A Tribute to Luigi

Jen Sullivan
6 min readOct 12, 2022

The cat who changed my life

My spoiled princess

Ever have someone ask, “what drives you?” Whether in a job interview, in some sort of mental health consultation, or anywhere else that question might be appropriate. I find that it often pops up in job interviews, and I wonder each time what exact answer they are seeking. Are they hoping you will say the desire to work for the company drives you? Or the desire to make money? There does not seem to be an appropriate answer to the question. Either you are driven by greed, the desire to please a corporate machine, or by a desire unrelated to the job in question. The likely answer for most individuals is family or love.

Throughout most of my life I have struggled with depression. In my teenage years, I considered suicide many times, wanting to get away from bullies and school subjects I had absolutely no interest in. I had been teased since childhood because I have extremely thick, curly hair that frizzes on humid days. In the state of Pennsylvania, that is most days, aside from the cold winter months.

We didn’t have a lot of money when I was a kid, my father wasting much of it on alcohol. My parents divorced just as I was entering my teen years. My mom worked two jobs just to pay the bills and supporting three kids did not help her financial situation. We were low-income, but not low enough to get help, aside from free school lunches.

Perhaps it sounds silly to those who do not understand the struggles of a brain suffering from depression, but I exist today because of a cat. My companion cat, Luigi. She — yes, she, for we were told she was a male when I named her — was a Christmas gift from my mom on December 1, 1993. I was living with my dad at the time and I wanted a kitten. My mom agreed to get me one, a sort of payback for my dad getting me a snake when I lived with my mom — she had said no, but dad did it anyway.

Photo taken by Jen Sullivan

The following spring, my father reconnected with an old girlfriend of his from before my parents had married. She loved cats, so I thought we would get along. I was wrong. She moved into our house, along with her six cats, her dog, and her adult daughter. It seemed fine at first, but…

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Jen Sullivan

I am a gamer, a geek, and a gardener, among many things. I enjoy writing as a way to share with others. You'll find no AI content here--I am a real writer.