You can read my Ode to the Bloodbank Cats, published in the Oxford American, below:
You live at the end of a winding cinderblock hall lit by fluorescent bulbs, in what feels like the catacombs of the veterinary school. Nearby, sick dogs cry out from kennels. Their anesthetized moans are drowned out by Gregorian Chant music on NPR, which blares from a small radio hanging from the doorknob of your room.
But this is a worthy soundtrack: You are whiskered angels, mewing cherubs, givers of platelets and life.
There are ten or more of you, plucked from the shelter's death row, or unwanted circumstances. Orange tabbies, Maine Coons, gray domestic shorthairs crammed into a glorified closet. Sublime orphans, street cats, discarded pets. You have been chosen for your generous size, your temperament, your ability to give large amounts of blood. Gentle giants all, you are the kind of cat that takes a needle in the jugular at moment's notice and resumes purring.
(Picture of Noir, our very charming clinic cat)