5 reasons to have a pet in the Peace Corps

By Matt Young
April 9, 2015

After adopting Hobbes the cat near the start of his Peace Corps service, Matt Young shares 5 reasons every Volunteer needs a pet.

1. Proof that you’re not crazy

When someone catches you talking to yourself, you can just pretend that you were talking to your cat.

5 reasons to have a pet in the Peace Corps
5 reasons to have a pet in the Peace Corps

2. Theft deterrent

Nobody else in your community keeps an animal inside their house, so if the foreigner is doing it, it must be a dangerous guard animal. A dangerous guard animal that weighs six pounds and spends half the day eating its own hair.

3. Instant conversation starter

You can talk with curious kids for hours about your cat’s name, what it eats, what it’s doing RIGHT NOW, where it sleeps, what it’s doing RIGHT NOW five minutes later and whether or not Americans eat cats.

4. Learn a whole new vocabulary

I not only know how to say “cat” in Bemba, I also know how to say “the cat is eating,” “the cat is sleeping,” “the cat is making too much noise,” “the cat has two little baby cats” and “the cat will eat your toes if you keep pulling its tail.” Dr. Seuss ain’t got nothing on me.

5. When it breeds, you get cute offspring

Hobbes had kittens a couple of weeks ago. They’re not yet big enough to play with me, but I’m patient.

Matt Young

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