Finnegan is my cat. I adopted him when he was six, and now he’s around ten. I was looking to adopt an older cat, and I had met a few charming, talkative ones. Finnegan was hiding in one of the group areas at the Humane Society. I liked the name, so I wanted to see him. They brought him into one of the little introduction rooms, and when they put him down he laid down flat and purred desperately. They told me he was perfectly healthy, just scared. After a little while he crept over to me and draped himself over my leg and pressed his head against me and looked up at me with these enormous, wild eyes that asked me if he was going to be safe.

I couldn’t tell him no. Nobody could have ever convinced me to leave that building without that cat.

He’s terrified of other cats. He’s terrified of people. There’s three people in the world he’s truly comfortable with, and both of them have lived with me. There’s three more people he’s willing to come out and say hello to, and they are my close friends. Nobody else gets to see any more than a glimpse of him. He mostly manages to hide when people come to the house. If he gets confused and hides in the wrong place and comes face to face with a stranger, he’ll piss in fear and run away.

For years, he has had a safe, quiet life with me and he’s still afraid that someone’s going to hurt him. I can sympathize. I know where he’s coming from.

He’s kind of a shitty cat. He’s bony and lumpy, with scraggly fur and a saggy belly. When he feels like cleaning up he can look pretty good, and his great luminous moon eyes take everyone aback. Most of the time he doesn’t bother. He’s perfectly healthy, he can scamper and jump like any other cat, but given his druthers he lumbers and slumps and lazes around. Sometimes he pisses where he shouldn’t. He scratches the couch and coughs up hairballs. He sleeps by my feet and bites my toes when I accidentally kick him. I can sympathize. I know where he’s coming from.

Sometimes he comes up to me and looks at me through narrow eyes and rasps out an angry meow, and I call him a little shithead, and we understand each other, and he climbs up next to me and puts his head on my knee like he did that first day, and I remember I promised to keep him safe.

I love the little bastard. I don’t know what I’d do without him.