New York photographer BriAnne Wills created a project to encourage the adoption of cats and to debunk the stereotype of “crazy cat ladies.” She captures women and their adorable feline companions in a photographic series. Not only does she portray their beautiful relationship, but the photographer also tells us the story of how they met and how their lives changed after that. Some women share that cats helped them become happier and more emotionally stable; some even say that their companions saved their lives.
The series is called “Girls and their Cats” and it has over 45k followers on Instagram. What do you think of this series? If you have an adopted cat, share your story in the comments below, and don’t forget to upvote your favorite photographs!
“I had a very serious fear of cats my entire life. Until one of my friend’s cats changed my mind, and I became a full-on cat lady. I made the decision to adopt one and spent countless hours trying to find my perfect kitten. I finally found “the one” and my sister, and I drove 2.5 hours to a small town in Pennsylvania to get him. We pulled up to a dilapidated trailer in the woods and were greeted by a toothless woman who had her power shut off for not paying her bill.
She was harboring sick animals that she said she “bred” herself. Against our better judgment, we took a look at the perfect little kitten from the website who, as it turned out, was not the cat we saw sick and hiding in a cardboard box on the kitchen floor. She claimed that she was a certified breeder and that the kitten was bred from two “award-winning show cats,” who were nowhere to be found. I wanted to get out of there, but I looked at this kitten and knew he would die if I left him.
After a few attempts and several scratches later, I picked up the feral kitten, and I gave the woman her money and left. I called animal control and informed them of the situation. We immediately bought and applied flea medication, and by the time we got home, there was a ring of dead fleas next to him. He was also treated for ringworm, tapeworms, and roundworms. He was extremely feral and wouldn’t let anyone touch him. I was so upset about the whole situation, but I knew I had to take care of him.
After a few weeks of treatment, he started to get stronger and he was eating, and slowly I could start to pet him. I realized that I was the only mom he ever had, and I think he did too. From then on we were completely inseparable. He makes everyone fall in love with him the second they see him and he has the most amazing personality. He will be 7 in May. He is the most perfect and precious thing in the world to me, and he has made me so happy over the years. Beetle will always be my one and only.”
“Gizmo is the more outgoing cat. He’s incredibly smart and food motivated. I have to hide their treats in the fridge because Gizmo will find a way to open the bag and eat them all. He is also a lap cat. Gizmo will spend almost all day on my lap if he can. He likes sitting on other people’s laps, but only if their lap has a pillow on it. Cosmo is much more easygoing and doesn’t like to sit on laps but will do anything for pets. He does a “dolphin dive” to reach your hand for pets if you put it above his head. He has the loudest purr and is always ready to be loved. He has had a few health scares including a urinary blockage, and once he accidentally ate ibuprofen (which is incredibly dangerous!) but was a giant sweetheart even during those stressful vet visits.
I work from home, so I very much appreciate having the boys with me as my cat coworkers. I imagine the work-from-home life would be very lonely without them. Even though that often involves having someone sleeping on my desk and trying to walk on my keyboard, I don’t know what I would do without my giant 12-year-old gingermuffins.”
“I met Sansa at an adoption event on the Upper West Side in July 2016. At the time, I was working with children with special needs and was hoping to adopt a cat with special needs, although I didn’t know that Sansa would fall into that category at that time. Of all the cats at the event, my eyes were drawn to a seemingly empty cage with a sign explaining that the cat inside suffered from anxiety and had been neglected and thrown out by her previous owners.
Turns out the cage was not empty—she was simply hiding under the cat bed! I immediately knew that I wanted her, before I even saw her. When I told the volunteer that I was interested in adopting Sansa, she removed the cat bed and to my surprise, I found out that she had different colored eyes and extra toes! She was severely malnourished (5 lbs at 1.5 years old).
My husband and I signed the adoption papers and took her home two days later. When she came home, we realized that she exhibited really strange behaviors in which her back would “roll” uncontrollably, followed by her attacking her tail. She was eventually diagnosed with feline hyperesthesia syndrome, a seizure-like disorder that can also be considered an anxiety disorder. It’s been a long, challenging journey trying to find treatments to help her symptoms, but we were willing to try anything and everything to help her. We even consulted with a holistic pet guru in the East Village! Years of medications and many tears later, I am happy to announce that her episodes are now under control with daily CBD oil and she has been weaned off all medications!
Even though she still has anxiety, she has learnt to trust and love again. I cried the first time she decided she’d become a lap cat, the first time she let us carry her, and the first time she snuggled in bed with us. Caring for a special needs cat may not be easy, but I want everyone to know that it has been the most rewarding journey of my life!”
“We first welcomed Bubba, our 12-year old, flat-faced, grandpa of a cat, into our lives after his first human passed away and then was bullied by other cats at his second home. He was too big to fit into a cat carrier, so when his second human’s car arrived to drop him off, Bubba was just curled up on the floor of the front seat. We ended up smuggling him into our apartment via a pillowcase. He spent the first two weeks hiding in the depths of our closet. When Bubba would make a rare appearance, my boyfriend and I would automatically freeze up at the sound of his paws and just followed his every move with our eyes (and our phones), trying not to scare him away while soaking in his little face.
Now Bubba is the biggest sweetheart who follows MY every move (especially into the bathroom) and is the expert cuddler. Jeff Goldblum, on the other hand, is just over a year old and is the playful baby of the family. Jeff was an orphan found in East Harlem who landed himself into a vet’s office, up for adoption. After a few months, all of his fellow orphans found new homes while people kept passing on Jeff. Luckily for him, my boyfriend and I paid him a visit with a few drinks in our system. We made the tipsy decision to adopt the little guy after many rounds of “OMG HE’S SO CUTE HE’S THE BEST YAS”. Now I can’t fall asleep unless he’s curled up inconveniently on my face for the night. As a child growing up, I never had the responsibility or companionship of pets (aside from fish, who I had to learn not to get emotionally attached to, due to their short lifespan).
So, providing much-needed homes to these furry nuggets has been such a game-changer. Not only have I learned to love more unconditionally and work on my patience – seriously though, how many plants can one cat knockdown – but it’s also given me and my boyfriend a way to strengthen our relationship by caring for Bubba and Jeff Goldblum together.”