"I scoured Petfinder like it was JDate. I wasn’t ready to move on from Smiley—I just knew I didn’t want to live a life without an animal in it."
Introducing Pet Diaries: Life lessons we learned from our pets. This five-part series explores the ways pets have a positive impact on our lives. It's brought to you in partnership with Purina ONE® beyOnd®. Check out more stories at GOOD Pets.
I met Smiley Muffin at the Petco in the Kips Bay neighborhood of Manhattan. They were doing cat adoptions as part of an event organized by the promoters of Dr. Doolittle 2. As soon as I saw a beautiful, voluptuous cat with the name Smiley Muffin outside her crate, I knew I had to go over and investigate. I put my hand on the bars and she rubbed against them. My heart swelled. I told the volunteer I would bring her home.
I never owned a cat before, but I grew up so obsessed with cats that I saved every page on my Cat-A-Day tear-away calendar and decorated my bedroom with 365 black and white feline faces next to calendar dates.
I arranged to foster Smiley Muffin before agreeing officially to adopt—the ol’ rent-to-own option for commitment phobes, I’m told, results in a 90% success rate for finding adoptive homes. You don’t save the receipt and the original packaging when it comes to this stuff—you fall in love and you do it fast.
Two days later, a volunteer dropped off Smiley, and instantly, I fell in love. I knew she wasn’t going anywhere: Smiley Muffin was my cat.
Soon came the infatuation stage and Smiley became my muse. I’d spend a whole afternoon just thinking about Smiley’s overbite and how funny her little teeth were to me. I’d draw her, over and over again. I’d think about what her voice would sound like if she could talk. I created a webseries called Cat News where she played the host of a news show by, for and about cats. Any one of those three episodes still makes Newsroom look like a pile of garbage.