Kermit, a 6-year-old tabby cat, lives with his human Javie in Los Angeles, California. Adopting a cat was the best decision Javie ever made, as its been very therapeutic for him.
When he was just 7 years old, Javie was sexually abused by a trusted family friend. He finally shared his story 15 years later, but the experience left him with severe trauma.
His abuser said that he would hurt his family if Javie ever told anyone what happened. He also threatened to do the same thing to his little brother if he shared the secret. Confused and afraid, Javie decided to not say anything and just try to forget about it. However, the memories never completely faded, and Javie started to have terrifying flashbacks.
He could no longer carry the burden of what happened to him, and finally opened up to his mom. She was nothing but supportive and concerned for her son, and suggested therapy as the best option. He felt a huge weight lifted off his shoulders, as he understood his abuser was 100% to blame. Later, the idea of adopting a cat came up in conversation, as his mom thought it would help comfort him.
The Value of Therapy Pets
“Back in 2015, while going through therapy, my mom came up to me [and said] that we should look into adopting a cat,” Javie said. “We decided to go one day, and I remember opening up the cat door – the first cage that I saw was Kermit.”
Once he locked eyes with the adorable feline, Javie instantly knew he should adopt Kermit. He walked to his cage and read the name tag that said: “Hello, my name is Kermit.” He looked over and said hi to him, and Kermit blinked very slowly. Somehow, Javie knew that was a sign he should adopt the cat, and the rest is history.
Adopting a cat has helped Javie overcome his past
While adopting a cat can’t erase the abuse, it has helped Javie’s mental health immensely. In today’s world, millions of people have support or therapy animals to help with mental illnesses. They can provide a lot of comfort and companionship when you need it most.
In the U.S. alone, there are 50,000 registered therapy cats and 500,000 therapy dogs. Dogs seem to be the most popular pet, but cats can give unconditional love and affection as well. Kermit quickly warmed up to Javie; he just seemed to sense how much Javie needed him. They bonded right away, and became virtually inseparable.
“The day I brought Kermit home, I remember leaving the cat box in the middle of my room. I had left it open, I wanted Kermit to be comfortable and come out when he was ready,” Javie said. “I remember jumping onto my bed and flipping through the TV. It might’ve been 5-10 minutes, [then] Kermit slowly crept out of the box and jumped straight onto my bed. He started putting his head against mine and just rubbing against my head, and I’ll never forget that moment.”
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Javie and Kermit have a bond that is unmatched by any other member of the family. Kermit doesn’t even meow to anyone except Javie! Of course, cats always seem to have a favorite human, so this isn’t too surprising. However, Javie’s reason for adopting a cat makes the story even more meaningful. While the two share a tight bond, Javie still enjoys watching Kermit interact with the rest of the family.
“I find it so funny that Kermit only meows back to me. He could never meow back to mom or brother. But, I do remember when my little brother who was 7 came over to watch Star Wars. While we were watching the movie, Kermit jumped on top of the bed and just nuzzled my little brother on the nose. I was a little bit jealous, but still so happy that Kermit was opening up to my little brother.”
Kermit has been instrumental in helping Javie heal
In a video for The Dodo, Javie opens up to his audience about his past. He says that before Kermit came along, life was pretty difficult. His therapy sessions were helpful, but he was still having a hard time processing and overcoming the abuse.
When he decided on adopting a cat, it seemed like Kermit came to him at just the right time. Sometimes, it seems that pets can understand us better than anyone else. When Kermit meows at Javie after he asks him something, it feels like Kermit’s actually having a conversation with him.
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“He is somebody that I can always talk to and I’m not going to get any judgement from,” Javie says. “My favorite part is just talking to him, because I know he’ll have something to say. He’s changed so much of my life. I’m so grateful for him, so grateful.”
You can easily see how close the two are on their Instagram page. They talk with each other, cuddle, sleep together, and everything in between. Kermit has helped Javie overcome his trauma. But Javie also gave his feline companion a priceless gift. Animals need love just like humans do, and Kermit has no shortage of it with Javie around.
“I definitely recommend adopting a pet. I don’t want to give any spoilers, but it was a rewarding experience for sure,” Javie says.
Final thoughts on how adopting a cat was a life-changing event for Javie
Javie held a painful secret deep inside for 15 years. During that time, he had no idea where to turn, but knew he had to tell someone what happened. After he confided in his mom, his life and mental health improved so much. He started therapy, and decided on adopting a cat so he’d have extra support and comfort.
He had no idea how much Kermit would change his life. Javie couldn’t imagine his life without him now, and shares their unconditional love all over social media. Animals may not speak our language, but they seem to understand us in ways others can’t.