I had been desperate for a cat of my own since moving out of my parents' house, but my apartment was nominally pet-unfriendly. Others in the building had dogs, and the landlord didn't care, but the clause in my lease against pets meant most shelters were understandably leery.
Then I found a woman working with a city shelter who was willing to loophole me through and said she had a cat in mind. I met her at a Manhattan vet's office, where the cat in question was recuperating from a disastrous past: locked alone in an apartment for two weeks, drinking out of the toilet to survive, after her original owner went to jail.
The day I saw this cat ('Cims', for 'cat of incarcerated man'), she was sitting half in her water bowl, nose healing from being scraped against the cage bars in an attempt to escape. She was the saddest, fluffiest cat I've ever met, and when I picked her up she kneaded my arm so desperately she broke the skin. No surprise - I took her!
Now renamed Bubalah (Yiddish for grandma, because that face is a grandma face), Bubby is the best thing going. She licks me nonstop, especially when it's 7 in the morning and she's decided she's starving. She's a mini-Maine Coon(ish) who sheds EVERYWHERE. She's a bit too fat and incredibly dopey, she meets me at the door no matter how late, my friends like her better than they do me, and she sleeps on my feet every night. I've had her for almost two years - for her adoption anniversary we threw her a party, complete with her face on a cake! It's hard to imagine her wasting away in an abandoned apartment or a shelter...reason number one thousand why you should adopt, not shop!