Day Seven of COVID-19 Quarantine: Critter Version

I”m using Monday, March 16 as our personal starting point because that is the day Laura was officially told to work from home as much as possible.

I’ll be honest with you, most of my anecdotes and tales involve cats. If that’s not your jam, scroll away to another blog.

Our basic goals are to stay home, wash our hands, stay in touch with folks, and keep ourselves busy.

foster kitten
Laura sits with little Maisel on the sofa.

We are both physically fine. Our allergies are acting up and the weather fluctuations are annoying, but those are to be expected. I’ve been fighting with a gastro virus that has been irritating as can be. I had to go to the outpatient lab on Thursday for an xray, bloodwork, etc. Of course, I get results that are screaming “ABNORMAL RESULT” but the letter from the nurse says “It is fine. Drink more water.” I’m waiting to hear from my PCP. I know it is just a virus, not anything horrible. But I still feel pretty cruddy.

Emotionally and mentally, we are figuring it out. Being in such close proximity so often is challenging at times. I’ve been putting myself in time out each evening to hang with the new kittens and amusing myself making livestream Facebook and IG videos. But we are committed to talking through the actual issues and sorting out what is our stuff and what is really fucking annoying that the other person does. We have a ton of things to read, watch, listen to, etc. And we can go out into our backyard when we need an outside fix.

We’ve made a car trip each day – errands like the vet clinic with the kittens, the pharmacy, and the grocery store curbside pickup. It is nice to be in the car albeit with a package of wipes and very little human contact. I felt a bit normal this morning as we rolled up to the Giant Eagle.

Giant Eagle Curbside ExpressThe strange thing is that my life isn’t much different. I tend to stay home a lot, take naps, take care of critters. The major differences are 1) teletherapy versus IRL and 2) not driving Laura to and from work. Not being allowed to go places does suck, but I tend to prefer not to go places. I hope it goes without saying that I want to go back to feeling my social anxiety and the world was not imploding.

How are the critters? Ah, I’m glad you asked. They can absolutely tell that something is up, but they have their moms so that’s okay. The little kittens, Maisel and Lennon, are expanding their territory from the bedroom to the living room. They sleep on the sofa. It is super cute. Precious is happy to have the sofa. Coco is pouting because we won’t let her kill Mamma Mia and Maylee by way of closing the gate at the top of our stairs – she’s too old to jump it but the little cats can clamber over just fine. This means at night she sleeps in our room with Ana and the others fend for themselves. It is not an ideal solution, but there’s only so much management we can wrestle right now.

Our dog, Ana, is unhappy. She’s peed on our bed twice in a week. Fortunately, both times we were right there and able to prevent disaster. But it is behavioral and annoying. Otherwise, she pretty much stays glued to my side at all times. I try to include her in the reindeer games, but she’s having none of that.

The new kittens have been sick with a lingering but not horrible virus. They are not loving life just yet, but they seem to be turning a corner. Kittens en route to vet tech team

Our rescue group, Pittsburgh C.A.T., is adhering to quarantine guidelines issued by the AVMA. They spent a lot of the weekend moving as many cats from the clinic to foster homes. The clinical team are practicing social distancing when clinical time is required, but all non-urgent needs are just being dealt with in the homes. Several of the surgical options for spay/neuter procedures have been canceled. That’s frightening because this is early kitten season. I cannot imagine what July will look like if TNRs stop. Some clinics have identified feral spay & neuters as a public health issue and will continue to perform those surgeries.

We are debating trying to trap the Mama cat of our two kittens and get her spayed this week. Because everything could change again after a ‘shelter in place” order comes in to effect. It is hard to juggle needing to plans some things with needing to take things day by day.

It is daunting to realize reality will always be different moving forward. But not for everyone – the folks who acknowledge and understand the “Two Pittsburghs” mentality know that many, many neighbors live with these social and physical fears each day. Much like Trump supporters rolled back a level of denial that (finally) threatens middle class white folks, this pandemic is ripping apart our concepts of safety nets, whose work has value in our lives, the importance of infrastructure, and exposing real values of Americans.

It isn’t pretty. There are glimmers of hope and courage, but systemic change is going to arise from necessity, not be a conscious choice.

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