Love at First Sneeze
Oct 5

Love at First Sneeze


This is Mandy H.'s love letter to her kitty, Ash.

We adopted our cat Ash from BARCS in September 2011 when he was six months old. His original name was Graylin and they thought he was a girl! My husband is a huge Pokémon fan, and the cat is gray, so we decided on the name Ash after the Pokémon trainer.

That day in September, we looked at all the cats at BARCS. I was waiting for the right cat to ‘pick me,’ but I didn’t get any gut feelings. I was about to leave disappointed when we got to the last cat. I picked him up, held him, and he nuzzled against my face and sneezed in it. 

It was love at first sneeze.

Ash is one of the biggest blessings in my life. I even got a tattoo of him on my left arm as my first tattoo ever. I cannot conceive children, so Ash was my very first child in every way. We spoil him--buy him the best food and the best litter box, and he has his own toy box, cat perches, blankets, and the best treats. He was–and is–very playful and has such a spunky personality.

Since 2011, he has been with us through our wedding, our first apartment, our first house, and our first puppy (they love to aggravate each other!). He’s been there through all of my firsts as an adult.

I have been diagnosed with depression and anxiety, and I’ve been in therapy several times and take medication. Ash will always be the one who ‘gets me’ even when I feel the world doesn’t. He gives ‘kisses’ with the top of his head. He loves laying on me. He feels my emotions when I’m sad. He just wants to be where I am. And on my darkest days, when I feel like I can’t go on–I imagine Ash wondering where his mom went. And it’s then that I realize, if only for him, I can’t leave.

Since the arrival of his pitbull/mastiff brother Brock, and Ash getting older, he’s taken more of a passive seat in the house. And it is something I still work on–greet Ash first, talk to him, pet him, and so on. I’ve sometimes taken for granted that he’s still with us. But Ash is my guardian angel, my spirit guide on Earth. This is my love letter to him.

Ash, thank you for loving me on my best days and my worst. Thank you for making us laugh. For all the scars on my arms from your teeth and claws. For the 2,000 pictures on my thumb drive. For the memories.  For choosing me to be your mom. For being perfect in every single way. I will love you until the day I die. And I will always be with you.