Opinion Editorial

Pandemic pets

During the pandemic my family adopted two adult cats from the Westfield Homeless Cat Project.


We took them home the last week of June when my husband and I — and both kids – were mostly home for the summer. I was working remotely so it was a great time to bring our furbabies home. We were all able to spend time with them and help them get used to their new home and family.

We named them Woodward and Bernstein. Yes, they are named after the journalists who uncovered the Watergate scandal. And oddly enough it turned out that our female cat — Bernstein – had more of the personality of Carl Bernstein, who is the younger of the journalistic duo and the more outgoing. Bernie, as we call her, also seems to have more of my younger daughter’s personality: She likes attention and snacks and is more than a bit sassy.


And, oddly enough, Woodward, like Bob Woodward, is the elder of the two and is more serious and wary of people. He is also more like my son — likes to do his own thing and takes a while to decide if he will warm up to you but once he is comfortable, he will seek out your attention.

I was thinking recently how COVID will affect pets. Many pets were adopted throughout the pandemic, often because families were home more and had the time to spend with their new pets.

But I’ve realized that could be an issue as the world opens up more.

I do go to my office, but not all day and not every day. And my children have been in-person at school only two days a week. That is about to change as they head back to school buildings full time April 5, which will give me more flexibility to work in the office. These are positive things in the pandemic world, but my cats are going to be quite confused.

Let’s be real, cats are often loners. They can lie in a sunny spot on the floor for hours. They may nap under or on a bed most of the day. But when they want attention, their humans better be ready to scratch their chins, pet their backs and rub their ears until they decide they have had enough.

And you better have their treats and catnip at the ready.

Luckily, my cats are not jerks and don’t take pleasure in knocking things off of counters and tables like many of their feline colleagues.

Many people who have worked remotely, or not at all because COVID caused layoffs and business closures, or they had to stay home while their children learned remotely, are heading to work outside the home again. Their pets could be a bit confused.

I have happy thoughts that when I return home from the office after picking up the kids from school, Woodward and Bernstein will greet us at the door, purring and ready to be pet. I am sure the reality will be that they will be annoyed that humans are home, being loud and interrupting their nap times. Although I do believe they will appreciate the doling out of treats. Those who adopted dogs during the pandemic will likely have a different scenario since dogs are typically more inclined to want human interaction.

And while I’m on the subject of pets and my adopted furkids, I want to give a shoutout to the Westfield Homeless Cat Project. We had a wonderful experience working with founder Denise Sinico and her staff. They work hard to take in all the cats brought to them, regardless of their health. They try to match families with the right pet and the cats and kittens with the right humans. Spring is arriving more each day, and with that comes cat mating season. The cat project will likely be inundated with kittens very soon, as well as adults. I hope people will consider visiting the Westfield Homeless Cat Project on East Mountain Road and adding a furbaby to their home. I also want to put in a plug for adopting adult cats – they have usually already been in a home and are a bit better behaved than kittens if you don’t have the time for training (OK, any cat parents know “training” and “cats” don’t usually go together), and they are often more appreciative of a loving home.

To all those fellow pet parents heading out of the house more and more, I wish you luck, and be sure to give your furry kids some extra love.


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