Working from home is not for the faint of heart. Where is the motivation to set the alarm in the morning? Wearing pants has become optional. I sit down to work and then remember the dishes in the sink, the lightbulb that needs to be replaced, and the plants that need watering. Pets become both a comfort and a source of distraction. Lack of human interaction has me wondering if I always had the urge to cut my own hair or if cabin fever is finally setting in for good.
The internet is frothing with information about coronavirus: the symptoms, the preventions, the cases in my area, and the death toll. Today, after the sixth unscheduled social media break of the day to check the information, song parodies, and memes once again, I heard a cough from the other room. My body froze as I mentally mapped out the fastest route to the hand sanitizer—another cough. I stand up from my desk chair and poke my head around the doorway to look at my cat with new eyes.
My cat coughs again, and a hairball emerges. I reassure myself that this is completely normal behaviour for a cat. I go back to the computer to look up the list of symptoms for COVID-19 again.
Most common symptoms: fever, tiredness, and dry cough. Oh no. I don’t need to overreact. I can look at this situation from an unbiased place. I read more articles about the symptoms of coronavirus. Arming myself with this knowledge, I examine my cat with, my now, medically expert opinion.
First, I must examine the patient’s behaviour and symptoms. Today my cat lay by the window for an hour. After that, she walked to the bedroom and laid on the bed for a while. Then she came and sat on my lap. Tiredness is the main symptom, and my cat has done nothing except nap and lay down. That is only one symptom, though, it could be many things.
Fever is the next symptom. I put on a face mask and douse my hands with hand sanitizer and go over to feel my cat’s stomach. It is very warm. So warm, it feels feverish. But that is okay, and it is only two symptoms. In order to be alarmed, a dry cough would have to be present, and she has only coughed up one hairball, which is completely normal.
She starts coughing again.
I scoop her up and run to the car. We rush to the animal clinic, and I rushedly tell the vet that my cat is seriously sick and probably has coronavirus based on my research. The vet examines my cat patiently and then informs me that there is nothing wrong. Pets cannot get coronavirus or spread it, and my cat is completely healthy. I embarrassedly scoop up my cat once again, and we head back home.
By now, it is well past the normal hours for my workday, and I determine that I am not meant to be a remote worker. But I now know what my cat does all day while I am gone. I can’t wait to get back to the office!