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.