When the lockdown (or “community quarantine”) was first announced, I had one concern that loomed over any potential plans (taking a plane ride back home or visiting my nearby distant relatives): What was I going to do with my cat?
I eventually ended up quarantining with a couple of friends who were also stuck in Metro Manila because of their pets. But even until now, I still worry about my cat and how to take care of him during this time. I know a lot of other furparents are also going through the same thing, so here are some of my tips:
Buying pet supplies
The first thing you have to think about is pet supplies. To me, the most essential things were cat food and litter. While a lot of groceries still offer pet supplies, they’re usually low in stock now, with limited variety. For example, if your pet only exclusively eats wet food, you might not be able to find any at your nearby grocery anymore.
Thankfully, there are still a few pet stores open right now. One place you can check out is Bow & Wow. While their other storefronts are closing up shop during the lockdown, the all-natural pet shop’s branches in Shangri-la, Greenbelt and Ayala Center Cebu still remain operational, though these Luzon branches are closed on Sundays. You can also head over to the QC-based Sea and Land Petshop. They’re located at Shopwise, Araneta Cubao, and they also offer delivery through Grab Express and Lalamove.
Petwarehouse is also an online pet store that will still be taking deliveries during this period. Because of the surge in orders, they’re currently accepting them in batches—check out its Facebook page for the ordering schedule.
Make sure to look after your pet’s emotional needs, too
This is my cat, Astro, short for Astrophe. (I’ll let you figure out the pun yourself.)
He has separation anxiety, which means he gets anxious whenever I’m away (and away can mean just being in a different room). This manifests with him excessively crying and scratching at doors until he sees me again. We’ve been able to manage this at home, and he doesn’t cry anymore when I’m gone.
However, when I brought my cat to the current place I’m staying now, we went back to square one. Now, even if I’m literally just a few feet away from him and he can still smell me, he’ll cry if I close the door on him.
Your pet might not have the same concerns. Even so, it’s important to also take the time to observe your furbaby to see if they’re having any difficulties. Your pets can mirror your emotions, too, and they might also feel your anxiety about this crisis.
It’s extremely scary, thinking about where to take my cat if he ever gets sick during this period. I can’t take him to his normal vet since they’re closed and far away. If he gets sick during the night, it’d be even scarier—vet offices are closed by that time.
Thankfully, the animal rights group PAWS has collected a list of vet offices that remain open. Check out the list and look for the ones nearest you—you might not think that you’ll have any reason to, but it’s always best to be prepared.
Animals like dogs need to be mobile for their health. If you’re fortunate enough to have a yard (or even really just a wide enough street in front of your house), walking your dog wouldn’t really be that much of a problem. However, if you don’t, you might want to be a little more creative.
I don’t have to walk my cat out so I haven’t done so during the quarantine, but before this, I’d walk him around the hallway outside my apartment. Dog owners who live in condos can do the same—just please bring a poop scooper and disinfectant with you. My coworker also walks her dog using a treadmill, so if you have one, you can use that, too.