I Love My Cat(s)

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

 I Love My Cat(s)
By Yemaya Williams 

Towards the beginning of quarantine, Agency commissioned the LMU community to tell us what a day in their lives looked like under the given circumstances. We collected journal entries, anxiety and creativity tips and the editorial board took still life photographs. Before we switched our full focus to the Black Lives Matter movement and support of the LMU black community, my contribution to “A Day in the Life” was an article I titled “I Love My Cat.” The opening paragraph was as follows: 

I’m 20 years old and I’ve already met the love of my life, the apple of my eye, the one I would die for, the one I do it all for. There is nothing I think about or talk about more than my baby. His name is Mango. He’s a cat. 

I turned fangirling over my cat into a recommendation that everyone get an emotional support animal during quarantine. You will soon read said fangirling and proposal, but I had to break the fourth wall to just back myself up, like this is really solid advice. I say this because I took this exact advice and rescued a second cat over quarantine and of course my life has been better since. We got Kiwi the day before my 21st birthday and there will never be a present that tops that, unless it's another cat. 

As I write this, the one year anniversary of Mango’s adoption day is in 4 days. He is the love of my life. I do all the cooking, cleaning and work, and spend all my money to spoil him with toys and treats. He lounges around all day and rudely demands my attention at 3am. It may seem like a one sided love, but I promise you it's not. The constant bursts of serotonin I get just from seeing his cute face is more than I could possibly ask for. When I wake up to the sight of him curled up at the foot of my bed, there is no greater happiness. 

I rescued Mango from No Kill Los Angeles, an animal shelter located in Santa Monica. He was a 4 month old kitten and I was a stressed out college student making yet another impulsive decision. In hindsight, a young kitten was a lot of responsibility to take on, but the emotional comfort an animal can provide genuinely changed my life for the better. 

Mango is registered as an emotional support animal because that’s exactly what he is. In fact, all pets are emotional support animals regardless of how you label them. Buster, LMU’s therapy dog, automatically brings a big smile to everyone that sees him walking across campus. And I have to admit, there have been days where I’ve come home a wreck and cried  into Mango as I hold him (I’m genuinely a crazy cat lady) and it works wonders on my mental state. 

To get an official letter that says having a pet would benefit your mental health, it’s as easy as just asking your therapist if you have one. If you don’t, you can do what I did and do it via virtual therapy appointment on websites like esaregistration.org. 

To all people who already have animals and enjoy their constant love and joy, I recommend taking the time to register them. To those without animals who want one, I wholeheartedly recommend finding your nearest shelter and rescuing an angel. This is your sign to just do it. Speaking from experience, no matter how impulsive a decision it is, it’s the best decision you will make.

Some may be hesitant because as college students, it seems like a lot of responsibility to take on. At times it is, but if you are hesitant, I recommend turning that dog obsession into a cat one. Compared to the bathroom and attention needs of a dog, cats are much more easier to manage. My favorite perk of having a cat instead of a dog is that I can leave Mango home with his litter box knowing I won’t come back to pee on the floor because it’s been too long between walks. Now that we’re in the house indefinitely, that’s not even something we have to worry about. You have more attention than ever to give a fluffy baby. No excuses.

Cats definitely have a different way of showing love. They don’t come to you when you call their name, they don’t jump up on you when you get home, and most car rides are unpleasant to them. However, love is still there in abundance. Almost every morning in my LA apartment, I would be awoken by Mango walking up on me and laying down on my chest. When he wants to play, he runs and weaves between my feet as I walk. This makes it really hard to not accidentally kick him or trip and fall but brings a smile to my face regardless. Sometimes when I go to pet him, he just stretches out and rolls around on the floor while purring. And he always makes sure to hang out in the room where all the people are. He doesn’t sniff  us like a dog would but, he watches over us from his perch. 

Like I said before, I’m obsessed and it’s quite easy to see. In fact, I wish this obsession on everyone. These times are hard and we can use all the emotional support we can get. Mango and now Kiwi have really made the duration of these stay at home orders more bearable and when the time comes when I can leave the house again, it's only going to be that much harder to leave their side. 

Regardless of an animal's title, the good feelings are there, but to register an animal as an emotional support pet comes with more benefits than true love. All pet related purchases become tax deductible, apartment complexes can’t charge you pet rent and they can fly with you, just like service animals. This registration, along with a DSS application even allows you to have your pet with you in LMU’s dorms—when dorm life is a thing again. 

If I’ve convinced you that you need to go and rescue that dog or cat you’ve been thinking about getting, if you are seeking the emotional comforts of a soft companion or if you want to support shelters by temporarily fostering, I’ve listed some no-kill animal shelters in Los Angeles below that still allow for a modified adoption process during this time. If your home isn’t LA, your true love can be one Google search and a couple phone calls away. I emailed The Rescue House in San Diego and 3 days later I was able to pick Kiwi up from her foster home. 

No Kill Los Angeles (NKLA) - by appointment only, dogs and cats

Heaven on Earth Perry’s Place - virtual adoption process, cats only 

The Rescue Train - online process, cats and dogs

Bark N’ Bitches - online application, dogs only

(I recommend coming here after COVID times even if you don’t want to adopt because all of the dogs have free reign to walk around the store) 

Ken-Mar Rescue - online application, dogs only 

LA Love and Leashes - give them a call, dogs and cats

Los Angeles Animal Services - by appointment only, dogs and cats 

*Note that shelters and rescue houses have different adoption fees. These fees go towards the veterinary care and other costs, meaning you adopt an animal already microchipped, up to date on vaccines, and spayed or neutered.  I paid $20 to rescue Mango from NKLA because it was a shelter but Kiwi was $165 because she was from a rescue house and was being fostered. Fees vary depending on where you go and where you live but it’s all worth it to support these organizations and it covers a lot of vet care.

Post a Comment