Guest post by Will Hodges

After reading Buckley’s Story and having a chance to visit The Conscious Cat website, I wrote Ingrid to thank her for her wonderful ability to put into words the love she has shared with the cats in her life. I also wanted to share my story with her. I am honored that Ingrid decided to share my story with all of you.

I’m new to the world of cats. I was a dog person, having received my first dachshund when I was five. When I was young, none of my close friends owned a cat, and my first experience with one was when I was 20 years old and visiting a friend in Los Angeles. Their young kitty thought my suitcase was the litter box. That didn’t get me off to a good start when it came to having feline friends.

A few years ago, one of my best friends lost his kitty, Mr. Stickers, after having him for 12 years. He was devastated. And I couldn’t relate to his loss in the least. I had lost my parents, other relatives and friends, and gone through a divorce. But I couldn’t understand why losing a “silly cat” would cause him such deep, painful grief.

That was before Anya walked into our backyard.

On May 4th of last year, my wife went out to start getting the yard in shape for spring. By the time I went out to help, there was a cat sitting with my wife. She had actually come up and sat in her lap while she was weeding. The little thing was quite dirty and had some kind of fecal material stuck on one of her paws. I borrowed a can of cat food from our neighbor, and the kitty spent the morning with us as we worked in the yard.

When early afternoon came, we were in the process of going inside. The little cat sat under a tree in our yard, patiently watching us go up on the porch. She was still under the tree later in the day. After “meowing” to her to invite her onto the porch, she eventually came up and sunned herself in the warm spring afternoon while I went around the neighborhood to ask if she belonged to anyone.

I had no luck finding an owner, so I borrowed a cat carrier from a neighbor and took the little girl to the county animal shelter to see if she was microchipped, and to have them hold her for a possible owner. She was not chipped or licensed, and spent ten days in the shelter without being claimed. Each day she was there, my desire to adopt her got stronger. However, my wife and I had discussed many times that we did NOT want any pets. I planned on deferring to my wife’s inclinations.

On the other hand, during the week, my wife also seemed to be getting the feeling that we should adopt this little girl. She told me that she had even picked a name for our little visitor. Immediately, and totally out of thin air, I said the name that she had chosen . . .  a name we had never mentioned to each other in our 21 years of marriage: Anastasia.

A few days later, I was out the door early to make sure I was the first person in line at the county shelter so that we could adopt this beautiful little girl. We brought her home, and from the first day, she has been the perfect companion, in every way. We call her Anya, a shortened version of Anastasia.


After living with Anya for a few weeks, I could finally understand the kind of affection and love that my friend had for his departed cat. I could finally understand his complete and total grief when he lost his friend. And now, I can finally comprehend the kind of love and connections that Ingrid describes in her books. I have been touched by a totally unexpected change of heart. A real revelation. I never expected that I would find myself speechless about the connection I feel to this sweet little 10 pound ball of fur. Is it possible that a small, stray kitty could teach me more about love than I have learned previously from 60 years of life?

Anya has humbled me. And I owe her so much for the lessons I’m learning from her.

For more about Anya, please visit her Facebook page.

18 Comments on Anya the Snowshoe Cat Teaches Lessons in Love

  1. Beautiful story and beautiful cat! I am owned by two Snowshoe cats as well!
    May Anya bring your family many years of love and happiness!

    • Snowshoes are the best. Thank you so much, Janet, for your comments. Anya has us wrapped around her little paws!

  2. Golly, Will…it sure seems like Anya was sent to you by powers beyond our understanding! Good for you that you and your wife saw the gift for what it was, and so glad that you brought her into your home. Great story!

    • Thanks Vickster! We believe you’re absolutely right about those “powers beyond our understanding.” Her coming to us was no accident. It’s changed our lives. Glad you enjoyed her story!

  3. That was a beautiful story! I’m glad you chose to adopt Anya. I believe that it was fate and that she chose you. It was meant to be. Animals come into our lives for a reason, just like people do. They help us get through things that we are dealing with and they become a special part of our lives. This story really made me happy! Anya is a beautiful girl!!!! Enjoy your time with her!

    • Thank you so much, Viki! We have learned that everything you said above is true! We are enjoying every day with her! I’m so glad the story made you happy.

    • Thanks Debi. I was a new and very surprising experience for me. Each day, Anya seems to continue to bring something new and amazingly rewarding into our lives. I’m glad you liked her story.

  4. Anya proves once again that we can never predict the size or shape of our teachers. I look forward to following Anya’s Facebook page and this continuing story.

  5. I was a “DOG MAN” till 1995 when the last dog i owned, a prize winning dachshund named “Lucky” died. The i accidentally adopted a mix Albino/ Siamese kitten that was dying in a pet shop in Mumbai.The rest is “Cat history” and that dying kitten “Trixie” lived in my household upto 12 years , succumbing to cancer in 2007. I now have 2 traditional Persian cats”, tomcat “Matata” and his dam”Matahari”. I am a bachelor living with my house-keeper, mu only human companion at home.These 2 cats and my pet Alexandrine parakeet of 22 years keep me alive and active emotionally.Today i am very much a “CAT MAN” and just admire the Independence and wildness of the average cat.

    • Thank you for your comments, Rudolph. As mentioned in the story, I was a dog person, too. In fact, the only pets I had all of my life were dachshunds and parakeets. So we have something in common. My father bought me my first dachshund when I was five. He lived 11 years, and became my father’s best friend.

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