Cat Helps Young Man Emerge from Depression

Luna’s love helped Jason shift from anxiety and depression to a place of wholeness and connection.

Sheri + Luna

Sheri and her sons had faced challenges, including the loss of their two cats. When Sheri’s son, Jason, began to succumb to depression and anxiety, the love of a cat named Luna brought him back to himself.

"Having Luna in our family brought Jason back to life. Sometimes I find him hugging Luna with his eyes closed, just feeling the love he has for her."

Before we adopted Luna, it had been a rough few years for me and my sons. Our family went through a difficult divorce that strained our relationships. My son Jason, who has autism and struggles with depression and anxiety, took it especially hard. At times, his only comfort seemed to be his two cats, Snowy and Angel, whom he considered to be his protectors and best friends.

Then, in November 2018, we were faced with more sadness. At 17 years old, our precious Snowy fell asleep in my lap and never woke. Just six short weeks later, we said goodbye Angel too. These losses were almost more than Jason could take. He spiraled into an even deeper depression. He was unable to work and rarely left the house. I was deeply concerned about his well-being.

We needed to bring some love back into our lives. So right after the holidays, I decided we were going to Cat Adoption Team (CAT). When I told Jason, he lit up for the first time in months.

At CAT, we met several cats and kittens. But when we found Luna, the search was over. She was nervous and huddled against her brother in the kennel. We asked to meet with her, and a volunteer introduced us. Jason held the shy kitten in his lap, talking to her gently and petting her slowly. When she jumped back into the kennel, the volunteer told us that was the longest she had let anyone hold her.

We knew it was meant to be. And within days of coming home with us, this shy, scared, precious little kitty came out of her shell. Now she’s a sweet, outgoing, confident cat we call our “Tasmanian devil!”

Luna and Jason are inseparable. She quickly claimed him as her human. She follows him everywhere, sleeps with him, tries to climb up on him, stays near him while he plays on his computer, and demands that he stop and pet her whenever she is so inclined. She sleeps on his bed, sometimes curled up next to him under the covers.

Having Luna in our family brought Jason back to life. Sometimes I find him hugging Luna with his eyes closed, just feeling the love he has for her. She isn’t always super receptive to hugs—she doesn’t do that with me!—but she seems to put up with them for his sake. Having Luna around brings our whole family together more. Jason comes out of his bedroom more frequently so we can play with Luna together.

Luna filled a huge hole of sadness with love and fun, at a time when our family desperately needed joy. I truly believe that the love of cats has saved my son’s life. It may sound “over the top” or even unbelievable, but as his mother, I lived it, saw it, and honestly believe it. I am forever grateful for the way Luna changed our lives.

Each year, Petco Love Stories invites adopters to share how their pets have changed their lives to give the organizations that they’ve adopted from the chance to receive grant awards. This story by Sheri won Cat Adoption Team in Sherwood, Oregon a 2021 Love Stories award.