Adopting a Cat During a Pandemic

Jordan's Words
4 min readDec 21, 2020
Source: Ludemeula Fernandes on Unsplash

I’ve been wanting to adopt a cat for years now. Animals have always had a special place in my heart. From cats to birds (not when they use my car as a toilet!) and dogs to rabbits, I love them all. They always seem drawn to me as I am drawn to them, so last month, I finally, finally, finally decided to adopt a cat.

Being an over-thinker, I tend to worry about everything. I wanted to make sure I had all the right supplies for the cat, a place for her/him to relax and play, the proper litter, etc. I spent many hours and many weeks researching how to adopt and properly take care of a cat and, after much debating, I went to my local animal shelter with my youngest sister.

There were so many beautiful cats from 13 weeks to 4 years old. I was immediately transported to five years previously when I volunteered at the humane society looking after both cats and dogs. After looking around and interacting with a few of the cats, my sister and I realized we both liked the same cat. She was a domestic short-haired calico, her coat a beautiful blend of brown, black and white. There was just something about her. I looked into her eyes and she looked back, and when she gave the softest meow, I knew she would be my cat for a lifetime.

Her name was Buffy, but I renamed her River (after River Song from Doctor Who 😊). Later, I found out that the calico cat is the official cat of the state of Maryland because their coat resembles the Baltimore oriole bird, which is a coincidence since I was born in Baltimore, Maryland but I’m nearly 900 miles away! It was so strange that I ended up getting a cat with a connection to my hometown.

Since it was first come first served, I quickly rushed to the store to gather supplies I hadn’t yet gotten and the next morning, I adopted her! She was a little scared on the ride home but warmed up to me and my family quite quickly. I was concerned about adopting a pet during the pandemic, so I took some precautions.

We Wore Our Masks When Going to Explore Cats to Adopt

Wearing masks are a requirement where we live since we are currently in the red zone part of the United States. I called ahead of time to see if cats were available to adopt and to ask if there were any other special requirements to prevent the spread of COVID. They just said to wear our masks. We didn’t hold any of the cats but were able to touch them through the bars of the cage. We refrained from touching our faces and used hand sanitizer after leaving the shelter. Once we were home, we washed our hands thoroughly. This is kind of routine now, so it wasn’t much different than the protocols we use during grocery shopping.

We Wiped Down All Objects Bought from the Store

I’m already in the habit of wiping down all my groceries with Clorox spray every time I shop. It’s not ideal and takes a lot more time to put everything away, but it makes my family and I feel safer. I wiped down everything I bought for River, though I used soap and water for her toys and things she would be handling just to be on the safe side.

I Took River to the Vet Within a Week of Adoption

She needed her third vaccination shot so I made an appointment at my nearest animal hospital. It’s also recommended to take animals to the vet for a general checkup after adoption to make sure they’re okay and didn’t catch anything while at the shelter. River was a little scared on the car ride over to the vet, but she calmed down and was very good! Despite calico cats being known to be aggressive and temperamental, she didn’t exude these signs. She does get a little rowdy and excited at times, but I find it helps lift my mood to see her happy.

I followed the proper procedures by parking in the vet’s parking lot and waiting for a nurse to come out and take River’s carrier inside. The doctor called me while I waited in the car. Fortunately, River was healthy, and all seemed well.

Overall, the adoption and vet visit went well. I had a few hiccups with arranging when and what River should eat, but I’ve learned so much since the day I first adopted her and I’m still learning. She’s been with us for almost a month now and she’s settled in comfortably. She has favorite spots, enjoys her toys, and is finally starting to use her scratching pad and not so much the carpet.

Having a cat has helped tremendously to bring down the stress and frustration I’ve felt during this pandemic. If I’m feeling overwhelmed, I turn and see River expertly hopping from my piano to my shelf to perch and I smile. Her presence has lightened my mood and taking a break to play with her everyday helps me to focus on something fun and entertaining.

I couldn’t have asked for a better companion.

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Jordan's Words

Creative writer bringing awareness to the importance of having empathy, compassion, and authenticity of the self.