Story by Moe Turner
Six months ago, Cat Town completely changed two lives: mine, and my best friend Louie’s.
At the time, Louie was a charming little gray cat living — terrified and shy — at the Oakland shelter. I was a woman with autism living — lonely and disconnected — in a little apartment. Because he was too shy to be adopted, Cat Town placed little Lou in my home as a foster. I couldn’t resist adopting him.
I wake up each morning to his eyes peering, like little full moons, over the edge of the covers. He greets me with one raspy meow and climbs onto my belly. Encouraging me to rise and face the day, he sidles closer and closer to my face with a rattling purr. When I resist getting up, he tells me what he thinks in a symphony of alley cat meows. “Look Moe," Lou says, "the world is not so scary when you’re not alone."
“Whatever may happen to you out there today, I’ll be here when you get home. I’ll sit in your chair with you while you eat, and I’ll curl on your lap while you work. Even though other people may not understand you, you can count on this one little cat to be in your corner.” So I get up.
Lou may not look like much; he’s certainly no adorable celebrity internet cat. He can’t do tricks like a dog. He’s not a purebred or anything fancy at all, really.
But Lou has saved my life.
It’s not so easy being a person living with autism. Often it’s hard for me to understand what other people are thinking and why they do the things they do. It can be tough to know how to make human friends and navigate the complexities of relationships. That isolation leads to depression. But Louie doesn’t mind my faults. I love him and he loves me right back. We are each other’s family.
Knowing that I’m enough for Lou lets me be at ease. Whether he’s winding figure eights around my ankles or doing leaps and flips trying to catch a fly across the room, I know I’m not alone. He’s sitting by me now, watching the cursor blink. If I stand up and move, he’ll come right along. Whatever adventure I have, whatever ups and downs I experience, I know he’ll come right along.
And that makes me just a little bit braver each and every day.
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