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Perspective: A Feline Nation in mourning

Q'Aila
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As a cat person, I often need a fix beyond that provided by my own enjoyably weird and unpredictable felines.

For the last few years, one of my fixes has come from a young woman in the Seattle area named Ashley Morrison -– the “Youngest Old Cat Lady,” as she is known. She rescues and fosters cats and kittens and places them for adoption. She has a massive following on social media and her content is both uplifting and honest.

When she places a cat or kitten with a forever home, you feel her joy. When she posts a video of kittens romping in her foster playroom, you laugh with her. When she loses one to illness or a stillbirth, you feel her pain. Like others do, I feel like I “know” Ashley without really knowing her.

Her father had died by suicide in 2015 when Ashley was just 23. She is unflinchingly honest about that and her own challenges with depression and anxiety.

So there I was 10 days ago on a quiet Sunday afternoon, feeling like I’d been punched in the gut. You see, Ashley’s mother had announced on Instagram that afternoon that she had taken her own life –- Ashley’s “brain chemistry was too fragile for this world,” her mother wrote.

I was in shock. Another young life lost to mental illness. Someone literally making the world a better place was gone. I sat crying as I watched over and over a 15-second video tribute to Ashley posted by the owners of “Gus,” her most famous adult foster cat with his own 40,000 strong following on Instagram.

Feline Nation is strong and tight knit, as we share the ongoing joys and peculiarities of living with and raising mini lions. Mourning the loss of Ashley Morrison, I feel just as one follower did posting on Instagram: “I’ve never been this sad to lose someone I didn’t even know.” Indeed.

I’m Wester Wuori. I am sad. And, that’s my Perspective.