Pandemic With Cats

I have theorized that people who are weathering this pandemic with dogs are going to manage better, generally, than those of us without pups. Having to walk the dog contributes to overall health and to stress management, and caring for the dog preserves an owner from becoming entirely self-obsessed. Then there is that intangible wonderfulness of the canine personality. Never met a physically well dog who wasn’t also a cheerful pup.

But ya know, cats aren’t all bad. The nicest thing about cats is that they purr. There I will be, typing away, focused on a scene between Sycamore Dorning and his lady fair. I carefully craft dialogue that resonates with each character’s true essence, and I add in sensory details that draw the reader into the story world and I… hear a cat resonating with itself on the credenza beside me. I look over, and I get that scrunchy-eyed expression of regal condescension. “Permission to carry on, human.”

Thank you, Your Majesty.

Cats are also very pleasant to pet. I have some long-haired kitties among my feline associates, and also–at present–some kittens. Petting them is my privilege and also my pleasure. When I go outside to feed, cats strop themselves against my calves, and when I sit down to write, usually a cat or two has taken up picket duty elsewhere in the kitchen.

Cats are pretty. Some of my cats, the torties and cream torties in particular, are gorgeous, and I think whatever is beautiful to you helps your mind stay focused, relaxed, and happy. I am also friends with some all black cats, and their eyes are especially lovely.

And cats are entertaining. I’m  impressed by the mama cats who play-wrestle with their kittens, and the unrelated adult cats who turn a tolerant eye on kittens leaping upon a waving tail, or kittens copping a random cuddle with any adult heat source. Some of these guys clearly skipped a few pages of the Alpha Predator World Domination Manual.

I like observing cat behavior. Who is da boss, who is laid back? Who will slap his mama to get to wet food, and who never eats until everybody else is gone and darkness has fallen? They have their personalities and their stories, most of which I will never know.

And finally, for my cats, there is no pandemic. Life for them has gone on without missing a beat. They eat, they spat, they play, they hangout in the sun, they yowl at the moon, or they watch me write. There is no election drama unfolding in their feline lives, no virus decimating their nursing home population, no jobless report to fret over. S’all good as long as the wet food shows up in the evening, and the dry food is put out in the morning. I learn calm from the lilies of the field and the cats of the porch.

Are there animals in your life these days? What do they add, and what do they cost you? If you had to do this year over, would you change your beast/life balance in any way? I’m ready to send out ARCs for My Heart’s True Delight, and today’s commenters get a shot at being added to that list. (And print readers, the Amazon print version should be up any minute…)

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23 comments on “Pandemic With Cats

  1. 1
    Mary T says:

    When I was growing up, we always had cats and dogs. I love them both. I wish I could have a dog, but I am past the point where I could properly take care of it.

    I do have a kitty though. She is the most affectionate cat I have ever had. When she sits in my lap and rubs her paws across my cheeks, I know she is asking me to pet her, but it feels like she is petting me. She is the perfect companion for this point in my life.

    One of my earliest memories is asking my mother why the Mama cat kept moving her kittens from place to place. My mother smiled at me and said “she’s trying to hide them from you kids.” There were three of us under the age of five at the time (smile).

  2. 2
    Brenda U .K says:

    My friend of many years has been ill on and off for the last three years.With various treatments and operations all seems well. Like me she has had dogs in her life and missed the company.Her last dog died two years ago and now she is ready to take on another rescue dog.All the dog rescue centres that are local have found homes for their dogs.Which is good,they said because of the pandemic and people being home they have no dogs available. Cat rescue say the same.I only hope that when they return to work the pets don’t suffer.So far this has not happened but it’s early days yet.Dog breeders have put their prices up and cashing in on the situation.Puppy mills are on the increase and bad care and suffering going on.This is the downside of it all.Like my friend I would like another dog and maybe a cat too.When we come through this current situation we may have found a cat or dog to keep us company and support each other,through our golden years.That can only be a good thing. Pets keep us busy and active in various ways and when our partnership with them is in perfect time the benefit to all is apparant.My last dog however did test me but I loved him lots and miss the little chap.

  3. 3
    Susan G says:

    I have three corgis- Rose 13+, Gregory 8 and Laci 3 1/2.

    Rose is the last of my home bred corgis and is special. She is a quiet, observant dog- never looks for trouble ( her sisters Beanie and Molly were always in trouble) And always the peacekeeper.

    She is my work from home buddy. After our walk, she goes into the office and sleeps under the desk chair. I find her presence comforting when I am problem solving or in a zoom meeting. We’ve read alot of books together and spent quiet time with Greg on the porch.Rose loves her walk and it gets me out of the house every morning.

    Greg decided to join our morning walks earlier this year, he’s a good boy who loves dog school. I am hoping to get back into training next weekend if the weather cools down.Greg likes his routine and loves to please. He loves to be petted and that’s a stress reliever for me .

    Laci loves to walk and has energy!! She’s helping me make my daily step count. She’s all about the ball – will fetch 24/7. Bought her a Jolly Ball and she has figured out how to grab the handle and bring it back. She can chase a ball all over our yard. She is next in line for obedience training as I think Covid has effectively canceled conformation shows for 2020.

    I wouldn’t change anything about my dog life. Feel that I have benefited from being home— I have had time with each of my dogs- time to enjoy them, time to spoil them and time to love them.

  4. 4
    Make Kay says:

    All of my pets have sadly passed away. Hubby has been lamenting the loss of another living being in the house with him while I’m off at my essential job during the pandemic. Given the uncertainty of our lives right now, though, I’m glad we don’t have the additional complication of a pet, even as I miss having a warm purring furball on my lap in the evenings…

  5. 5
    Teenie Marie says:

    I did have pets growing up, as did my Hubby. We did speak about getting a dog when our kids were a little older and when he finished his training and bought a house. Well, our oldest was diagnosed with autism and it took FOREVER to get him toilet-trained. It just never seemed the right time to get a dog.

    I do enjoy my brother’s dogs and other’s canine family members. We’ve talked about getting a dog during the pandemic–we’re still talking about it!

  6. 6
    bn100 says:

    do not have any pets

  7. 7
    Tina Armato says:

    We have always had cats in our lives, from the first day my husband & I married and his black cat “Max” came to live with us, to today, when “Tippy” (our diabetic girl named for the neurological issues she has that tilt her head charmingly whenever she gazes lovingly at us or her food dish), and “Cali” (our tortoise-shell girl who is replete with “catitude”) round out our pandemic lives. As house cats, our girls don’t get us out of the house, but they do make sequestration within our home bearable. Neither my husband nor I can approach our recliners without one or the other (or both!) cats making a beeline for our laps. I know once winter arrives and I take out my electric blanket, they will be even quicker to take up residence on my legs. I often feel like that cartoon making the rounds with a skeleton sitting on a chair, cat on lap, still not wanting to disturb the cat. I sometimes fear blood clots forming because I don’t want to shift position and force the cat to reposition or (God forbid!) leave! After all, they do need their 23 hour a day naps! Our kitties make our lives complete and I wouldn’t change a thing, except maybe to get a few more!

  8. 8
    Beth says:

    I’m hoping to take advantage of kitten season at our shelter next year if I can afford to & my eye repair is done. Cats are nature’s way of keeping us humble, pest free & reminded that naps, snacks & playtime are vital to one’s well being. I miss my late lamented furball to this day, but sufficient time has passed for a couple of miscreants to join my little queendom. Much depends on whether travel has resumed or not. There’s no one to feed & scoop for furred divinities if I go migratory & the budget isn’t up to funding cat vacations simultaneous to the human.

  9. 9
    Beth L says:

    I am sad to say we are doing the pandemic without friendly beasties as we are allergic to cats and dogs. We had cats for years before the allergies developed, though, so I have to content myself with looking at friends pictures of their cats and watching cat videos online and imagining what they are like. Sort of like watching friends’ videos of going to the beach (or going downy ocean, for the Maryland folks) and remembering the sounds and smells from prior trips and getting the calming feelings. Sort of like reading a good book about other times and places and escaping for a little while. Thank you!

  10. 10
    Pam says:

    Aw, cats. I have 10, 1 visitor who may continue visiting and become permanent, and 2 baby fosters at the moment. We also have 3 dogs that we fostered from the shelter who became members of the family.

    All 13 cats cause less drama than our 3 dogs. I just took the dogs out to play ‘catch the ball falling off the roof’, by the way, so they are not abused. They receive more attention than the cats, who as you noted, are largely happy to see you, get a little petting, and be fed. All of my cats were rescues and the majority were ferals, which is why I have so many.

    However, there is one very large difference between the relationship your cats have with you from the one your dogs have. To your dogs, you are the pack leader. They love to be with you.

    To your cats, you are their mother. If they fully trust you, if you pick them up, they likely go limp (like kittens do with their mother) or cuddle against your chest.

    I tend to give sermons on cats, and I apologize for that.

    • 10.1
      Pam says:

      Wanted to add that most of my animals have human names. Thomas Andrew, Emily Elizabeth, Oscar Meyer, Robin, Zebadiah, etc. The dogs are Lucy, Gia and Layla.

      • 10.1.1
        KarenM6 says:

        Hi Pam –
        I’m happy to read your “sermon”!
        I had ferals for years, too.
        One of mine, Tabby Aloysius, lived to be 19. He was the most confident, awesome cat ever (in my life… I recognize every pet Mom and Dad has their own versions.) 🙂
        I’m so grateful that you are there for your ferals. Thank you for taking care of them. 🙂

  11. 11
    Marianne says:

    We are home to a dog of 1.5 years. After having a Westie with attitude for 16 years, this one is an adjustment. For Peggy, it’s morning, Yay, there’s Mom, Yay, there’s Dad, double Yay, Teresa, I haven’t seen you in a week, let’s do a happy dance that includes aerial leaps, bounds and figure eights. Chester, a former littermate, is still in the area and comes for playdates, yay, yay, yay. (And a source of immense amusement for anyone who can see into our backyard). And it’s grasshopper season. There is nothing as much fun as catching snacks in mid-air. I related to the Westie attitude a little better, but enthusiasm can be contagious, even from a dog.

  12. 12
    Mary O-K says:

    Oh, I’m sure that your questions will open the floodgates of loving descriptions of pets. How can people not gush about these small bundles of love?

    We are a kitty household and have never been with fewer than two kitties at a time. Currently, we have Peanut (who weighs 23 lbs.) and Lasagna, a beautiful calico who is 17-1/2 years old. They give us so much loving and, in return, we give them pretty much anything they want. We also give Lasagna daily Metamucil in her wet food because, at her age, she has developed some (ahem) “bowel difficulties.” She also gets thyroid medication. It’s our pleasure to do this for her; she has given us so much.

    As far as cost… well, the vet and pharmacy bills are impressive, but not begrudged. They are worth every penny and more. As an RN with a horrible back, I was put on disability four years ago. The kitties have been there for me when everyone else was off doing interesting stuff and I sat home grumbling. They never once complained.

    We are blessed by these two bundles of love.

  13. 13
    Molly R. Moody says:

    I’m down to one cat at the present time, Julianna who is blind in her right eye. I’ve decided to leave the second one I brought when I moved as she’s back where she came from and since my tom Sparky got out and ran away before I moved I’m sticking with just one cat. I’ve taken to feeding her a small cup of Meow Mix wet food twice a day though occasionally like today she gets a can of Friskies wet food. She also get Purina Cat Chow Complete and of course she gets fresh water daily. To me she’s priceless and I will care for her until her time to go to the Rainbow Bridge when I’ll put her box of ashes alongside that of Mr.B and after a time I’ll get another cat. If I could find Sparky again I’d be thrilled but I doubt I’ll see him again.

  14. 14
    KarenM6 says:

    I’ve had cats my whole life and dogs when I lived with my parents. Currently, I have my awesomely rambunctious cats Webber, Alex, and Sloan. (I did not change their names when we adopted them from the rescue group.) They are brothers but look so different from each other… Mama cat had many trysts, me thinks! ;p

    They are 100% cat but have many doggie traits like following me around the house and liking peanut butter. I don’t take them for walks. They are all OBSESSED with water! We had to move their water bowls into our bathrooms because the floods of water after they went “swimming” became too much.

    As with many (or more likely all) cat parents, they have nicknames.

    Webber is Trip Hazard, Webster, and The Amazing Boneless Cat. He loves to strop and get _right_ in front of one’s feet and stop quickly and randomly as one is walking. He also likes to be picked up and will just flomp on my shoulder and PURR. He is the Quickest Purr in the West! He’s the first medium-haired cat (He looks like a Maine Coon mix) I’ve ever had and I’ve had to learn to watch his neck-floof for floofclot (i.e. hair matting.)… and I vacuum more these days.

    Sloan is Speed Bomp and The Sloan Ranger. He is the food hound and can grab little kibbles out of the air. He bomps and gunches my face and head all the time which makes me very happy. (apologies for the need for a KarenM6 dictionary. Bomp is just the head butting and gunch is when they rub their face on people’s faces.) A head-bomping-face-gunching kitty is a happy kitty. His less lovely habit is he is one of those cats that likes to push everything off the coffee table, drinks included. I’ve lost count of how many drinks I’ve lost and emergency towels have been flung toward the dripping liquids!

    Alex is a lover, not a fighter. His nicknames – I’m embarrassed to say – are Licky Lump, Lick-N-Drip, and Alexander the Great. He poses like the Sphinx on the highest bookshelf in my house. He _adores_ kneading my neck and sticking his nose in my hair. It can get pretty painful if I’ve put off cutting his nails (but I always know when it’s time!!) He also drips down my neck as he’s kneading. It’s… the feeling can be a little disconcerting, but he’s happy, so I’m willing to take these mini-showers. 🙂
    Alex is always the first to notify me when the package drop-off guys come to the door.

    They will hunt anything that moves. The “bed mice” game at night is painful. lol
    I recently watched all three trying to catch a fly. At one point I got worried because Webster was breathing so hard. During the chase, every horizontal surface in three rooms was touched by all three cats. But, Big W eventually was victorious over the fly. (I did not let him eat it.)

    No changes to my beast/life balance!!! They add SO much more to my life than cost me.

    • 14.1
      Linda Byrd says:

      Oh Geez. I know what you mean about knowing when it’s time to trim the nails. My Ginger is big on kneading my legs and on bare skin it’s immediately apparent when it’s time to trim those nails!

      • 14.1.1
        KarenM6 says:

        I wonder if those who have kneader cats have beasties with the best trimmed nails in the animal world! 😉

  15. 15
    Glenda M says:

    We currently have 2 cats who aren’t as cat like as many cats. They are very social and love to cuddle. One in particular will follow me around the house and watch by the window when I am outside. She is the one most likely to meet me at the door after I’ve been out for any reason. She’s also a tortie – the type of cat that does have the most standoffish reputation.

    Both she and her brother give us more than they take. This morning they, well he did give us some stress while giving his human ‘sister’, my daughter, a large amount of stress. The cats are staying with my daughter while we head up towards the Tetons. Mr Oscar found a glue trap somewhere in her apartment and stuck himself to it pretty well. My stress came when I heard my daughter’s ringtone while I was in the shower. When we finally talked after missed calls and my husband leaving his phone in the hotel room during his coffe hunt, it was a relief to know it was such a simple problem. Well, simple for the ones not using olive oil to remove all the trap pieces and then giving him a bath!

  16. 16
    Linda Byrd says:

    As I try to type this, my cat keeps rubbing his face on my hands and trying to sit on the keyboard. I love it! When I sit and crochet my amigurumi or watch TV, he’s in my lap or beside me – purring. I can’t imagine life without furbabies. And I walk my mother’s dog every morning. I just can’t do afternoon walks here in Florida, so he’s relegated to the backyard and doggie door then.

    • 16.1
      KarenM6 says:

      LOL!
      Oh! I just had a memory… when my guys were younger, they would sit near me and flop their tails about and change the pages on my electronic reading device.

      The typing “help” is quite funny. 😀