Xinyu (Katherine) Gong

I have a cat and I named her Cement. Like any proud pet owner, she is my greatest joy as well as my greatest accomplishment. Only two weeks old when we first met, she fit in the palm of my hand and I named her after the color of her matte grey-colored fur. When this fluffy little creature raised her head, her eyes met mine andI knew I wanted to take care of her.

My first step in adopting Cement was to convince my parents that I was ready for this challenge. My first attempt failed as I cried and begged, promising I could take care of her. Despite their concern, my parents agreed that if I earned a score of 90 on my TOEFL exam, I would get to keep this cat. I accepted this deal and refocused my mission. Every day after school, I went straight to my TOEFL classes, practicing questions and memorizing vocabulary. My effort paid off and I earned exactly ninety on that exam. That day, my aunt drove me to a shelter to adopt her and Cement became a member of my family.

My lesson in responsibility was not over; in fact, it had just begun. On her first day home, Cement had an unexpected accident directly on my bean bag. I realized quickly that I would have to clean up after her, train her to use the litter box, and take care of her every need. I fed her every meal, wiped her face, and washed her bowl which became part of my daily routine. Because I committed to caring for this cat entirely on my own, the costs for a veterinarian visit, food, litter, toys, etc, all came from my wallet. I wanted to give her the best I could, meaning it was not cheap! I even had to borrow $500 from my aunt to get Cement sterilized. I dedicated my free time to do extra housework to pay her back. I learned to manage my money and support my furry friend.
Many people asked me, “was it worth it?” I will always answer “yes,” because I chose to accept that responsibility. During the process of teaching Cement to be a good cat, feeding her food, or playing with her, I learned the importance of being responsible for everything you ask for. I learned that a promise is not only valuable to others but taught me something as well, and I became more independent during this process. The bond between Cement and I grew stronger. She seemed to recognize the hard work to care for her and she grew even closer to me. Every day when she climbs up to my bed and lays next to me and I watch her quietly fall asleep, that is the moment when all my stress and tiredness fly away.