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Sandy Skaff, Jessie Skaff, Jessie’s cat, cute cat
Sandy Skaff, Jessie Skaff, Jessie’s cat, cute cat
Original photo by Jessie Skaff
Life > Experiences

How Getting a Dorm Cat has Decreased My Stress

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 MSU chapter.

Ever since I was a little girl, I have adored animals. With their fuzzy faces and adorable personalities, how could I not love them? People say dogs are a man’s best friend, for me, thats not the case. Don’t get me wrong – I love dogs. After all, as a future veterinarian, how could I not love dogs? Growing up with cats gave me a different level of appreciation for them.

When I was younger, whenever I was sad or sick, my cat would come up to me and lay on my chest for hours and cuddle with me. When times were tough, my cat was always there. I’ve always been pretty independent and have counted the days down to adulthood from a young age. By the time freshman year of college rolled around, I felt as if I had already mentally left my house.

Finally, the freedom I had been waiting for. We unpacked my stuff, made my bed, and put up posters, but something was missing. I couldn’t put my finger on it. This weird feeling continued until I experienced my first college cry session about a month into college. Tears streaming down my face, I reached out to grab my cat to cuddle, but she wasn’t there. That’s when I realized my cat is what had been missing from my life. It was at this moment that I knew I needed a change: I needed my cat.

In typical college student fashion, I put off researching how to get a dorm cat for a couple of months. When I finally got around to researching the process of getting a dorm cat, I was already halfway through my freshman year. Unfortunately, my current cat was too old to move again. Even if I somehow was able to get her registered as my dorm cat, she would have to move around a lot. Unfortunately, cats aren’t exactly great with change.

I would have to get a kitten, which posed the challenges of not only getting the kitten approved, but also convincing my parents to let me get one. Even though I was legally an adult at the time, I was still living with my parents during the summer months and came home for breaks. If I were going to get a kitten, it would live at my parents’ house with me when I was there. It took a lot of convincing, but I was finally able to get them on board on the condition that I would wait until my sophomore year.

In June of 2023, after a lot of back and forth between my therapist, doctor, and disability leader, I finally gott approved. As soon as I could, I went to my favorite adoption clinic and adopted my cat, Poppy. Of course, there was an adjustment period. After all, she was just a 2-month-old kitten, but the experience was great! 

June flew to July, which zoomed into August, and suddenly it was move-in day. Cat carrier in hand, it was time for me to take on my sophomore year at MSU! I was in a single dorm room at Mayo Hall this year and actively anticipating the year I had ahead of me!

Despite creating chaos every chance she gets, Poppy seems to be enjoying her time as a Spartan. I’m honestly jealous of her. As a woman in STEM, I wish my schedule consisted of trying to break into trash cans or the fridge, murdering expensive houseplants, and sleeping all day. I get asked all the time if she has ever tried to escape, which (knock on wood) has only happened once. It was more of a casual walk. I had just gotten out of the shower and was only in my towel! I opened my dorm door to her waiting for me. As I walked in, she decided to walk out. It was as though she thought she could escape if she did it casually enough. Of course, my towel fell while I was scrambling to get her. Thankfully, I sleep at ungodly hours, so the only person who saw me naked was (hopefully) only the ghost of Mary Mayo. Despite her almost making me a flasher, Poppy is probably the best roommate a girl could ask for!

She’s the perfect scapegoat! If I don’t want to leave the dorm, I just use her as an excuse not to leave. She is always there for cuddles when I’m stressed or sad. My only regret is that I didn’t get her sooner.

If I could give one piece of advice to people who are lonely or missing their fur babies while they’re at college, it would be to bring them with you if you can. As a chronically ill STEM student, my stress levels have decreased so much since bringing Poppy to campus with me. This year has been so much less stressful as a whole due to having my little fuzzy friend to cuddle with. Trust me when I say, they are more than worth the paperwork!

Anna is a sophomore studying preveterinary medicine at Michigan State University and is so excited to be a part of Her Campus at MSU! Although her major is not anything writing related she has a big interest in journalism and any sort of creative writing as a whole. Anna hopes that her articles bring joy to anyone who reads them! In her free time Anna enjoys kayaking, paddle boarding, reading, and painting! Anna has pretty low expectations and is happy pretty much anywhere close to nature. If she's not on the beach, you can find Anna at a coffee house because despite having a heart condition Anna has a crippling caffeine addiction. Anna believes that she single handedly could keep Starbucks in business with the amount of times she goes a week! Anna’s one saving grace from being a woman in STEM is her dorm cat Poppy, who keeps her sane and is often featured on Anna’s social media (although some may say the amount of times Poppy is “featured” Anna’s accounts are just as much Poppy’s as they are Anna’s). You can find Anna on snapchat and instagram at “awiezperson” (a pun Anna thinks is hilarious but in all reality is not).