You have a cat? What's her name, how old is she, where did you get her from, what's her backstory? Are you supposed to have a cat in your room? Is it messy with a cat? How does she live in a small college dorm room? How do you get an ESA? What's wrong with you? Can I get one too?

Whenever people find out I have an Emotional Support Animal (ESA) all I get is questions. Yes, I have a cat. Her name is Kalani, and she is 1. I went to the shelter asking for a specific cat only to find out he was adopted the day before. I asked them what cat would be a good ESA that could live in a dorm, and they directed me to Kalani. I only had to meet her once to know that she was the one. Kalani loves everyone and is always full of energy. She always knows when something is wrong and is always by your side. Since she's so young, she's super curious and her curiosity/stupidity makes me cry laughing almost everyday. We don't know her backstory and since it seems there's nothing/no one she's afraid of, I'm okay with not knowing.

Yes, I'm supposed to have a cat in my room. I have done the paperwork and it has been approved. You're allowed to have your prescription medicine in your room, it's the same thing. She is for my health. The messy question always trips me up. Food, litter, etc. there is no mess, but if you're talking about toys, yes there's always toys on the floor. She's little, she likes to play, and I have classes so I can't play with her every second of the day. She's perfectly fine in a dorm.

The questions that always hurt the most is people asking "What is wrong with you?" or "I want a cat, how do I get one?". I have mental illnesses, I need her. If I didn't have to have her here I probably wouldn't. Yes, a cat at college is nice, but YOU are responsible for her care. You can't just leave for the weekend without packing her up and taking her too. You have to be aware of where she is everytime you open that door. You have to put up with the endless questions. You have to put up with her standing on what you are working on (laptop, homework, food, etc.) and pushing things off the table. You have to put up with every annoying thing an animal does and give it all the attention in the world, even when you want to be left alone. Don't get me wrong, an animal at college is nice, it's one less thing you have to miss from home, but it's not as fun as it seems.

I need her more than anything. She's better than any medicine I've tried, any friend I've called during a breakdown, and any therapist I've been to. I have depression, anxiety, PTSD, and social anxiety disorder. The collection of those things make life really hard, especially in a new place like college. An ESA makes it bearable, or at least it's bearable having something there to help with every breakdown. The nights when I'm sobbing for no reason, having panic attacks because of my past, overthinking about everything I wish I could change in my life, lonely, or having a bad day; she's there no matter what.

I'm so glad I have her in my life, but sometimes I wonder what it would be to be a normal person. To be able to out and have fun, not have to worry about an animal in my room,not be so scared someone will find out about Kalani and having to try to explain that I'm screwed up so much I have an ESA, and not be scared every roommate will leave me because they can't put up with either my moods or Kalani misbehaving.