7 Reasons why getting a cat in grad school was a great idea

Just over two years ago, I went to the Montréal SPCA with the goal of adopting a black cat (because black cats are adorable). As I walked around the cat room, a tiny dark tortie with huge eyes softly meowed at me from inside her cage. When the SPCA volunteer opened the cage to let me interact with the cat, she (the cat) immediately ran up to me and started headbutting my hand while purring up a storm.

She stole my heart. I adopted her right away and renamed her Glutamine. This adoption is one of the best things I’ve done in the past couple of years. For me, the perks of having a cat vastly outweigh the effort of taking care of her:

  1. Cats provide companionship without having to talk or interact with another person. Often, as I read or lounge on the couch, Glutamine will jump up and sit next to me. She’s not looking for pets, she’s just hanging out, and her quiet, comforting presence makes me happy.
  2. To take care of a cat helps give some structure to my days: at the very least, I know that I’ll have to feed her in the morning and at night, which is manageable even on a busy and/or irregular graduate student schedule.
  3. Having a pet – and specifically a cat – has been reported to be beneficial for mental health.
  4. This might seem counter-intuitive, but having a cat is actually helping me keep my apartment clean(er).
    1. My cat jumps up on the kitchen counter to lick dirty dishes. It’s gross and unsettling, so to avoid this situation I have to wash my dishes immediately after I’m done using them.
    2. Every time I clean the litter box, I sweep my apartment floor and take out the trash. By linking litter box cleaning with sweeping, I end up using my broom far more often than I did when living on my own.
  5. Some time ago, a mouse (foolishly) made its way into my apartment. Cats are very efficient at catching mice. I have not seen a mouse since.
  6. Cats are hilarious.
    • An example: when I use the broom, Glutamine will look at it warily, but she’ll stay put wherever she’s sitting. In contrast, as soon as I start using the Swiffer, she will bolt – madly dashing around and under furniture, batting at the sweeping cloth and running away as if they were playing tag. Why??
  7. She’s just so cute! And I get to see her every day!!

Banner picture by Randall Munroe //  xkcd

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