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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Kenyon chapter.

I have an emotional support cat and she is my entire world. I am obsessed with her. Like get-a-tattoo-of-her obsessed. And while overall she’s just a lovely, sweet little cat, my love for her is so much deeper than that. I had an extremely rough first year here at Kenyon, and when it ended, I decided I needed to do something going forward to prioritize my mental health. My sister has an ESA whom she brought with her to college and seeing how much he helped her through her own rough first year really pushed me to get an ESA. 

The summer after my first year, I was ready to adopt a cat and I set out to find the perfect match for me. Back in high school I volunteered with a rescue organization for dogs and cats, and my sister’s ESA was actually from this same organization, so I decided I wanted to get my cat from them. July came around and it was time for me to get a cat, so I started looking more into the cats at this organization. Most of their animals were at a ranch and you could only meet them at adoption events, but they had a few cats in pet stores, so I convinced my sister and mom to go with me to a Petsmart that was kind of far away from my house on the Fourth of July. I met a few other cats, but when I held my cat Ivy, she purred and I instantly fell in love. That weekend I went to an adoption event and took her home the same day. It’s been wonderful ever since. 

Ivy is the first cat I’ve ever had, and it’s been a learning experience for me, but such a beautiful one. She is so kind and friendly that it’s truly been wonderful to grow with her and learn what it means to not only have a cat but to have an ESA. 

Things have gotten much better for me here at Kenyon, and to say my cat Ivy has helped would be an understatement. My depression makes it hard to want to be alive sometimes, but my cat never does. She makes me want to get out of bed in the morning. She makes me feel less alone when I’m sad, but not particularly well enough to be around people. She keeps me surprised with her crazy antics. She brings me closer to others when I introduce her to my friends. Ivy is more than a cat to me; she is genuinely my entire world. 

Having an emotional support animal has been so crucial to my healing and wellbeing at Kenyon that I don’t know if I could be here without her. She understands me and truly adapts to my emotions like no animal ever has. I love her so much and I know she loves me. And that is probably the best thing in the world—to have such a sweet, pure, innocent creature love me so deeply and trust me to take care of her. Getting an ESA was the best decision I have ever made, and I’m so grateful that my awful first year led me to such a blessing.

Image Credit: Author

Emi is an English major at Kenyon College who loves Taylor Swift, her cat, and her twin sister.