Personal Column: Cat scratch fever


Ashley Becerra

These are three small fur balls that have made my life the best they possibly can. Sasori, Milo, and Luna.

As a dog person, I never thought that getting cats would change my life completely. Taking care of three cats is not as hard as I thought it would be. They require less attention than dogs, are more independent and they are much easier to take care of… especially when it comes to cleaning there, you know. 

One year ago, coming back home from my trip to Mexico, I was surprised with three cats. Yes, THREE CATS! I was never a fan of cats because I always saw them as big old grumpy fur balls. (The way they scratch you is insane too.) Although, after looking at them for quite some time, I realized that they can’t be that bad. I approached each cat and petted them one by one. My heart started pounding so hard. It was a feeling that I’ve never felt before. It felt as if my heart was going to escape from my chest. I was happy. I was very happy to have these lovely creatures and to consider them mine. Every time I see them roaming around the house, it makes me fall in love with them more and more.

Of the three cats, two are male and the other one is female. One cat is completely orange, named Sasori. The other cat is orange with white spots, and his name is Milo. The last cat consists of three different colors: gray, white and black, and her name is Luna. All three cats have the same personality. The only difference is that Sasori is way more active than the other two.

I noticed that my cats filled up the empty spaces of my heart. Although there’s been times when I missed my grandpa, I usually look at my cats and think to myself that he would’ve been happy for me. After getting cats, my life has improved in so many ways. They were able to provide me with solace, company, delight and a sense of direction. They were able to enhance my health and wellbeing and motivate me to get out of bed each morning.

Although after a week of hanging out with them during my Christmas break, I started my second semester of my junior year, and nothing felt the same since then. I started spending less time with my cats and started focusing more on schoolwork. I never had time for them. I felt like the worst owner ever because they did not receive the same attention they used to.

When it came to doing my homework, I would usually close my door completely and leave my cats outside to be able to concentrate. That’s when I started hearing whimpers coming from the other side of my door. Hearing this while I was doing my schoolwork was the worst thing. I realized that my stress started developing more and more over the course of the days, and that’s when I decided to try something new.

Instead of leaving my cats outside my room, I decided to give it a try and to let them in. They all made their way to my room and laid down next to me. Cuddling with the cats for a short period of time made me feel more comfortable and more relaxed. This was probably the best choice I’ve ever made. I started doing this more frequently and having my cats with me at all times helps me to reduce my stress. 

I thought to myself and realized that before having any cats, everything would have been more difficult. I realized that I haven’t had consecutive mental breakdowns, unlike what I’ve used to. My cats have taught me and helped me control myself these past months.

Summer came by, and this gave me the opportunity to recover the time I didn’t spend with my cats. It was like a dream come true. I woke up to the cats. I ate with the cats. I watched TV with the cats. I went to sleep with the cats. I literally did almost anything you could possibly think of with my cats.

Though I love hanging around with my cats on a daily basis, sometimes, one of my cats would scratch me out of nowhere. That same summer, there was an incident where I received my first scratch from the cat I called “mine.” Sasori had scratched me on my eyelid. The only thing I remembered was that I was playing around with him, when all of a sudden— *meowwww* SCRATCH!

Never again. I played with him like that, but that didn’t change the amount of love I had for him. I would think of every scratch I received as a sign of how much he loves me. I noticed that summer was ending and that my worst nightmare was about to begin. 

That’s when I started my senior year, when everything definitely changed. I received a job offer and took the opportunity to at least earn some money during the weekends. I believed that the last cycle had ended, but in reality, it had begun again but 10 times worse. I didn’t have the same amount of time to hang out with the cats as I used to, so it’s been really difficult since then.

Every time I get home, I see all the cats looking out the window to see if I have arrived home. As soon as I opened the door, they surrounded me with their tails and started meowing. My heart pounded with excitement as though I was meeting them for the first time.

In the month of October, I decided to get my college apps out of the way. In doing so, there were moments where one cat would come up to me and lie on my lap. I felt really calm. I also realized that while writing my college essays, I wasn’t making as many mistakes as I used to. My cats have provided me with a steady, carefree presence that can make all small worries and tensions seem pointless.

Currently, Christmas break is around the corner, and I’m definitely looking forward to my long break. Being able to recover from the days I’ve spent on schoolwork and work, I’m going to be able to give the cats the love that they have not received for a long time.

Our pets have such brief lives with us, and the majority of them are spent waiting for us to get home each day.