3 Tips from Carol's Cats for Living in Uncertain Times
Hello. We're Carol's cats. We see that the Interesting Times Fairy has descended, rudely and uninvited, for an extended visit. It's like the old saying, life is what happens when you make other plans. We felines feel your pain and want to help. Therefore, these are 3 tips from us, Carol's cats, for humans living in uncertain times.
Tip #1: Handling Unwanted Change
Unwanted change happens to us cats all the time. Humans feed us different(!) food, under the lame excuse that the grocery store was out of the only acceptable flavor and brand. (What are cars for, if not to drive to other stores?) Or even worse, humans scoop us into the carrier for a visit to the House of Torquemada, a.k.a., the vet. Consequently, we're old pros.
Here are our tips for handling change:
- Pout. It's okay to be mad for a while. It's okay to worry or be scared, too. Life will never be the same because it never is. Each day brings something different. We cats find that a good sulk in the cat tower, a meditative visit to the blanket fort, or savaging the shark-shaped cat toy helps us work through this and figure out what to do next.
- Pet us. It's a scientific fact that humans with pets are calmer than humans without pets. When we want to sit in your lap or help with what you're doing, we aren't pestering you. We're worried that's you're worried, and want to make you feel better. Besides, we're all in this together. Pet us.
- Take a nap. No, seriously. Sleep does wonders for treating stress and giving you new perspective. Not forever, because then you'd miss dinner.
- Make a schedule. Figure out times for the new things you have to do and workarounds for the things you can't. It takes effort to set new habits, but pretty soon, they'll become routine. BTW, cats live for schedules. Don't believe us? Try sleeping past our breakfast time and find out.
- Decide the change was your idea in the first place. Embrace it and make it your own. Our humans sing a catchy tune about “always look on the bright side of life,” but to us, it's just practical energy conservation. WANT takes less energy and is more fun than DO NOT WANT.
Tip #2: Physical Distance Doesn't Have to Be Social Distance
We cats were perplexed when our household servants, a.k.a. the humans, began staying home even more than they did before. When we asked, they showed us this serious chart as vastly improved by epidemiologist Amy Marie Darling to explain about slowing the spread of that nasty case of COVID-19 crud that's going around.
The scientist human called it “Cattening the Curve,” and we approve. Alert kitty will swat you upside the head right damn now. Lazy kitty will bop you when he gets around to it the next few months, but by that time, the caregivers will be ready and hospitals will have room if you need it.
Since viruses are like fleas looking for a new home, a.k.a. other humans, physical distance is the key. Stay a double-arm's length away from fellow humans and you'll be safe. Stay in your own home and be even safer. Plus, since you can't always tell right away if you have fleas or viruses, you won't be spreading those sneaky little bugs to others.
But physical distancing doesn't have to be social distancing. You can still check in with your neighbors to make sure they're okay, or text your friends just to say hi. Our human named Carol already uses Zoom or Skype to interact with people all across the planet. Australia looks like a fun place. She says this helps her extrovert friends who like people as much as we like catnip.
On the other paw, the resident mad scientist much prefers kitties over humans, so to him, social distancing is just another day ending in “y.”
And no hoarding, because that's not just social distancing, that's anti-social. Unless it's catnip. Here's a free tip: Buy some seeds and grow your own. Can't have too much catnip, we always say.
Tip #3: Grooming 101
How shall we put this nicely… you humans suck at keeping clean. Oh sure, you groom regularly (by standing or sitting in water—are you insane?), but that's only good until you touch unclean things again, then touch your face. Hello, infection.
To be fair, humans do this all the time and usually, bad things don't happen. That's why it's so hard to learn the new habit of not touching your eyes, nose, or mouth until you know your hands are clean. But those nasty bugs can live up to three days on hard surfaces, waiting to pounce on heedless humans.
We know that humans don't even have the patience of a kitten, and couldn't properly spend hours grooming if you tried, but you have to do better than splashing your fingers under water and calling it good. No, it's not. Since you don't have lovely, soft, protective fur, you need 20 seconds with soap and water. Pretend you accidentally grabbed something horribly smelly and need to get it off right now, including between your fingers and out from under your fingernails, before you touch anything else.
Then lick… er, use disinfectant on doorknobs, counters, package exteriors, smart phones, keys, and all the other things you fiddle with.
Now wash your hands again, because you're probably just dying to touch your face. After that, pet us again. It's good for you.
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