Social distancing is already getting wearisome. I am just getting to the end of my two weeks isolation and it looks like there are many more weeks ahead of us. As social beings, we do not do too well from being apart as we are used to reaching out to others for comfort and safety.
The telephone and social media keep us connected but not in the usual way of getting together for a coffee, and we are going to have to learn how to cope without a physical connection.
There are however some of our friends who are benefiting from us being confined to our homes, these are our pets who are loving the joy and intimacy of having their two legged friends stay home for days on end. I own a six year old Bichon/Shitzu cross and a three month old kitten. They think they have gone to Heaven having me available non stop and they both want to sit very close to me or even on me.
Whenever I move I trip over one furry body or another, going the few steps to the kitchen is hazardous as the kitten winds her way to and fro between my feet and the dog bumps into the back of my legs, should I stop moving.
Several weeks ago I made the mistake of giving my kitten a few drops of cream when I poured my coffee, big mistake!!! Now, every time I go to the fridge to put cream in my coffee, there is the loud wailing of distress that emits from my little, furry friend as she tries to get my attention and a few drops of cream in her dish. As I drink several cups of my addiction each day, I get the cream from the fridge fairly often. Cream is not particularly good for cats so instead I give her a tiny amount of cottage cheese. I’m not sure if this is healthy for her but should not pile on the weight as would cream. Coffee with cream is my breakfast, but she eats breakfast in addiction to treats, so can imagine her ballooning into a furry soccer ball if not restricted.
This togetherness is most noticeable when I take a trip to the bathroom. The three of us take the trip through my bedroom and into the ensuite, whenever need dictates. The dog quietly sits by my feet but the cat amuses herself by unrolling the toilet paper and clawing it into shreds. Shutting the door in their faces is not a good idea as the howling from the cat, combined with the door scratching from the dog, makes for a somewhat stressful experience.
Having lived through several years of having four pre-schoolers, I am used to leaving the bathroom door open. A closed door would immediately result in one of the four emitting a loud scream, which would indicate a terrible accident, either a bad fall resulting in a bleeding wound or a kidnapper taking them from the family nest. My hurriedly completed trip would usually find that the scream was uttered because one of the other three would not share the much coveted red crayon. It was much easier on the nerves to forgo the privacy of a closed door and leave it open, this way the complainant could come in and tearfully report the incident and have “she who could solve all problems” make things better.
In most homes mommy is the chief care giver, she is the kisser of boo-boos, the remover of spiders, the distributor of cookies and hugs and the solver of all problems, so having her locked away for a few minutes can be scary to young minds. Because of my experiences with my toddlers, I am more lenient with my furry kids and put up with their clingy behaviour.
What will happen to their anxieties once this quarantine is lifted and life goes back to the new normal? Maybe we will have to get the services of pet psychiatrists to help with separation anxiety of our pets. Who knows?
It is going to take many months for us to get back to the world we knew and I believe that separation is going to be a long term condition. Our pets need us and we need them for the joy of a comforting body in the same room as us. However, I find I am talking more and more to my pets and less to human friends. If this situation goes on for several months I wouldn’t be surprised to hear my furry friends talking back to me, after all I do feel like I am entering the Twilight Zone and it is probably only a matter of time before I cross over into the unknown.