COLWOOD -- I assumed there was a person sitting on the passenger side of the car in front of me, until the shape moved. What seemed like the silhouette of a human head rising above the seat was actually a cat resting on top of it.

“I took the headrest off,” Sherri explains after I catch up with her. “[My cat] loves to sit up there and cruise around.”

Sherri says her feline friend —named Mystyos — wakes her up at 5 a.m. every morning, ready to hit the road.

“You better go in your carrier then,” Sherri says in a video of their pre-ride routine. Mystyos attempts to jump up into the fabric cat carrier, but it falls down on top of him.

“Did you take a tumble?” she says, attempting to comfort the cat who is more interested in trying to jump again. Mystyos gets in on his second try, before looking at Sherri and seemingly saying, “Let’s go!”

Although he sometimes misses the mark, Mystyos never quits.

When Mystyos is not sitting on top of the seat of the car, he leans out the open window like a dog. The cat’s front paws hang over the edge, while his ears and fur fly back in the wind.

Before she started cruising with her cat, Sherri’s life had taken a major turn for the worse.

“Got divorced, sold our house, moved into an apartment by myself,” she says, before adding that she lost her business because of the pandemic. “I lost a lot of confidence.”

She wondered if a cat might provide some comfort. After months of searching local rescue organizations, Sherri found a kitten that she felt compelled to bring home.

“It was love at first sight,” she says, recalling how she cried when she first held him. “My heart, it was broken, and he just filled it.”

When she put Mystyos in the car to drive him home, the kitten jumped up on the dashboard and started playing with something hanging from the mirror. Sherri shows me pictures from the moment. The cat seemed to be saying, “Let’s get things back on track for both of us.”

“It was meant to be,” she smiles. “He was meant to be my cat.”

After taking a pit stop at home so Sherri could help him overcome some serious health issues, Mystyos motivated her to start moving forward again.

When they arrive at their destination, Mystyos patiently waits for Sherri to put his harness and leash on, and they go for walks in the sun together.

“It gets me feeling strong and confident again,” she smiles at Mystyos. “He actually gives me confidence.”

The confidence to worry less about the reflections in the rearview mirror of life, and focus more on the possibilities right in front of them.