Doo Doo and I met in the summer of 2013. I had just moved from Los Angeles to Philadelphia to be with my long-distance boyfriend. Aside from him, I did not know a soul on the East Coast. At my college transfer student orientation, I sat next to a girl who told me about two kittens she was fostering for the Animal Care & Control Team of Philadelphia (ACCT Philly) until they were old enough to be eligible for adoption. In California I fostered at least one kitten every summer, so I was used to being around them. The girl invited me to come to her apartment to see them, and I jumped at the chance to make a friend and see kittens. (Duh.)
When we got to her apartment, only one kitten was out and playing. The other was shy and hiding under the bed. My boyfriend came to pick me up, and I begged him to come up and see the cats. He is severely allergic, but he obliged. When he sat down, the shy one came out from under the bed and crawled into his lap. She purred and suckled on his finger because she had been weaned too soon. We left without talking about getting a cat because his allergies made it impossible. Two days later was our one-year anniversary and the adoption day for the kittens. I woke up and all I wanted was that cat. So he did what any amazing partner would do: He drove me to the animal shelter to pick her up.
Doo Doo is the first cat that has ever been mine, and I feel like a first-time mother. Doo Doo is short and stout, and kinda has a small head for her body (but I would never tell her that). She is extremely vocal, especially when it comes to birdwatching and whenever someone sneezes. Everything she does is the funniest and cutest and smartest. When she was tiny, she would get into the dirty clothes while I was gone and drag out my bras to sleep with. She loves bubbles and playing chase. I am sure the neighbors hate when we do that at 10 p.m. Doo Doo still kneads and suckles sometimes. She sleeps with a T-Rex Pillow Pet that my grandmother gave me in her bed—a giant Power Greens box from Costco—and licks his head often. Doodie is the perfect alarm clock. She wakes up at 5 a.m. for her meal and then waits until 7:30 to really start laying it on thick. She jumps on the bed and starts her motor to wake me up. We cuddle for about 20 minutes every morning.
Doo Doo has that keen emotional sensor most cats have. I don’t think I have ever had to be sick or sad by myself since we met. She always finds me and curls up on my lap or sits close to me, even if that means she comes into the bathroom. She helped me through finals, wedding planning, a job I hated, the decision to quit the job I hated, multiple bouts of the stomach flu, you name it. Lately, she has been having some skin issues. We took her to the vet, and they told us it is anxiety, which I can totally relate to. I have been ordering her toys and new things nonstop to try to help calm her down. It is funny that the thing that has helped me manage my anxiety and adjust to life on the other side of the country now has anxiety. I will do just about anything to make her feel safe and secure. She is my baby, my Doo Doo. She is my pride and joy.
Lauren Leavell is a motivational coach who is based in Philadelphia. She is a NASM Certified Personal Trainer, a personal finance geek, and a meditation leader. She works with clients in person and online to help them move their bodies, find their emotional zen, and tackle their personal finance.