Two Adopted Kittens Help Battle Depression with Purrs, Pounces and Love

Luca and Rocco were just what the doctor ordered.

Syndee + Luca & Rocco

Sydnee was battling depression and chronic pain when she rescued two feisty, loveable kittens. With their love and companionship, Luca and Rocco turned out to be just what the doctor ordered.

"When I lie in bed now, struggling with a headache, a particularly bad depressive phase, or a bone-deep fatigue that makes me want to shut out the world, dainty paws pad over my legs, my chest."

It’d been almost a year since my 15-year-old Pug mix had died when I began scrolling through the list of cats on Ferndale Cat Shelter’s website. I was living alone in an apartment for the first time, struggling with depression and chronic pain. I’d started to imagine becoming a pet owner again, but I told myself I was only “window shopping.” My disabilities had long ago convinced me I didn’t deserve love from anyone or anything. But what was the internet for, if not for cooing at cute kittens from afar?

Two kittens help battle depression

I fell in love with Luca and the rest of his litter the minute I saw their doe eyes and gorgeous stripes. I applied to adopt him the same day, and I received a call from the shelter the next. The volunteer asked if I’d be interested in adopting a pair, because the kittens were still so young, and they tended to get lonely and depressed without a friend. I knew that painful feeling well, and so adopting Luca became adopting Luca and his brother, Rocco. There hasn’t been a dull or lonely moment for any of us since.

Two kittens help battle depression

Luca is a sweet and charming little gentleman. He’s curious and laid back—that is, until he sees his favorite laser pointer. Rocco is a firecracker. His foster mom chose the name because both his purrs and meows will “rock” the walls. He trails me like a shadow and curls onto my chest whenever I lie down, unapologetically whacking my phone, remote, or book out of the way so he can receive neck scratches instead. The cats have what can only be described as WWE wrestling matches in my living room at 3 a.m. nearly every morning. (Sorry, downstairs neighbor.) But I also laugh to the point of tears at their antics, and pride fills me as I watch them grow into healthy and happy adults, knowing they were born on the streets and once infested with parasites.

Two kittens help battle depression

And when I lie in bed now, struggling with a headache, a particularly bad depressive phase, or a bone-deep fatigue that makes me want to shut out the world, close my eyes, and wish for it all to end, dainty paws pad over my legs, my chest. A moist nose shoves its way under the covers and green eyes stare at me in the darkness. Maybe there’s a tiny, inquisitive meow or a loud yowl declaring, “Pet me.” Either way, it’s enough to get me to crack a smile, or at least grumble with tepid annoyance before I force myself up. My brain tells me the world will end any minute, but it can’t, not right now—I have kitties to care for. And once that’s done, I’ll settle back down and they’ll climb up and curl into balls against me, purring all the while.

Do they know? Do they sense those dark thoughts and serenade me to quiet them? Who am I kidding: of course they do.

Each year, the Petco Foundation invites adopters to share the story of how their adopted pet changed their lives during the annual Holiday Wishes campaign, giving the organization that they adopted from a chance to receive a grant award. This story by Sydnee won Ferndale Cat Shelter in Michigan a 2018 Holiday Wishes award.

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