Wow! This global pandemic and isolation has been a fascinating social experiment.
The only thing I can think to compare it to is a roller-coaster. Not the regular up-and-down ones; more like the old wobbly wooden ones that seem they may not be able to get all the way to the top of the climb, but then shimmies and tosses you side to side before plunging toward the ground while your glasses fly off. That kind of roller-coaster!
With not much else to do, I have been observing my moods, responses, actions (or inactions) and those of my quarantine buddy, Amos the cat.
Some days, I feel quite accomplished. I do my writing, tackle some housework, cook something and maybe do the grocery store outing, which is the highlight of the week.
On other days, I can barely lift my leg high enough to walk over the pile of laundry in the middle of the floor.
On those days every meal is cereal — breakfast, lunch and dinner — because I can’t be bothered to turn on the oven.
Speaking of which, all we seem to do is eat or graze.
Have you noticed your pets acting out?
I have thought on dozens of occasions: “Why is he doing that? He never did it before!”
I swear Amos is stress eating. Every single time I go near the kitchen, he is howling in hunger. It’s a shriek of agony, as if I haven’t fed him in a month. He legitimately seems hungry. I know it is wrong to overfeed, so I try to ration out the kibble.
But, then my mother guilt kicks in. If I think I should eat every time I pass the refrigerator, why shouldn’t he?
I know researchers say pets pick up on our stress; I have been trying to keep mine in check. Still, no doubt they notice the pacing, the change of routine, the over-sleeping, the tears, and the heavy sighs.
Even the rhythm of the house is different and our furry friends know it.
Dogs are enjoying a lot more walks than they are accustomed to. Cats and dogs getting lots more play time.
With so many of us spending hours in front of our computers, they want to be included.
Some pets are becoming more vocal.
Every Zoom meeting has been a great chance to make a cameo appearance for our pets. Out of nowhere, a cat has jumped from floor onto my shoulder and into the frame. How does one apologize for a butt shot?
I was on a livestream with my iPad balanced precariously on some books. I was waiting to go live when I saw a paw reaching around to take a swipe at me. Then a pair of ears above the computer for some hide-and-seek while I try not to get disconnected, not to react and not to swipe back.
I swear he was acting out, just as a child would, when not getting enough attention.
Researchers say animals will have a very hard time if and when we return to work and our regular weekly activities. They got used to having us home all the time and then we’ll be gone for hours at a time.
Expect some separation anxiety. For yourself and them.
They may almost have to be retrained to not chew things again.
Will they react to crowds differently when we go back out?
All the Google searches suggest that, just like humans, animals need routine and structure.
Veterinarians say to do the same activities at the same times, such as playing, grooming, walking, exercising.
I guess we all just do the best we can.
Cut them some slack if they are acting out or misbehaving. (…as I slap on more Polysporin for the scratches.)
So are we all!
What I know for sure is that my pet is making this isolation bearable and even entertaining.
I refuse to social distance.
It’s the only physical affection I am getting and I am making the most of it.
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