“He was kind of like a little celebrity around campus.” By Caitlin Jill AndersPublished on 5/7/2021 at 2:56 PM Salem was rescued when he was only 7 weeks old, and had two broken legs. After getting taken care of at the vet, he quickly healed and grew, and ended up blossoming into the sassiest, most confident cat his family has ever met.
“If you don’t wake up at 8 a.m. on the dot to feed him, he’ll sit on top of you and swat your face or pull your hair until you wake up,” Hailee Weader, Salem’s mom, told The Dodo. “He’ll walk around the house meowing or ‘talking’ to us all and follow us everywhere, even into the shower. If we ignore him or he doesn’t like something, he’ll find the nearest plant and knock it off the windowsill or table and make a huge mess.”
Despite his strong opinions on things, Salem is also very in tune with people’s feelings, especially his mom’s. As Salem grew, it quickly became clear to Weader that even though she had rescued him, he was going to end up rescuing her in a different way.“If it’s been a bad day or I’m having a panic attack, he’ll come sit on me or nuzzle beside me and start kneading my legs and purring,” Weader said.
“He’s definitely been a comfort through everything this past year. As Weader began to prepare for her senior year of college, she quickly realized that there was no way she could do it without Salem — so he officially became her college emotional support cat.
“He was kind of like a little celebrity around campus, and every time we’d be walking or I’d be pushing him in his cat stroller, people would stop us and talk or pet him for a while,” Weader said.
When graduation finally arrived, Weader knew that, just like with most things, she couldn’t do it without Salem. He’d been such a huge part of her college experience and deserved to graduate too, so she decided to get him his very own cap and gown so that he could proudly graduate alongside her with a degree in emotional support.
The graduation was set up as a drive-by ceremony due to the pandemic, and Salem proudly rode with his mom, happy to be a part of her special day. Afterwards, people couldn’t get enough of Salem and his graduation outfit — understandably so.
“Everyone was gushing and adored his outfit all around,” Weader said. “It all worked out, and we were able to enjoy our ceremony and celebrate.”
When Weader first met Salem, she had no idea that he would eventually be able to help her through so much in life. After everything his mom did to help him, though, Salem is more than happy to return the favor.