These two were made for each other.
Six years ago, Kristen Kalinowski visited a Minnesota PetSmart that housed cats from a no-kill shelter. Audrey the cat had never fully warmed up to anyone until Kristen came along.
Kristen was still mourning the loss of her childhood cat when she met Audrey. Not yet ready to bring home another feline, Kristen was surprised to be so taken by the black cat. And the animal staff was just as surprised to see Audrey so taken with Kristen.
Reflecting on their first interaction together, Kristen told Wide Open Pets:
"When Audrey saw me, she did back flips, literally."
Kristen went home alone that day after seeing Audrey for the first time, but she spent the entire week thinking about the ebony kitty. Finally, Kristen decided she would take home Audrey if the cat was still at PetSmart.
It turns out Kristen showed up just in time. Because no one seemed to want Audrey--and Audrey didn't seem to want anyone either--the cat was about to be transferred to a kill shelter.
Audrey is a high anxiety animal who meows repeatedly whenever Kristen is out of sight. But with her human around, Audrey's anxiety is at ease. For Kristen, the story is very similar.
Kristen, an "open book" about her mental health journey, was diagnosed last year with bipolar II disorder. She told Wide Open Pets:
"I have had trouble leaning on others to get me through. But my Audrey, she senses when I'm having a higher anxiety day. She cuddles with me even more when I'm struggling."
There are already a lot of cuddle sessions in the house as Audrey makes sure to run to the bed and sleep with her owner every night. This lovable feline even licks her owner's tears when Kristen cries.
Kristen went on to tell us:
"She has given me reason to keep going because she needs me to take care of her. She helped me get healthy without judgment. She saved me just as much as I saved her."
Since Kristen's diagnosis, she has started a life coach business to help people manage their mental health, including teaching yoga. Together with Audrey, the pair is combatting society's stigma on mental health.
Kristen and Audrey now live in New York City with Kristen's boyfriend... whom Audrey took three years to accept into the family.
What do you think of this touching story? Let us know in the comments below!
All photos via Kristen Kalinowski.
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