Anastassia is a junior at AUP, studying Creative Writting and lingustics. They have a passion for crime shows, cats, and literature.
In March 2020, COVID hit the world and affected everyone’s lives. But what about your pets? How have their lives been affected by the lockdown?
Cats have always ruled the world and when their lives turned upside down, they landed on their paws and decided to make the best of their lives and adapt.
Professor Gilbert, an animal expert quotes: “Cats are known for being more independent than dogs, however, I have heard some people remark that their cats seemed a little stressed to have this shift in routine – they were used to being more on their own, and suddenly their people were around all the time! Any shift in routine is difficult for our pets – they learn our rhythms and depend on us for food and comfort.”
I interviewed three cats. Two from France, and one from Bulgaria.
I travelled all the way to Bulgaria to interview Misha, a thirteen year old unknown breed. He has long white and brown fur. As we sit on the couch, Andrew, his owner, interrupts us to bring him a piece of salmon. Misha slurps his dinner, while I observe the apartment. There is a plant with teeth marks on all the leaves, a long beige tree house across the wall for Misha to sleep and play.
Misha washes his whiskers with his paw and nods to me that he is ready for the interview to start.
“What was the biggest change for you when COVID hit?”
“I got to spend more time getting cuddles and going on walks. Although me and my owner both start to get on each other’s nerves at times, we always find a rhythm to enjoy life. I just love getting cuddles.” he responds, looking back at his owner who's sitting on the chair behind him.
“Is this when you started to get high end food?”
“No, since I was little, Andrew always tried to get the best food for me.” He sneezes.
“Bless you. Were you an outside cat before COVID?”
“Yes, but since we moved to the city, I’ve been missing the fields more and more.”
I wrote his answers in my journal. “What difference is there between the fields and the city?”
“There are more cars, so my owner always has to come and walk with me. I walk without a leash. In the fields, he would let me live my life and I would get to fetch rats and birds. This is why we get on each other’s nerves, because we are always together, outside and inside.”
On my way back home, I interviewed the second cat who lives in the 7th arrondissement. Ezra is a three year old black sphynx. When I arrive at the apartment, Ezra is sunbathing on his fluffy turquoise blanket. As I present myself to him, he pulls on my shoelaces with his sharp teeth. HIs owner explains that he loves to play around with new people. I respond that I don’t mind. Ezra’s owner rolled him in the blue blanket so Ezra was comfortable for the interview.
“What was the biggest change for you when covid hit?” I started
Ezra closed his eyes.
“What was the biggest change for you when covid hit?”
His eyes opened widely. “The biggest change was the change in routine. Ever since the owner started staying home, he would start letting me and Bisou run up and down the stairwell. Eventually we went all the way down to the cave where I got to chase mice and beetles every night. The streets of Paris were quieter, so there was less to see down there from the window- with more people waving at me from their balconies.”
“Were you always an inside cat?”
“Not by choice. Back in California I’d get to sit in the garden almost every day. Here I still get to go outside in the summer. I’m never entirely free anymore though. I have to wear a leash the entire time. I do also get carried around in the backpack every month or so for an hour but that isn't nice.”
“How was traveling from California to Paris? Do you like flights?” I drew a plane in my journal while I waited for his answer.
“No it's never something I look forward to. It gets loud and I can’t go where I please, not even the bathroom. After a short while on the plane he lets me come out of the backpack and I nap on his lap the entire way, so it's not as bad as going to the vet.”
Arriving home, Tchaikovsky greets me at the door with his brother, wanting cuddles. Tchaikovsky is a two year old white Bengal from France.
I lay on the bed and pat my chest for him to come on top of me. He meows, asking for cuddles.
“I'm going to interview you about your life with COVID.” I said.
“Fine, just let me lay on you.” he purrs.
“What was the biggest change for you when covid hit?”
“Well, I was adopted during the pandemic, so I never got to see the difference.”
“Do you think your owner might have tried to compensate?”
“Yes, I definitely noticed I felt more of a king than any other cat. She bought me a 5 foot hamster wheel so I could still do my daily exercises while in an apartment. At the time, I did not yet have a garden.”
“Did you stay inside all the time?”
“No, I had the chance of traveling to the South of France with a big garden. I broke my paw that summer, which was great because while my owner went back to Paris I stayed near the beach for another three months. When I came back to live with my owner we would go on skiing trips in the mountains and I would get to see play in the snow with my brother.”
“If COVID hadn’t hit, do you think you would have had the same life?”
“I think so. I was lucky to be adopted into a family where they enjoy going on adventures. I got used to being on the leash at a young age and always enjoy it. However, when I came back to Paris and my owner started school again, I rarely went into the garden anymore, but at least I have my hamster wheel.”
© 2021 Anastassia de Bailliencourt