A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
First of all allow me to say again, as the previous post did: yay, Spring of this year, you’re finally here!
Recently there have been some changes in my life. One is that I moved to a different neighborhood, another is that I have a cat in the house now.
A cat in the house! This is really a big decision for me because it’s the first time I have a real pet, a living creature that need to be taken good care of. And since I don’t really have a good record of raising anything in my room (tried twice to raise cactus but both ended up dead after a month), I was really worried at the beginning whether I could do it well this time.
Under the encouragement of my roommate, we got our little beauty Molly from a Dierenasiel (Dutch for Animal shelter). She’s still quite young, found outside and taken into the shelter. We were warned that cats at her age are usually very active and playful. If we don’t spend enough time playing with her, she might do some “damages” to things like curtains and couches. And we are responsible to teach her what is right and what she shouldn’t do. Man, it’s like raising a child!
Luckily, this little beauty turns out to be a very sweet cat. For the first few days I spent a lot of time watching her and see how things go. She seems to be very outgoing and curious about everything—every corner of the house, all the bags, our shoes, our food and drinks. We try to keep her out of the kitchen so that she won’t eat our food and make herself sick. Most of the time she just sits in front of the window or sleeps on the couch. If there’s someone sitting on the couch, she will definitely go sleep on that person.
When she gets enough sleep and food, she’ll expect you to play with her. We found out that it is actually quite “cheap” to keep her entertained. Instead of the toys we bought from the shop, the bunched-up piece of receipt obviously got more of her attention. With such a paper ball our cat can play “fetch” for more than an hour.
The funny thing is, back in China I would never imagined me having a cat as a pet. I use to want a dog, maybe because in China so many people have dogs as pets. But I noticed that the Dutch “pet culture” is also quite different. I feel that I see more big dogs than small ones, while in China I saw most people having small dogs. And I see more people keeping cats here than dogs, while I was used to seeing cats wandering homelessly on the streets or in the neighborhood, being fed by random people. At least many of my friends hold the idea that it is not worthy to raise a cat since they do not understand human as dogs do so they will never be loyal to you. I use to think like that as well. However after staying here for a while I changed my opinion. Now I think that’s completely stereotype, and that’s not how you measure worthy or not.
It’s been a week since we welcomed our new “housemate” Molly. She definitely brings us a lot of fun, though she does also take me quite some time. The only thing we’re still doubting is her name. “Molly” is the name she got in the shelter but we’re looking for something more unique maybe. What do you think?
There are still a lot of cats and dogs in those animal shelters that need someone to take care of them. If you like animals, if you want a house pet, and if the house you rent allows you to have one, then why not get some extra engagement beside study?