It occurred to me while watching our neighbor walk their dog for the third time one day that our pets are loving our quarantining. For them life has never been so good: Their humans are at home more than ever and pretty much catering to their every need out of sheer boredom.
Our old cat is perfect example. Poppy, a big orange tabby, is a corpulent gal. If she were human, she would be an excellent farm hand or bouncer. Some in our family consider her fat. Those same some ones often call her Fatty instead of Poppy. I contend she looks good with her poundage and it makes her extra cozy (though hard to lift without proper body alignment and a strong core). And her big, saggy belly comes in handy; she’s a feline Swiffer constantly dusting the floor.
Orange tabbies are pretty much the golden retrievers of the cat world. Poppy is super friendly and loves to be around people and get attention. Typically, she bursts into a room while meowing incessantly with a screechy wail that rather grinds at one’s ears and feels like it could cause a brain hemorrhage. She heads butts the arm of her victim with her little rock hard skull, spilling any drinks in hand, until she gets petted and slimes said human with a coating of fur.
We’re use to her screechy meow. But it is problematic when she barges into my husband’s office while he is on work conference calls. People listening think some animal is dying a tortured death or raccoons are fighting in the hallway. When my husband used to travel – pre-pandemic – Poppy would also yowl like this at 2 a.m. on the first night he was away, her way of letting me know, “Heh, that guy I like left again.” This lovely moonlit cat serenade would continue until I yelled not-so-friendly words back at her, my way of saying, “Yah, I know.”
Poppy loves nothing more than to hang out in someone’s lap. She especially likes to knead us with her paws, a thing kittens do to their mothers. She finds our most wiggly bits, zeroing right in on the mushiest stomach flab. Our family knows who needs to cut down on snackage and beer based on whom she prefers to knead. Lately, much to my chagrin, I’ve been her favorite due to my pandemic pooch.
We always love our pets, no matter their peculiarities. But now Poppy gets seriously spoiled. Both my husband and I are giving her much more attention out of boredom and the need for interaction besides with each other. (Anybody who lives with their partner knows there are days you kind of prefer the company of your pet. Your pet is never going to ask you: “Is this the fifth or sixth day you’ve worn those gym shorts?” Or: “So, are you going full-on European with the no shaving anywhere thing?”) Plus, I need my support animal when I read the news and feel like I’m going to be sick. Petting that old bag of fur keeps my heart rate and breakfast down.
Side note: Why is a single person with a cat seen as sad, like a commercial for anti-depressants, while a single person with a dog is seen as joyful, like a Mountain Dew ad? I say this is petist. Cats are just as awesome as dogs and deserve equal pet status. Perhaps there needs to be a Me(ow) Too Movement.
Anyway, while we people are trudging through these awful times, it’s nice to have happy pets. I’m especially fortunate to have one that will also point out that I’ve put on a few pandemic pounds and head butt the beer out of my hand.
By Mary Lynn Bruny. Mary Lynn Bruny is a Boulder freelance writer. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.