Chenango SPCA: I'm Happier With A Cat
Published: June 21st, 2024

Chenango SPCA: I'm happier with a cat Pretty Girl is seven years old and ready for a new home. Come meet her at the Chenango County SPCA in Norwich. (Submitted photo)

by Patrick McLaughlin,

CSPCA Executive Director

This week, I don't have any profound message about the lofty challenges of animal welfare work, or the selfless love with which our staff at the Chenango SPCA carry it out. I also don't have any reflection on the nature of nonprofit work, or any informative thoughts about our relationship to governments, tax codes, or corporations. This week, I want to share something more personal.

A little over a year ago, my sister (who is also my landlady) moved into the ground floor of the house we now share, while I continued to live on the top floor. When she moved in (technically, she moved back), she naturally brought her pets--three dogs and two cats--with her. However,  one  of those pets gradually started spending more and more time with me upstairs.

Story Continues Below Adverts

Eventually, Boots, an orange tabby, stopped spending time downstairs at all. It took me a little while to realize that I should start thinking of him as  my  cat, but certainly he had started to think of me as  his  human. At this time of year, the coating of cat hair on my furniture makes it clear that he feels quite at home, which comes as no surprise.

What  was  somewhat surprising was something that I realized a week or two ago while trying to brush out some of his excess hair: That  I  am happier with a cat than I was without one. That might sound like a strange revelation from the executive director of an animal organization, and that's a fair point.

When I started here in February of last year,  lots  of people asked me whether I had pets at home. At the time, I didn't. For the previous nine years, I had lived in apartments that didn't allow pets, and so the question hadn't been one that I spent a lot of time on. I  liked  animals, and I got plenty of exposure to them through my family, but circumstances had kept me from having any of my own. I did not regard that as a profound tragedy (and, really, it isn't).

However, now that I get to spend so much time with Boots, I've realized on a personal level what I always knew in my mind: That having a pet makes you happier. Indeed, I've realized that having a pet makes  me  happier, and I think that's most likely true for most other people.

Even more than that, I think having a cat has made me  better. People who've known me for a long time would be quick to point out that I can be rather Stoic, intellectual, and sometimes so insistently logical that I irritate them like Mr. Spock irritated Dr. McCoy. "Touchy-feely" has definitely  never  been the right way to describe me. And yet, when Boots wants food, I feed him. When he wants me to pet him, I do. When he wants to play with a shoelace, I make it swirl around the room until he's had enough. And when the weather warms up and he starts to shed, I brush him. All of these are small things, but life is made of small things.

In the past, when my time at home was spent alone, it's not as if I sat around building up negativity or wallowing in loneliness. I genuinely enjoy my alone time. But now that I have a cat--a living being who relies on me and whose company I enjoy--I have an occasion to  take care  of him, and it has made me better  and  happier.

Story Continues Below Adverts

Meet with wonderful animals up for adoption!