How adopting my cats changed my life

A student pet owner’s experience

Eleanor and Sadie.

In a corner of my living room at any given time, there’s a pile of Whiskas cat food scattered across the hardwood floor.

Every day my cat, Eleanor, sits mischievously in front of her bowl, looking into my eyes before she sticks her furry little paws into her dish and flicks her dry food onto the floor. I’ll sit and watch her while she kicks the small pieces around with her feet, getting excited while she watches them shoot across the hardwood. Often, after the novelty of the game wears away, I’ll come back to find Sadie, my other cat, munching on the discarded food.

I adopted Eleanor in September of my fourth year at Queen’s. I was on the upswing from a particularly challenging period dealing with my mental health and had just moved into a house with a group of people I had never met before. After a few weeks of getting to know each other, discovering a mutual love for animals, and scrolling through the Kingston Humane Society’s website, I submitted an application to adopt a scrawny little black kitten whose photo I couldn’t get out of my head. Four days later, I brought her home.

Having an animal at home was an immediate bonding experience for me and my new housemates. We got to know Eleanor’s habits and vibrant personality together, laughing when we first saw how she begged for treats by standing on her hind legs, making new games by throwing a mouse stuffed with catnip through the halls of the house, and affectionately grumbling when she would have zoomies all night long, keeping us awake into the wee hours of the morning. When we created our own rituals, Eleanor would often be a prominent part of them, stealing McDonald’s French fries from us after a night out or begging for bits of the pizzas we’d make on Friday nights.

Four months after adopting Eleanor, I made the impulse decision to adopt another cat whose photo I also fell in love with at first sight. A stark contrast to how I originally saw Eleanor, Sadie was a big fluffy ginger who was initially incredibly shy. Her first nights at home were spent under my bed, darting in and out to nervously nibble on some dry food and use the litter box.

As time passed, Sadie’s personality also began to shine through. She liked to observe her surroundings; it wasn’t uncommon for her to be found sitting on top of the fridge watching someone make coffee. She also became the best nap partner I’ve ever known. Whether she decided to curl up beside me for an afternoon snooze or sprawled across the couch with her feline sister, her comfort in our home was evident. 

The routine of having two tiny creatures sharing my living space was momentous in improving my own quality of life.Having two buddies who I would wake up with every morning and who waited for me to come home from class in the evenings made me feel secure; I knew that on days when it felt like the world was falling apart, I could always come home to two animals who would simply be happy to see me.

Whether it’s waking up to Sadie sitting on my chest waiting for breakfast or having Eleanor follow me around the house, the bond we’ve forged since I rescued them from the shelter has saved me in more ways than they could ever know.


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