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OPINION: COVID and cats

Leo practicing self ice-oslation.

BY TERESA MALLAM

Special to the News

With the advent and rapid advance of the novel coronavirus COVID-19, life as we know it has been turned over, topsy turvy. Not so for cats, whose lives, so far, are pretty much the same.

Here’s the thing.

Everybody knows cats have nine lives so even though there is  no evidence at all COVID-19 jumps from humans to cats (the reverse with fleas) so it follows they could survive eight outbreaks of coronavirus before it took them down.

So to draw from Charles Darwin theories on “survival of the fittest”, there is no doubt in my mind that my long-haired Siamese-cross, Leo, will survive this unparalleled time with no real or present danger, and no discernible disruption to his daily life and routine.

Cats are survivors.

And there’s good, sound reasons ­– based on science, of course – for this fact. First of all, domestic cats don’t think they have to follow rules. And most outdoor cats resist all human efforts to create curfews or curtail freedoms.

Many are okay with staying indoors, no strange dogs or bad weather to contend with. However, cats are independent, so other than when they want to enjoy the company of humans, social distancing is fine by them.

I do wish that, along with medical experts and political pundits, radio and TV hosts would bring on a cat psychologist or feline whisperer who would advise me on how exactly I go about explaining to a two-year-old (14 in human years) the current shortage of Fancy Feast Florentine style, creamy salmon with garden greens.

Now a VIP … (valuable in-situ senior), I do try to adhere to orders to self-isolate, where possible, and avoid travel. For me, that means travel to the grocery store and back. However, after three trips to Walmart, Leo’s favourite brand of cat food is still missing  from the shelves.

Meanwhile, Leo is totally, blissfully, oblivious of the rules around combating COVID-19; the need to not hoard food, the urgent call for social distancing and the absolute importance of practising good hand washing skills.

Cats have over time, pretty much purr-fected the old spit and shine routine. They call it grooming.  Lick the paw, wipe clean the face, nose, eyes and whiskers. Touch the face with the paws, often.

Yikes. Cats just don’t listen. Now, I don’t want to have to bring in tougher measures to deal with Leo’s non-compliance as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has done. But clearly, Leo has failed to grasp the severity of the situation.

I’m guessing Mr. Trudeau would not consider Fancy Feast to be a necessity, nor my trip to Walmart essential. I could be wrong, but our Liberal leader also strikes me as a dog, not cat, person – though I think maybe his wife Sophie and the kids can relate.

So here’s my new house rules.

Going forward, Leo will eat food that not-so-spoiled cats dine on every day. There must be sacrifices; we all must all do our part. Starting midnight tonight, no more pricey Fancy Feast until further notice. But Leo can still dine-in, no take out required (unless a mouse.)

We will get through this together.

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