This is an honest piece on how my cat, Sesame, brings happiness to three aspects of my life. I’ve removed the filter on expressing my love for my cat, the filter that I only remove in front of trusted cat friends.


For the record, I grew up not knowing that pets could be considered family members. Now, I spent the recent holiday weekend celebrating the first anniversary of my cat’s adoption. Three days of more love than she wanted to receive and as many treats as she wanted to eat. By the way, most cats don’t have last names, but our Sesame does, and it’s Cat, just like me!


Sesame has been there for various aspects of my life:



Courtesy of Linh Anh Cat


Coping with a new job

I started a new job, then the pandemic hit. Even for those that are still in their same jobs from before the pandemic know that adapting to working from home has been a challenge. I’ve found it challenging working with others who I didn’t get a chance to develop a working relationship with before the pandemic began. It took longer to figure out people’s styles, personalities, and how they prefer to interact.


I work at a national park unit and have been going in almost half the time now. The other half of the time, I get to spend next to Sesame. She’s a reminder that the simple things in life are what’s important, especially if I have a tough day of work.



Courtesy of Linh Anh Cat


Family issues

Some readers might know that I lost my dad a couple of years ago. My mom and I have a difficult relationship that we are working on improving and Sesame has brought us closer together.


My mom has fully embraced Sesame as her grandkitty, and we often spend time talking about her. She lectures Sesame and then will lecture me about how I spoil her too much. But when my mom spends time with Sesame in person, she spoils her even more than I do.




Bonding with my partner

Another scientist and friend recently asked me if Stephen and I talk about science a lot together. We both said “no” at the same time, and afterwards I asked Stephen what he thought we talked about the most. “Sesame.”


We’ve decided to be child-free for many reasons: the uncertainty of the world under climate change, being able to retire early, and having more free time. Sesame fills that role in the relationship. I love seeing Stephen care for Sesame. And I try to explain my obsession with her as a combination of baby fever and being recently infected by Toxoplasma gondii (for those who don’t know, there are theories that a T. gondii infection encourages cat ownership).


For those of you thinking about adopting a furry friend, look to your local animal shelter or groups that focus on getting certain breeds or species adopted. There are millions of animals out there looking for their forever home.



Linh Anh Cat



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