Pizza the Cat Delivers a Slice of Love

An outgoing, gregarious cat named Pizza helps pet mom Caryn reconnect with her true self and find a new career path.

Caryn + Pizza

When Caryn met a foster kitten named Pizza, she knew they were meant to be family members. Watching Pizza be her warm, gregarious self also helped Caryn reclaim her own friendly, outgoing nature—and a new career path in medicine.

"Seeing Pizza command the room with her genuine affection made me realize I missed my old self. I wanted to make others laugh and build relationships again."

If we plotted our lives on a graph, it’d be filled with upward curves and downward slopes with a single point between them. That single point is an inflection—a major event that alters your life course. 

My first inflection happened in the fourth grade. Growing up, I was the kid who always had a cheesy grin between my freckled cheeks and was surrounded by friends at the lunch table. Kids even fought to sit next to me on the bus because I loved doing skits and filling the air with laughter. When my family went to a new church, I was excited to make more friends. That didn’t happen. Instead, I was constantly tripped, had my hair pulled, and was chased around with a permanent marker to play connect-the-dots with the beauty marks on my face. I stopped smiling. I stopped trying to make others laugh. I hated my freckles. My lunch table became empty. 

I then grew into someone who kept to herself and went into a career of science, where others were more likely to bury themselves in lab notebooks than reach out. To me, this was protective.

My last inflection is not so universal, but one that I hope becomes more prevalent: adopting a cat. My roommate’s foster kitten, Pizza, showed up right before Christmas, chirping all night. I learned the only way to stop her shrills was to let her wedge herself in my arms and be held. When I realized she had become the brightest part of my day, I knew I had to adopt her. 

Pizza is a cat everyone falls in love with. She makes her rounds around the house, greeting and snuggling with everyone. She stares deeply into my eyes while rolling over, a guaranteed way to make me chuckle and give her a treat. Everyone vies for her attention, sometimes scooping her up when she’s next to me, hoping for a slice of Pizza’s time. She reminds me of who I used to be.

After I adopted Pizza, I began to reevaluate myself. Seeing Pizza command the room with her genuine affection made me realize I missed my old self. I wanted to make others laugh and build relationships again. I started with my lab mates, thinking of what Pizza would do, and began by saying good morning or asking to join them for events. On my last day at the lab, I received a gift with a card full of everyone’s kind words and I cried from feeling cherished by others for the first time in a while. 

Now, I’m pursuing a career in medicine—a field rooted in relationships and an intimate understanding of others. This all happened because of Pizza. Pizza reminded me what it means to love and to be loved. She evoked the part of me that was lonely but neglected. She is the biggest inflection point in my life. She is my Christmas miracle.

Each year, Petco Love Stories invites adopters to share how their pets have changed their lives to give the organizations that they’ve adopted from the chance to receive grant awards. This story by Caryn won Meow Parlour in New York, New York a 2021 Love Stories award.