need of a very loving home.

I didn’t know it, but I needed her too. I have been battling Major Depressive Disorder for over a decade and was more recently diagnosed with PTSD. Having and caring for Hayley has been extremely instrumental in my recovery process. When I adopted her in 2014, I had just graduated from college and was struggling to find a permanent job. I was exhausted, broke and depressed, but I had Hayley. She has been a constant friend throughout my toughest years.

Caring for Haley and knowing she depends on me is a reason to keep going. I have to get out of bed in the morning because she needs her breakfast. Sometimes it’s very hard, but she’s my motivation. I’m responsible for her and she needs me to succeed. I need to be my best so I can be the best cat mom to her. She knows when I have hard days and when I need her to sit by my side and purr her loudest. She has been with me through years of doctors’ appointments, tests, jobs and moves. In 2016, I had to stop working and focus on my health full time for a few months. During this time I was always in and out of doctors’ offices, getting different tests done, and was trying out different treatments and therapies. This was a big trial and error process and it left me constantly drained. Coming home to a warm little cat that just wanted to cuddle and would squeak when she wanted my attention was so comforting. There were times when I wasn’t well enough to go out or see friends, so Hayley was my companion. Hayley has always been there for me. She has truly been a gift.

I had many cats growing up and loved them all, but Hayley is special. She is not your average cat. Her ears and eyes are definitely oversized. She keeps me on my toes for sure. She’s a little spicy and very sweet. She has been my shoulder to cry on, my companion, and my space heater of comfort. In 2016 I got a portrait of her tattooed on my leg so I can carry with me everywhere I go. She’s my angel.

Silvia Orozco is a born and bred New Yorker who works in Marketing Strategy at The Madison Square Garden Company. When she’s not hanging with her cat, she’s either at a concert or out for ice cream.


Photographer based in Brooklyn, NY.

2 thoughts on “Silvia Orozco & Hayley

  1. Hayley is beautiful. And of course having pets helps with depression because you get unconditional love, because holding them comforts you. You don’t know how comforting it is until you have them.

    So, Hayley makes her rounds, in her house? Maybe you should write ‘Hayley’s house’ on the doorbell. Nice of her to allow everyone else to live there.

    My cat Hazelnut was also a kitten sick with feline herpes and living on the streets when I got her. Had to put drops in her eyes and almost got killed by her sharp claws in the process. But now she’s a full grown, fat, and grumpy cat who loves to sleep on my bed all day.

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