a chronology of cats, part 1: ashley.

I’m probably a perfect stereotype of the 21st century millennial cat lady: a single woman in her 20s, not interested in having kids or buying a house or getting a corporate job anytime soon, obsessed with her cat to the point of having a tattoo portrait, a lesbian, a self described weird girl, owner and wearer of multiple pieces of cat clothing. Until I purged my follow list last month, my Instagram feed was full of more cats than people. I have full on conversations with Ilse, my cat/needy roommate who poops in a box of sand. My first word as a baby was “kitty.”

Jokes aside, cats have been constant companions for me. I have never not had a cat, save for the year or so between when Ashley, my mom’s cat who pre-dated both my dad and I, died and when we got my first kitten, Rorey. It seems a small tribute to the cats of my present and past is in order.

This is the first in a series of eight posts for eight cats. Meet Ashley.

Ashley (pre-me – 1997)

Image description: a photo of a large, orange cat who is sitting with his body facing the left and his head turned toward the camera. He is sitting on beige carpet, and his shadow, a door, and a table are in the background of the photo.

My mom got Ashley from a friend whose backyard he appeared in. He was giant and friendly and had those amazing black nose freckles that orange cats get, and when I was a baby I would try to ride on his back. I’m sure my first word was in reference to him.

A framed portrait of him sits on a shelf right inside the door to my mom’s house, where I grew up. She has an incredible set of photos of Ashley reading (wearing her glasses and posed with a book) and Ashley drinking wine (next to a glass and bottle).

He was very old and diabetic by the time I was born, and had to be euthanized when I was still a toddler. I don’t know if I exactly remember him, but he certainly ignited my love for kitties.