This is Zosia.
When I was a kid, I wasn't allowed to have pets until I was in 2nd grade. My dad is allergic to cats and didn't want a dog, so as a child and teenager we only ever had hamsters, mice, and gerbils.
When I was a sophomore in college, I adopted my first cat, Sheba. And through owning her and the subsequent cats I added to my little clowder, I realized just how much I love and value animals.
Cats have a weird reputation. They're associated with the feminine, with unpredictability and capriciousness. They aren't "man's best friend." Yet I can honestly say that my cats have been the single best decision I've ever made for my mental health. I've seen people doubt whether cats are capable of loving people, but in my mind there's no doubt at all.
Now I have 4 cats. No doubt that puts me firmly into "crazy cat lady" territory. But I don't care. I love them and they improve my life. Having the ability to make sure that their lives are full of love and contentment is something I'm deeply grateful for.