Our pets need to adjust to post-pandemic life too


My cat has gotten way too accustomed to my work-from-home life.

In the past year, if you’ve ever been on a Zoom meeting with me, you’ve probably seen her tail go by. Her pandemic routines involve sleeping on my desk, sleeping in my lap and sleeping nearby me on her cat tree in my home office. She keeps track of of my whereabouts at all times.

Can you relate?

As we’ve stayed home from work, school and life, our furry friends have adjusted to our presence, becoming our most faithful companions. And when we have to leave the house, it is quite obvious that they miss us.

My daughter’s cat comforts himself when home alone with a toy lion that he carries around and meows at quite loudly. Our cat meows at us when we return home.

And this behavior isn’t limited to cats. If your dog scratches or whines when you leave or return, it could be that he or she is really lonely without you.

Remember the 2016 movie (and its 2018 sequel), “The Secret Life of Pets”? It was a cute animated film about all the things your pets do when you aren’t at home.

As we begin to return to our work sites, even part time, think about what your pets may be doing while you’re gone.

When I talked to Providence veterinarian Jane Linden last year, at the start of the pandemic, she warned that pet owners should take care to ease their pets into being alone again. It seems like we should be thinking about that advice now, as the pandemic begins to loosen its grip on the U.S., especially if you are among the proud new pet parents of a pandemic puppy.

According to Rover.com, a group of folks who survey people about their pet habits, pet adoptions have soared during the pandemic. In its October 2020 survey of 1,000 people in the U.S., they found that one-third had welcomed a cat or dog into their home since March. Rover’s January 2021 survey found that 49% of the adoptees were dogs. That lucky animal hasn’t known life without you, so remember to plan an adjustment period if you’re returning to work outside your home.

If all this talk about pets has you pet-less readers wondering why, stay with me. This is Jewish Rhode Island’s annual pet issue, and we have a lot of cute animal photos from your friends in our community. This year, many more readers than usual wanted to show off their pets, including lizards, bunnies and birds. In the past, we rarely got more than dog or cat photos.

Many photos arrived with tales of companionship during this year of staying at home. Our pets really are our faithful friends!

While we don’t have room for more than the names of the pet and their families in our print edition, we will try to get some of your stories online at JewishRhody.org, along with your pet companion’s photo.

Our thanks to everyone who sent us photos and stories. We love to hear from our readers. And make sure to give those furry friends an extra treat from us!

Fran Ostendorf, Editor