Why You Should Get a Pet During Quarantine

Picture this- a soft, cuddly little creature burrowing itself in your neck, holding on to you and promising unconditional love forever. Sounds amazing, right? Well, any of you who have pets know that it is. Pets provide more than just comfort and companionship; they give us love and free therapy. 

The coronavirus pandemic has been hard on all of us, affecting the mental health of millions of people across the globe. Being forced to quarantine indoors and stop interacting with others for seven months has caused many people to become depressed. The risk of contracting the deadly virus has made everyone more anxious than ever before. Due to the social and societal restrictions in place, many people feel isolated, lonely, and bored. I recommend the perfect solution- getting a pet! 

Ever since I was four years old, I have always wanted a cat. Unfortunately, my mother isn’t a cat person, so I had to wait until I was old enough to get one myself. I had dogs throughout my childhood who I love to death, but I have always wanted to get a cat of my own. My family dogs, Nessie and Ruby, kept me from going insane during the quarantine. They gave me kisses daily, snuggled with me while I watched endless amounts of movies and TV shows, and kept me company while reading dozens of books in isolation. They will always be my first loves, as they stuck through the difficult times with me, and provided me company when I felt incredibly alone. 

However, I recently moved into my dorm at NYU and discovered that I have a studio apartment all to myself. While having my own space is wonderful, the apartment sometimes gets quite lonely, especially since I cannot have guests over due to the pandemic. It was finally the right time for me to get the kitten of my dreams. I recently got my little girl, Salem (yes, she is named after the cat in Sabrina the Teenage Witch), and it was the best decision I have ever made. Since I have anxiety, I was able to register her as an emotional support animal through NYU and have her in my dorm and in my arms. 

Not only do I believe that recently getting a pet was the right move for me, but it could be the right move for you. Having something to take care of (other than yourself) can provide a reason for you to get up and get dressed in the morning. Pets not only reduce anxiety, but they also help regulate our moods and alleviate stress. Studies have also shown that interactions with dogs and cats trigger releases of dopamine, oxytocin (also known as the bonding/“love hormone”), and serotonin in our brains, making us feel calm and happy. The release of these hormones not only makes us feel better, but they are also beneficial to our overall health. The release of these hormones lowers the risk of heart attacks and improves overall immune functioning. If we are alone in our dorms and not allowed to have guests over, why not have an additional roommate that happens to have fur? Get yourself a fluffy friend to keep you company during your zoom classes. I promise you won’t regret it.