Big Issues

Adopting My Cat Was The Best Thing I’ve Done For My Mental Health

A love letter to a sweet creature with a sensitive tummy.

About a year and a half ago, I was having a shit time. My career was going nowhere, I was convinced all my friends hated me and I had decided I was fundamentally a terrible person at my core.

I couldn’t see any beauty in the world, and I felt my life was a waste.

I stopped looking after myself, and even though my partner was worried sick about me, he worked nights, so I spent most of my time by myself in our inner-city home. I stopped showering (which made me feel worse about myself), and stopped eating, which made me prone to fainting. By Christmas, I weighed 34 kilos.

Finding A Friend

My partner thought it would be good for me to get a pet. A cuddly pet, that I could look after and love and talk to at night. We drove to the Lost Dogs Home in North Melbourne to suss it out. I wanted the oldest, shittiest one-eyed cat I could find, because in my head it was cruel to adopt kittens when all these grandad cats were about, lookin’ all sad and scruffy.

I cuddled almost every single cat in the centre and hadn’t made a connection with any of them. I was a cat person – I used to let my family cat drool onto my ponytail when he got old and gross — so it hurt.

There was one last kitty left that I wasn’t interested in at all. He was a tiny little black and white baby and had strong David Spade vibes. He had been found in the street and had a sensitive tummy.

We let him out and he climbed on my shoulders and rubbed against me. It wasn’t love at first sight, but it was good enough. I named him Pablo.

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“I Had To Care Of Myself In Order To Take Care Of Someone Else.”

I had to get up in the morning to feed him. I had to cook him his fucking $40 special chicken at night. I had to clean the litterbox for him, which led to cleaning the laundry for him, then the lounge room. If big dick energy could be in litter kicking, he had it.

He rewarded me for my good behaviour too. If I showered he would sit on the sink and sing to me. If I sung Destiny’s Child, he would sing louder. When I sat on the floor in my towel he sat with me. He followed me everywhere and inspected everything I did, and the more I lived, the happier he was.

Each day became a little brighter with Pablo.

I had to leave the house to pick up toys and treats for him, so I might as well get a coffee, or do some grocery shopping. Studying was easier with my little buddy next to me; he chewed on my pencils if I put them down. He slept in the doona under my chin like how I imagine a tiny, furry Idris Elba would.

Each day became a little brighter with Pablo. I was eating, showering, sleeping, leaving the house; he reminded me I was worthy of love.

Today, I am happy. I’m healthy, I have plans for the future and I don’t feel isolated and alone.

I wake up to Pablo each morning, and he runs at the door when I come home. He does my tax return for me, and cooks me dinner after a long day. No, he doesn’t, but he’s still pretty bloody great.

(Lead image: provided)

If you or someone you know is struggling with a mental illness, you can find help by seeking advice from a counsellor or calling Lifeline on 13 11 14.

If you want to donate to the RSPCA, do so here. The Lost Dogs Home takes donations here