The Serotonin That Comes From Being With a Cat

As someone who is allergic to cats, I never would have thought that the thing I would miss the most when going off to college was my cat. 

I’ve been allergic to cats my whole life, well actually I’m allergic to all fur. But since forever, my family has always owned a cat. Don’t ask me why my family likes to see me suffer. But anyway, growing up I’ve had to avoid the cats in my house as to not have an allergy attack. The only safe space was my room. 

We’ve had cats come and go as well, but the one that has been in my life the longest is a Bengal named Sugar. When she was a kitten, she was pure white. We didn’t want to do a basic name like Snowball or something, so we went with Sugar. She had a brother named Slugger, but he ran away after we got our dog.

Courtesy of Sammi Burke

But anyway, I’ve always hated my cat. I mean, how could I like something I was allergic to? I always saw my family cuddling and petting her, but I couldn’t do anything. When people asked if I was a cat or dog person, I said dog person right away (even though I’m allergic to dogs as well). Sugar was sassy, bitty, mean, and a drama queen. With her attitude and my allergy, how could I like her?

It wasn’t until last summer that something changed. I don’t know what it was honestly, but one day Sugar jumped up on my lap while I was sitting on my chair having coffee. I was shocked, tempted to just let her down, and carry on with my morning. But I didn’t. She kneaded her little paws and plopped right down on my lap. I couldn’t help but scratch her stomach lightly. Cat hair went everywhere in the air and on my clothes. After she jumped off to do whatever it is that cats do, I immediately changed clothes and took medicine. 

And from then on, my relationship with Sugar changed. She would cuddle with me in the morning while I had my coffee. At first, it was just that, but then suddenly I would come up to my room and find her sitting on my bed. She wasn’t allowed in there! I wouldn’t be able to sleep with the cat fur on my bed! But yet, I didn’t do anything. I just let her chill at the foot of my bed and I kicked her out before I went to bed. 

Over quarantine, we got ever closer. Being stuck in your house with your family sometimes makes people either go crazy, or it forces the people to become closer. For Sugar and I, we became as close as one can between humans and pets. We would cuddle every morning, and hang out in my room at night. For hours I would just sit in my chair in the morning and let her lay on my lap and sleep. My phone is full of hundreds of photos of her, and it’s my favorite thing to look at when I miss her. 

Photo Courtesy of Author

You kind of know it’s coming, but you really don’t realize how sad you’ll be without your pets when you leave for college. I couldn’t wake up and go cuddle with my cat while I had breakfast. I couldn’t take study breaks and go pet her. I couldn’t lay in bed with her at night while I’m watching Netflix. I’m not entertained with her playing with her toys while I’m sitting on the couch. I can’t hear her meows to be let outside in the afternoons to play in the grass. No more headbutts or noise kisses or chirps or purrs. No more getting kneaded like bread or feeling the warmth of her against my chest when I’m sad. 

I’ve been gone for three months, and I didn’t think I would miss her this much. I didn’t realize how much serotonin I was getting from my cat. But now that I’m at college, it’s hitting me how much I miss her. 

My parents send me photos almost every day, and they are my favorite thing ever. We also got a new kitten when I was away, so I’ve been receiving lots of new photos of him. His name is Meeko and all I’ve heard from my parents and brothers is how much of an explorer he is. He loves to cuddle and sleep, but he doesn’t stop playing around the house. I want to meet him so badly, but I can’t yet.

When I go home for winter break, I’ll have two months with my cats, but then I have to go again. After that, I plan on getting an apartment with some friends, so I’ll be away from my cats even longer. 

Pets bring happiness and relaxation to their owners. Animals are carefree, kind, and sweet, and if you are close, it can be someone’s main source of joy. There’s a reason why there are emotional service animals. I feel my whole body relax when I pet my cat. When I see her happy and relaxed, I become happy and relaxed. 

nintendo switch console with cat nearby Photo by Mister Mister from Pexels

There is just something about the way that my cat makes serotonin flood my body when I’m with her. I miss her so much, and every day I feel the longing to want to hold her. I hope everyone who reads can relate, and those who aren’t separated from their pets cherish them and give them cuddles for me. I’m sure everyone has experienced leaving a pet at home at some point, and they know it’s hard. 

Maybe it will be better when I can get a cat of my own when I get an apartment. That way I don’t have to worry about how my cat is doing at my home. I don’t even care about my allergies, to be honest. As long as I can continue experiencing the serotonin that comes with owning a cat, I’ll endure.