Jane Carstens
05 May

Everything I need to know about social isolating I learned from my cat

I have nearly always worked from home, but I still feel the effects of not being able to move around the community as I used to in these pandemic times. While pondering how to manage this, I realised my cat was a pro at social isolation and that I could learn something from her.

Kimchi is 14 years old, and we only adopted her last year from the RSPCA. She has been a wonderful addition to our family, and her world revolves around the confines of our house and yard, and her family of humans and one dog (sound familiar?).

Kimchi starts the day with a stretching routine that is very thorough, and takes her sweet time with it. She then does some basic grooming before heading to the kitchen for breakfast.

Her day is then divided between sitting on any available lap, sitting on a desk where people are working, sleeping in her favourite spots around the house, grooming, and perhaps some daytime exploring of the yard (she is very timid outdoors and, to our delight, terrified of birds!). It’s then time for dinner, more snuggling on laps, and choosing a bed to snuggle in for the night.  

While I need to be a bit more productive than Kimchi, it’s clear she’s a pro when it comes to social isolating self-care. And self-care is important for mental and physical health.

Kimchi doesn’t feel guilty for lying on a couch in the sun for the afternoon, or sleeping when she’s tired, or for having alone time. She is also willing to protect her personal boundaries.

When the world reboots again, let’s hope we remember that we don’t have to revert to old habits that may have harmed our physical and/or mental health. We have been given the gift of time and stillness to work out a simpler and kinder way to live. It’s OK to slow down and take care of ourselves. That’s not selfish behaviour. It’s healthy behaviour.

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