We are now experiencing life in a holding pattern, Caught between recent memories of the relatively easy, breezy, huggy, socially interactive life before this pandemic and the now scary and uncertain future. We hover here, sequestered…waiting for an “all clear” so we can all come out to play again. When contact with humans outside the home is forbidden, or at least sensibly discouraged, we naturally turn to those still at home, which includes family members. Counted in, of course, as family are our fur babies, and those who have one or more feline padding around the home will no doubt benefit from a cat’s companionship, particularly those with no one else at home.
For many who live solo, the only other “being” in arms reach is a pet. This is a special blessing for who are older or wish an unencumbered lifestyle. For them, having no other human around is fine For busy singles or seniors living alone, a cat a sensible choice as a lifetime companion. Cats don’t talk back or create drama, at least not with words. Their natural inclination to hunt keeps them alert at night, as they would prefer to be on the prowl. Because their owners have trained the to understand that most humans need to sleep when it’s dark, house cats are content to just get into a bit of nocturnal mischief like batting toys around and leaping off dressers and onto their parent’s heads at night for amusement. You never quite know what a cat is thinking, and that keeps everyone on their toes.
This new normal is quite an adjustment for we humans. Many of us are quarantined and walk around our place in our pajamas with no makeup and bed head. There is a sense of the doldrums punctuated by panic with each new news report. The irony is that in a crisis where we need the comfort of others, it’s the one thing totally forbidden to many of us.
This situation is difficult for the cats as well. Cat owners are telecommuting more than ever, and in many cases the house the home is filled with the” mirth” of children off from school.
Although cats are no doubt glad for the extra attention and possible treats, this is a disruption in their routine! According to the cat’s logic, you are supposed to leave at a certain time, right? And what about those annoying people who come visit? Yeah, guests were a pain but pets are used to seeing the same old mugs coming in and giving a fur rub before settling down with a cup of coffee or glass of wine. It’s kitty confusion. Put yourself in their paws! Why are you home staring at the TV ? And lastly, why do you get so mad when I do my toilet paper shredding routine that once made you laugh?
During this pandemic; however, many cat owners are not letting their fur babies out of sight, even out in the back yard, so the frustrated felines are confined to using a scratching post, shuffling cat toys around and using a litter box. For exercise, some are walking their cats close to home on leashes, or letting them out in the wee hours of the morning.
A neighbor of mine, Marilyn, recently ventured out to the store with me to find her kittys’ “special” cat food. Sure, she had a stockpile of the not so favorite brand, but hey, she didn’t want to disappoint them! This same lovely lady takes her two cats, Boots and Sheba on leash walks around the apartment complex at 3am to keep them happy. She previously had only two cats but recently took in a stray caught out in the rain so now she has Olive, otherwise known as “Ollie” to care for besides the others. It was quite entertaining to hear her stories of Ollie commandeering the bathroom, hiding from her attempts to integrate her into the cat family. Patience and love won out and the third adopted cat sibling has settled down quite a bit. Marilyn says that Ollie is in training for leash walks and will be on the rotation soon. She is our resident feline expert and knows which pest control treatment to use and how to correctly wield a flea comb.
Another dear friend, Linda, who had a cat pass away a few years ago from old age, vowed to never get another as she could not bear the pain of losing another beloved pet. When someone in the area cruelly chucked a cat out the door without a care, Linda, despite her prior resolve, melted when she saw the Siamese cat’s blue eyes imploring her to help. So now, Linda is using her time, besides checking on disabled neighbors who need assistance, to fuss over her new baby, Queenie, who lives a very pampered life. Linda has been coping with caring for Queenie’s attempts to run out the door and treating the cat’s sores. She cares for the cat like she does everyone, with all her heart. Actually, I do believe that cat owners have more patience than any other pet parent.
As a small dog owner, I can easily relate to the love a pet gives and the responsibility having one brings. My neighborhood friends check in with each other daily, mostly by phone or text, and of course, ask what our pets are up to, how they are feeling, etc. I’m walking my little dog, Zoe, several times a day, just to make up for the lack of stimulation and “doggy rides in the car” she so looked forward to besides being in the apartment with me. We are doing our doggy yoga, which consists of her standing on my back during my cobra stretches and other amusing poses that we make up as we go along. I’m afraid we are watching too much TV but she seems content to binge watch at my side, and as long as we keep up our walking and exercise routine, we won’t gain much weight…I hope!
We can all take a cue from our pet felines and catch up on our sleep and indulge in luxurious naps. According to a Pet MD article, cats sleep from twelve to sixteen hours per day. Sounds like a plan! Maybe we need to just keep ourselves entertained, stretch when we can, and take lots of siestas until this danger passes.