Initially, I commented on how interesting it will be to see how Ivy the Wonder Cat copes with her dad (and soon-to-be two dads) always being around. I honestly thought that she would get sick of us encroaching upon her routine, and would become increasingly distant.
The truth is that I underestimated how much attention she really craved.
When I first met Ivy at the pet store, where the local shelter offered cats for adoption, she was the calmest, coolest cat I could imagine.
I didn’t make the connection at first, but she liked having people around. I eventually figured out that because the clerks were in her line of sight from 8 am to 9 pm, in addition to all of the visitors passing by to say hello, this extroverted cat was likely in what was paradise for her.
As much as I was told that cats were pretty independent, little did I know that my pre-Covid work routine might not have been enough attention for her, even though the signs weren’t that obvious to me at first.
I assumed that she slept all day while I was at the office. The evidence showed that at some point she woke up and circulated, as her quota of food was consumed and the litter box was used.
I was under the impression that her world generally revolved around her little basket, with the comfy blanket, overlooking the backyard, supervising the birds, the squirrels and the folks walking their dogs, in between her naps.
On those rare days I might be at home for a sick day or a vacation day, this was generally the pattern she followed. I tried not to interrupt her sleepy routine.
But during the evenings and weekends, I found her to be a generally vocal cat. It hadn’t fully clicked for me as to why she did that.
Ironically, when the work-from-home order started and I was around the house so much more, I found her more calm and meowing much less, despite our imminent move to the country and the growing mountain of packing boxes in every room. Where I thought the disruption might be offensive to her sensitivities, Ivy was seemingly enjoying the cardboard play structures. It must have been like feline Disneyland in her eyes.
She would check in on me periodically throughout the day and she seemed rather pleased that her servant was available for the day shift.
After we moved and continued working from home, when the shock of the move faded, she was genuinely less bothered by our constant presence than I originally estimated.
However, there was still a little drama. There have been times when she was contentedly napping for 4 to 6 hours in the guest bedroom, in a separate corner of the house, but when she woke up she would wail powerfully, like the queen of the manor, “where are my humans and why is my food bowl empty?” Unfortunately, those words have echoed on a couple of conference calls, reaching from coast to coast.
As a result, I have learned to be pretty nimble with the mute button whenever Ivy starts bursting out in song or critiquing the state of the litter box that hasn’t been scooped in the last hour. But everyone is balancing different priorities these days.
Either way, I count my blessings, as Ivy is really a good cat and developed into a good communicator. When she is lacking something, she meows and often sits down in the general vicinity where action is needed. It’s pretty simple. I would rather have her meowing than having her destroy anything or having “accidents” to make a point.
But thankfully, more often than not, she quietly joins us in one of the two makeshift home offices, and resumes her nap time in our presence, on one of the many blankets and throws she has claimed in the name of Ivy. Maybe this is the convenience she was lacking when I wasn’t at home, which makes her feel more reassured overall.
Does she suffer from separation anxiety? My partner might say yes as Ivy does get loud when I am out for a socially distanced grocery run… or just on the other side of a closed bathroom door. Anything is possible with a rescue cat that was abandoned. Does she remember that far back? Who knows what motivates such strong reactions.
It makes me wonder how she survived emotionally when I was at the office all day and had the house to herself. Was she similarly needy, but I was never there to witness it?
During the pandemic, Ivy truly had no objections to us being home all the time. In fact, she loved it! And frankly, the feeling is mutual.
As a first time pet owner, what I find so heartwarming is how this little animal finds relaxation and comfort in my presence. For someone who has had his own share of anxiety, it seems a little backward to me, but I must be in a much calmer place myself if she actively seeks me out to feel balanced after all of the changes that we have been through. I am more than happy to oblige.
The best part is that with my retirement just a few months away, I look forward to having more free time to hang out together… as long as it doesn’t disrupt HER routine!
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Have a great day,