Yesterday, I had to lay my beautiful fur child, Stella, to rest. For the past 11 years, Stella has been my faithful companion. She’s a well-traveled kitty, having lived in more places than many people.

I adopted Stella in Salt Lake City in 2008 when she was about 4 months old. Fluffy and sassy, she growled, and purred, and hissed at me in the introduction room at the Humane Society of Utah, and I was hooked. There was no looking back. Fresh out of college with little to my name, she became my best girl, and together we embarked on an incredible journey together.

We moved to New Hampshire, then when Ryan and I got married, we moved to Arizona, then New York, and now Washington. If you’re counting, that’s five states for my Stella. With her silly little head boops, demanding cuddles under the covers, sitting in the shower with me to get a warm bum, tempting people to touch her belly, one black lip, and multicolored toe beans, she charmed every single person she met. Even Ryan – who’s not a cat lover.

She’s been with me through the introduction of all three of our children, and she’s loved them all, most of all Spencer. She taught him patience and how to be gentle with animals, and she taught me that cats can be best friends, too. We always joked that she was more dog than cat, as she’d be the one to greet us when we got home. She liked to steal bacon straight from the pan and has been known to run away like the dirty little thief she was. One thing’s for certain though; she was one of a kind, and home isn’t quite the same without her here.

After 11 years, I don’t know my world without you in it, Stella girl, and I miss you terribly. I can’t wait to snuggle you again someday. Keep the bed warm for me.