Last year around this time, I am not ashamed to say that I spent most of my spare time watching videos about fostering kittens and scrolling through countless cat photos on Instagram. As long as I can remember, I have been a full on cat lady. In elementary school, I used to cut out photos of cats from magazines and hang them on my walls and collect cat stuffed animals whom I loved dearly.
After years of longing for a cat, I was finally able to adopt Rosie, my emotional support animal (ESA) on May 29, 2021. My psychologist recommended her as a way for me to expose myself to triggers caused by my OCD. Rosie is my dependent, so even if I do not feel like taking care of myself, I have to take care of her. When I first got Rosie, I was not able to pet her without immediately washing my hands. Now, I am mostly okay with her licking my face, and I even wash her water bowl in the kitchen sink rather than the bathtub. This may sound silly, but it is actually huge progress for me.
To anyone with a mental illness, I fully recommend an ESA. I have noticed an overall improvement in my mood since adopting Rosie. Regardless of what is going on in my life, Rosie remains a constant, albeit one who must be entertained at 6am when she decides I need to play with her. An emotional support animal can be useful to different people for different reasons. Rosie helps me with my OCD, but having a dependant gives you a new sense of purpose. It makes you feel needed in a way that you may not have experienced before. When Rosie puked five times in a row, I needed to clean it up and rush to the vet (to find out that she was totally fine). This was an incredibly stressful experience, but I got through it and learned that I could get through it.
I love cats so much, but I do not recommend adopting an animal unless you know that you will provide for them the same care that they provide for you. An animal is a responsibility, but it is manageable. I can leave her alone for the afternoon, and her insurance, food, and litter are much more affordable than I expected.
In conclusion, if you love cats and you think that having one might improve your wellbeing, absolutely adopt one. I can assure you, having a pet will help you learn that you are a lot stronger than you realize.