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I adopted Raleigh (the Empress) when she was 7 years old. She had been through some huge changes and was pretty skittish and insecure, but she still managed to mesmerize me into taking her home. Trust built slowly, but as she grew more comfortable she became very affectionate, and loved nothing better than to curl up in my lap. Eventually she became really bossy, and it was so fun to see this insecure girl become so determined to get what she wants.

She lets nothing stand in her way. If her sister Coco is in the way, she jumps over her. She goes to great extremes to get in my lap, no matter what obstacle she has to overcome. She used to be afraid of the vacuum cleaner – now she walks right up to it and yells at it. She's very vocal and yells for what she wants. When I sing to her, she sings along. She doesn't let the health problems that come with age defeat her. She’s my steel magnolia, with the heart of a lion inside a frail elderly body. I admire her so much!

She is now 18 years old, and rules our household with a velvet paw. Her beauty took my breath away that first night 11 years ago, and she still takes my breath away every day.
© Pat Wolesky

Raleigh's beauty, strength, and will to live have won the admiration of all the About.com Forum members over the years we've known her. When Pat entered this latest photo for the 2009 June Longhair Cats Gallery (yet to be unveiled), I knew that Raleigh deserved the honor of Cat of the Week.

You may submit cat photos for galleries on this site by following the Photo Submission Guidelines. Sorry, but I will be unable to publish your photos without all the requested information.

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