Please meet our new cat, HLX-1

A small, fanged, black cat seated on the floor.

On Sunday, we went to pick out a new companion for Elsie. We’d attempted to introduce her to my parents’ cat, Chairman Miao, but he’s so conflicte adverse that the stress of our swatty little girl caused him to get sick. Since he’s an indoor/outdoor cat (not my choice), we were worried that he would decide that another house would be less stressful.

So, Elsie is an upstairs cat. Chairman is a downstairs cat. That’s all fine, but she still gets anxious and lonely when we’re gone. 

We talked to the good folks at the Pet Placement Center and they directed us to the Naughty Cat Cafe, where a number of their cats are in residence. Everyone involved in this is looooovely.  (Also, the Naughty Cat Cafe has a ton of comfie seating, jazz, good coffee, and 36 cats. It was pretty much heaven.)

When we explained Elsie’s personality, that she needs to be the dominate cat, but also really wants someone to play with and to give baths to, the folks at both places directed us to cats who were possibles. 

All told, we probably looked at a dozen cats, ending at PPC.

Kim, who helped us at PPC, brought out our guy after she’d shown us some of the others first. I’d seen him on the website under the shelter name Donnie Darko and had fallen in love with his fangs, but hadn’t asked to see him because I’d told the shelter was that I didn’t care about what they looked like, age, or gender. All I cared about was personality. So, bring out anybody who sounds like they’d be a good fit.

He’s five years old, missing two toes on his back left foot. And he’s a total lapcat love. 

Elsie and HLX-1 sleeping with their paws just touching.

He’s also so, so good at deescalating conflict with Elsie. This is the fastest cat integration I’ve ever experienced. We normally take weeks to introduce them, but on his first full day, we had him out and Elsie in the bathroom. The queen of the hurricanes made a break, and HLX-1 didn’t react. I mean, SHE was growly, but he just turned his head and settled down so he didn’t present a threat. Now they’re playing tag. 

Mm… You’re wondering about the name.

Look. Fangs. Black cat. Right before Halloween. A vampire themed name seemed necessary. We auditioned a lot of names. Catfuratu and Count von Count made us laugh but weren’t right. 

We ran through typewriter names. Our little void just hung out in a puddle of fangy darkness on the floor.

Rob suggested naming him after a black hole. Most of them are things like APM 08279+5255 which is a mouthful. Also, he’s not super-massive. (Side note: there are several with names like Mrk 421 ) Then this conversation happened.

Me: Cygnus 2?

Rob: Not really a Cygnus…

Me: HLX-1?

Rob: How would you call him? Aitch?

Me: I dunno. Helix?

Cat: (Lifts head, walks over and jumps in my lap.)

Rob: Really? Helix?

Cat: (Gets out of my lap and walks over to sit down in Rob’s.)

Me: Wow. I mean…his name might be HLX-1, pronounced Helix. 

Cat: (transfers laps again, settles down and purrs.)

So. Meet HLX-1. The tiniest, fangiest black hole.

If you want to celebrate HLX-1’s arrival, please consider donating to the Pet Placement Center and Naughty Cat Cafe.

Did you know you can support Mary Robinette on Patreon!

10 thoughts on “Please meet our new cat, HLX-1”

  1. Elizabeth Janes

    I love the tale of the lap transfers. Maybe at some point he was called Felix? He certainly sounds “wonderful wonderful.”

  2. This is the news story I didn’t know that I needed today. Thanks, and congratulations for getting such a lovely, perfect addition to your household!

  3. Colonel Snuggledorf

    Welcome, tiny fangy void! Little buddy, you may not realize it yet, but you have just landed in the best forever home you can imagine. You have a pair of doting human staff to feed you, wait on you, photograph you, video you and cuddle you, and you have a Queen to romp with in the sunshine (wait til she shows you how to do tricks!). You are one lucky little void!

    Dearest Mary Robinette and Rob, thank you for giving another shelter cat a loving home. I wish you many years of purring companionship and goofy antics together!

  4. Gabrielle Moticka

    For 16 years we had sibling tuxedo cats (Hermes and Sophie). A week after our youngest was born, Sophie got sick and we had to put her to sleep. A year later we rescued a friendly feral from a colony friends manage in WI. So we had Hermes, and fluffy multi-color Pipi Longwiskers. Then we moved to TX, and Hermes started having health problems, and went blind (he was nearly 19). Shortly after the pandemic started Pip started letting us know she was not happy being an only cat, so we got a new tuxedo cat (Pineapple) who bonded with Pip in no time. A month ago a very friendly feral showed up in our backyard, and has shown no desire to leave. Not Our Kitty (NOK) is currently in a bathroom waiting to be spayed and vaccinated tomorrow. Not sure if we’ll keep her, but at least we’ll keep the feral population down.

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