Well, apparently 9 months was long enough without a cat. About 2 weeks after I told a few people I was back in the market for a cat, I acquired one.

Tilly is 6 years old, a tiny kitty only 7 pounds. She's a Himalayan, with papers and everything.

She had been being terrorized by other cats in the household she lived in. Unfortunately she has some health issues -- allergies and thyroid stuff that require daily pills but she's good about it. When we got her she was shaved so she looked like a poodle, because the teenager who was supposed to be grooming her wasn't, and so she got horrible mats.

She spent the first 6 hours hiding under the bed, and is a little shyer than I'd like, especially with the kids. It'll be a while before she's really one of the family. But she sleeps with me, so it's pretty good, actually.

Update 3 months later:

Her hair grew out, and she looks quite nice (I hadn't wanted to post a picture of her shaved, she looked dopey). She does get mats that I have to groom but hasn't been yet a problem. She's still kind of shy, but does come downstairs after the kids have gone to sleep. She has caught one mouse! Hurray. I'm a little disappointed in the friendliness (well, lack thereof), but she's still a nice kitty.

Update after one year:

Wowie zowie! Shedding season is the first three weeks in March. I had to brush her two or three times a day and she still had mats everywhere. It was insane! But, as suddenly as it started, shedding season ended, and we're back to weekly brushing being enough.

She's still quite shy, and lives mostly on the 3rd floor, and doesn't much care for the kids, which is sad and annoying. But she's OK. Sometimes while I'm working she sits on my desk and I can reach up and pet her. Other times she sits five feet from my chair. But she purrs while doing this! So she must be happy.

Update after another 6 months:

Things are no longer going well. She now has feline sterile cystitis, which causes inappropriate elimination behavior. We are going to start various treatments, one of which may actually make her friendlier (drug called Buspar, which is a mood enhancer), but I am looking for another home for her. I contacted Himalayan Rescue.

Update: The drug isn't helping. She's locked in the bathroom again. Sigh. I really need to find her a new home.

Update: a home was found for Tilly! A few more animals than her ideal situation, but realistically, that ideal situation wasn't going to happen. So I am once again catless. But I'm not in the market, yet, unless the perfect (and this time I mean it) cat shows up.