A few years ago, I lucked into half of a cheap, barely-legal back house tucked away on a steep hill off Sunset in Echo Park. My packrat ways have left me bursting at the seams and spilling out onto my little patio much of the time, a lifestyle made possible by the Los Angeles climate fairies. When I’m not hanging out on my rickety, outdoor telephone chair, a scrawny, multi-colored neighborhood cat keeps the ripped-up seat warm. Allergies and a mild distaste for animal hair and smell in my house keep me at an observant distance from this calico feline who loves to roll in dirt and jump in the bed of anyone who leaves their door open.
There’s a certain sense of entitlement that emanates from this wayward cat who’s truthfully not so cuddly and not much to look at. She’s everywhere and nowhere at the same time. She creeps up and down Quintero Street, demanding attention yet turning away the minute you give it up. As I got to know my neighbors, I was struck by their peculiar fascination with and emotional attachment to this particular cat. Each of these humans has a different name and different story for the cat onto whom they project their own curious personalities. Whether you call her Princess, Janet, Monkey-time, S’mores, or some other name, the heart-felt stories reveal more about the humans on Quintero Street than they do about this wandering cat who defies ownership.
Audio and images by Allison Wolfe