I’ve been in college for six semesters. I’ve spent four of them by myself, and two with a couple of cats. If I could do it all over again, I’d get the cats as soon as I could live somewhere that would allow them. My cats, Aleister and Gucci, are both rescues from Circle of Friends Humane Society. Aleister is a big white cat with blue eyes and Gucci is small, white and gray and has thirty toes. I adopted them both as older adults, since I prefer calm cats and older cats have a harder time getting adopted. Both of them light up my life with their crazy cat personalities and at this point, I can’t imagine my apartment without them. There’s something about being greeted at the door by a couple of happy cats that makes hard days at school a little better.
Cats are the ideal college student pet too. They’re low maintenance; I put food and water out in the morning and whenever I come home, and they’re obedient; as long as I make sure to leave the bedroom door open so they can get in and sleep on all my blankets. They’re inexpensive and they don’t need much, just a few blankets and toys. They don’t need to be brushed or bathed. All they want is a few minutes of playtime and some cardboard boxes to sit in. I can leave them alone for a weekend, and they don’t mind. They’re quiet and quintessentially chill. They sit with me, and occasionally sit on my laptop while I do my homework. They don’t mind that I’m busy. They’re just happy to be here with me.
The cats also offer a mental health boost to me. There’s something so relaxing about having a cat next to you, purring while you pet them. I ‘talk’ back and forth with my cats, imitating the meows and chirps they give me. I love watching them wander the apartment. For some reason, it’s so relaxing to watch how they move. Living with cats means I’m never lonely. One of them is always snuggled up by my feet. Or, both of them are sitting on me and I can’t move. Either way, they’re always calm, happy and relaxing. They also love to sit and watch me work. I learned that cats don’t do that to be creepy, they do it because they think humans are interesting and like to see what we’re up to. Whenever I need a self-esteem boost, I just remember that my cats like me, and as trivial as it sounds, it makes me happy to think that my cats are as happy here with me as I am with them.
Knowing I saved cats who needed a loving family is also really satisfying. I am a strong proponent of rescuing, especially with cats. Cats have a much harder time getting adopted than dogs and shelters almost always have more of them. Both of my cats came to the shelter as strays, but Aleister had almost definitely gotten away from a family and never been come back for. He brings me so much joy; I would be devastated to lose him. Gucci sat at the shelter for about a month waiting for a family. He’s such a ham, everyone who passed up this funky cat missed out.
Maybe I’m just a twenty-something crazy cat lady, but my cats have been one of the best things to happen to me. They’re the best college family I could ask for, and I’m hoping for a good job after graduation so I can spoil them more.