Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
Cat by the glass door in the sunlight
Cat by the glass door in the sunlight
Original photo by Millie Dean
Life > Experiences

My experience living with a non-human roommate

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Illinois State chapter.

This semester, my roommate fostered a cat for a month, and it was probably the best month of my life.

I have never been around cats much in my life. Growing up, we never had any pets other than goldfish. Then, when I started third grade, my family took the leap, and we adopted a family dog. He is the most spoiled dog I’ve ever met. And though he’s only 18 pounds, he has the biggest personality I’ve ever witnessed.

Though I grew up with him, I had never been around cats much. A few of my friends did and I would see them when I visited, but I feel like I never spent enough time around a cat to truly understand what they are like.

This year, I live with three roommates. When my one roommate told us she fosters cats, it made me a tiny bit nervous (because of the lack of cat experience), but mostly excited because one thing my family dog has taught me is how comforting an animal can be to have around. We all agreed that we would welcome a cat if she was asked to foster one.

When the fateful day came around a month ago, my roommate Emma said the Humane Society asked her if she wanted to foster a cat named Emma. We all took it as a sign that it was meant to be—it was.

Emma brought Emma home, who we all referred to as EJ (Emma Junior) to make things less confusing. EJ is an 8-year-old, long-haired gray cat. She arrived timid and skittish and didn’t spend much time around any of us. She kept to Emma’s room, specifically under her bed.

One of the first things I noticed about EJ is that she didn’t meow like a regular cat. She made a little screeching-yell sound.

Cat looking up
Original photo by Millie Dean

As the days went by, she started venturing into the living room more. Sometimes she would meow at Emma to feed her while Emma was sitting at the kitchen counter. She never stayed for too long though. One thing I learned about EJ is that she has a social battery. As soon as it runs out, she turns out of the room and slowly walks away either into the hallway or back to Emma’s room, just to get away from everyone.

One day, I was sitting on the couch, and she sat on the floor staring up at me. She sat like that for a while, and then she effortlessly leaped onto the couch and onto my lap. She crawled up onto my chest, stared into my eyes (and I swear my soul!) and then proceeded to curl up on me and deeply purr. I’ll never forget that moment.

As time went on, EJ could almost always be found in the living room, either behind the couch or curled up on a blanket sleeping. I noticed how all of us talked to her in a high-pitched voice, and we all grew to love her. She loved to cuddle with all of us.

EJ shed maybe five hairs total—she never shed. She would “make biscuits” on our shoes but never scratched them. She was the biggest ball of fluff and would often lay on her side, spilling herself out onto the floor, demanding pets. And she would always meow at us with that non-meow sounding sound.

Cat laying down next to table
Original photo by Millie Dean

The energy was different in my apartment when she was around. Morale was high. We all spent more time in the living room, looking for her, cuddling up with her and just watching her. She is an extremely special cat, and we all love her dearly.

Last week, Emma received the text saying someone is adopting EJ. It was a sad two days for all of us. We all loved EJ and Emma even had thoughts of adopting her because out of all the cats Emma has fostered, EJ was perfect.

As I reflect on my non-human roommate, I can say it was truly one of the greatest times of my college experience. Having the presence and love of an animal is something special, and something I would recommend to everyone.

Millie Dean

Illinois State '23

HI! My name is Millie and I love writing for Her Campus! I'm a senior at Illinois State University studying Public Relations and minoring in Graphic Design. My other interests include art, embroidery, thrifting, and photography. I love to be able to be creative in my interests and in my articles on Her Campus. Follow me on Instagram! @milliedean5