Rescued feline goes viral for “deep thoughts”
Colorado native Hayley Cassatt had a beloved childhood cat, names Six ,an orange Tabby. “He was just the best cat in the whole world,” she remembers .
After moving to Portland as an adult, Cassatt was ready to adopt a pet. She went to Cat Adoption Team in Sherwood with a specific wish: a male orange Tabby with a mellow, affectionate, charm-your-whiskers-off personality.
Instead, she met a young orange female Tabby who had been rescued from the streets with her litter of kittens. While of similar coloring, this cat didn’t have the plucky personality of her predecessor, Six. “She was a little weird,” Hayley remembers. “She’s just very shy and timid. Her kittens had all been adopted. I think she was at CAT for a while. I fell for her as somewhat of an underdog.”
Cassatt called her dad, a professional cartoonist who called himself the family’s Cat Butler. The pair shared a love of art and cats. She told her dad the cat wasn’t anything like their beloved Six, but that her heart was hooked anyway. His fatherly advice: adopt the weird cat and bring her home.
Unlike her predecessor, this cat isn’t much of a lap-warmer. She is affectionate with Cassatt, but no one else. “My best friends who live above me have a wiener dog. We’re convinced the dog is in love with her, but she’s stand-offish,” Cassatt laughs.
Still, the timid, stand-offish feline worked her way indelibly into Cassatt’s heart and home. “It’s not my home anymore,” she laughs, “it’s hers.”
Pondering names, Cassatt thought of the Spielberg movie The Goonies, filmed in Oregon. One lead character is a redhead named Andy. “It’s a favorite movie and one of the reasons I moved to the Pacific Northwest,” Cassatt explains. “And my grandma’s nickname growing up was Andy.”
She can’t remember now whether her dad met Andy, “but I sent lots of pictures and he loved her,” she recalls. Cancer claimed him, the person who had inspired her career and love of cats.
Shortly after the painful loss of her father, Cassatt and Andy moved to a new home in SE Portland. Andy found a sunny window overlooking the street to be a perfect perch. “There’s a lot of foot traffic outside my house,” Cassatt says. Passersby would notice the fat, happy orange cat in the window, and the often-aloof Andy seemed to bask in the attention. Cassatt was inspired. “I thought I’d put up thought bubbles, sort of as an homage to my father.”
A Different Kind of Affection
“I started with some Garfield quotes. I think the first one I ever did was ‘I Hate Mondays.’ And I did silly things like ‘Lasagna.’”
Drawing on large sheets, Cassatt cuts and tapes the images in Andy’s window, then photographs and posts them on Instagram.
“Travel Oregon saw her there and reposted it and it went a little viral,” Cassatt recalls. “It’s kind of funny because she has more followers than I do. I think the fame has sort of gone to her head a little. She’s a diva. She does glamour shots with her legs to the side. It’s cute.”
Cassatt doesn’t publicize her address, but there’s heavy foot traffic outside Andy’s window, and fans are delighted when they spot the famous Instagram cat, sharing her deep thoughts, and basking in the glow of her fame.
The Glamorous Life
Now eight years old, Andy is a social media sensation and a beloved neighborhood fixture. People passing by light up when they spot the famous orange cat and her thought bubbles. “People will tell me, ‘Oh! That’s Deep Thoughts by Andy! I follow her on Instagram.”
“I really love that it makes people happy. That’s kind of the best thing about it,” says Cassatt. “She’s sort of up on a throne and she works it. I think she likes the sun, so when it’s warm she’s always there. Otherwise she’s on the floor in weird poses. She likes to sleep on her back. She’s just a weirdo.”
Follow Andy on Instagram @DeepThoughtsByAndy
Michelle Blake is a Salem, OR-based freelance writer whose work has appeared in national publications. Her husband wants you to know she's a REALLY crazy dog lady too.