Missing your pet when you’re away at college

photo of a cat on a bed
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Have you walked past a furry friend on campus on your way to class and been hit with an immense swarm of sadness? If so, you’re not alone. Despite such an uncommon conversation topic, the feelings that come from longing for a pet back home are valid. There are easy fixes for missing, say, your parents or siblings during any moment of the day. Pick up your phone and give them a call. It seems simple enough. However, when it comes to your cats, dogs, fish or turtles the odds of getting in touch with them are fairly minimal. There is a larger disconnect between the two as a result of the barrier that comes with distance. 

I, too, am struggling with connecting with my pet while being three hours away. Although it can seem silly, it’s important not to sell yourself short. Wouldn’t it be weird if you didn’t miss your pet? Below are some of the ways I cope with being away from my furry friend.

Surround yourself with reminders

From cat sticky notes to an AirPods case that is an exact replica of my cat back home, I have plenty of reminders of my pet. It might seem ridiculous, but believe me when I say that filling your life with images and reminders of your pet makes all the difference. Having reminders gives me peace and joy knowing that I’ll see her soon. In addition, let it serve as motivation to get through the rough weeks ahead. Busy schedules and the chaos of university life can make it easy to neglect the past memories. But do not fear — through visible reminders, you can preserve all the moments the two of you shared together.

Connecting through a screen

FaceTime and video chats have made it easier to connect with loved ones — pets included. Whether you’re on the bus or simply need a quick fix to a bad day, asking your pet’s caretaker for a brief video chat has the potential to do so much. For one, it soothes your anxieties regarding their health and well-being. Second, it allows you to de-stress in awe of their cuteness. Personally, this has been the most effective method for relieving my concerns. Pro tip: Make sure you’re comfortable with those around you listening to your pet-talk. My friends like to poke fun at how I talk to my cat through the phone.

Updates

If you’re not one for video chats, no need to fret. There are plenty of other ways to stay connected with your best friend. One of them yet again involves your pet’s caretaker. Asking them for updates via text messages or phone calls is crucial for staying in the loop. Just because you’re at college doesn’t mean these joyful moments have to stop. Did your dog chase the neighbor’s cat again? Did your cat slip into the bathtub? These experiences that were once cultivated in your everyday life can continue. All that’s needed is a little readjusting.

Bonding via other pets

I admit that I’m the kind of person that asks others, both friends and strangers, for pictures of their pets as a result of missing my own. Usually it’s to share the priceless photos I have of my cat, while other times it’s to bond with animal lovers like myself. As I’ve said before, missing a pet is a rational emotion that we all go through. Normalizing the seemingly absurd nature of it all is how we can get through it together. Through the power of gawking over adorable pet photos, we may all feel a little bit at ease with ourselves and our emotions. 

Missing animals is a quite different experience as opposed to missing your mom or dad. There’s a bit of guilt that comes with the price of leaving your furry friend behind for the sake of your education. Nonetheless, I hope you know that your best pal is waiting for you.

Contact Anyssa Torres at [email protected].