After my beloved cat, Brazen, passed away last June, I made a portfolio in remembrance of him.

I printed almost every picture I had of him and spread them throughout. My plan was that each day I wanted to write to him to never forget him. However, with my recent move in August, financial troubles due to not being in school, and still being traumatized by his death, I haven't had a chance to actually write anything to him yet.

Now that I'm in a better place emotionally, I didn't want his birthday to go by without my acknowledging him.

Dear Brazen,

I remember when I first got you. The early days of your life were spent in a spare room of a large house on Geraldine Street.

You were born outside, to an outdoor cat that had litters of kittens every year. The two women who took you and your brothers in their house happened to be friends of mine. I met them through a monthly support group we attended. They contacted me to discuss adopting some of the kittens they rescued from living on their street.

I moved to the West Side of Cleveland six months prior, and my apartment felt cold and lonely without pets to miss me. I came every week to visit you and your brothers. I wanted to adopt cats who bonded with me naturally. Bringing home two cats was the goal, but your brothers didn't take to me like you did.

I remember the looks you gave me whenever I came to visit. How you always tried to impress me with your jumping and running and playing. Your brothers couldn't keep up with you. Your meows lingered throughout their house. It was your adventurous nature that earned you your name.

I thought the transfer to my apartment would be traumatic for you. However, you stuck to my side like glue.

The hardest part of our journey together was the first few months. I was very active in the community back then, and so I was always leaving the house. My neighbors complained of your crying for me throughout the day. None of your brothers would come to me the way you did. I didn't know anyone else who had cats to give me. Leaving you for work or meetings or out with friends was starting to really hurt me as well.

Then in August of that year, my friends came to my rescue once more. A friend of one of their parents was giving away a litter of newborn kittens after their mother was run over by a car. The kitten who came to me immediately was your new brother.

I underestimated how protective of me you were. I had to keep your brother in his cat cage until you were calm enough to stop going after him. How the three of us fell into harmony so quickly after that is still a mystery to me. But it was worth it whenever I came home to find the two of you laying together in harmony.

Not a day goes by that I don't think of you and the life we had together. Wherever you are right now, I hope you are at peace.

Happy Birthday, Brazen.