Purring through school

A lot of students get animals to keep them company, but does one kind of animal inspire more joy than another?

“My friends with cats are happier than my friends without cats,” said Emily Robinson, proud owner of Fish, a three-year-old female cat.

Cats can be a source of stress relief for students as they provide companionship and cuddles, she explained, “especially around exam time.”

Cats typically require less care and time than dogs. And as Robinson pointed out, students have a lot on the go between part-time jobs and academics.

“It’s a little more difficult when I plan to go away,” she said of the only inconvenience she’s encountered with Fish. But, her upstairs neighbours have become regular cat-sitters.

She wasn’t the only student who preferred adopting a cat rather than a dog, either.
Robinson, an Algonquin College student, works at Global Pet Foods on Bank Street where she is immersed in cat culture.

“I see a lot of students with cats,” she said. She’s noticed them as they are the ones that look up information on cats online and are on a budget.

“They’ll say, ‘I read online something about the food I was giving my cat and realized it wasn’t very good for my cat,’” said Robinson.

They’ll then mention that they are students on a budget but would like some better food for their furry friend.

Another student who adores cats is Leigh Weber. Her cats Leo and Luna have moved from city to city with Weber and her fiancé. Now in Ottawa, the pure breed Bengal, Leo, and Serengeti, Luna, perform tricks for the camera.

Weber and her fiancé Nohé have taught them eight tricks so far.

“We read that it was possible to train Bengal cats,” she said. “The temperament is closer to one of a dog. They want to please you.”
Weber started training them immediately after she got them in Quebec City.

“We teach them progressively,” said Weber, 28. “We introduce a new trick every few weeks. We motivate them with treats.”

Weber, an honours bachelor of translation student at the University of Ottawa, films her cats’ performances and uploads them on her YouTube channel to share with family and friends that live outside of Ottawa.

She originally got the cats after moving to Quebec City almost three years ago.

“I wanted to make the transition easier and less lonely,” she said on the phone with Leo meowing in the background.

She also finds the only inconvenience is when they have to leave town for a few days. They found a cat-sitter on Kijiji to take care of the two performers.

Leo and Luna aren’t the only cats on YouTube. By doing a quick search, one may find a large number of cat videos, most of which were filmed by students.

Cats are gaining popularity on social media with Grumpy Cat’s presence on Twitter as an example among others. Students are on board with this, sharing pictures and statuses about their pets.

Weber’s Leo and Luna are no exception and will most likely gain popularity with their tricks videos.
Watch one of their videos here: