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My Pet World: How to make the most out of staying at home with your pet

By Cathy M. Rosenthal, Tribune Content Agency on

At the time of this writing, about 100 million people were being asked to stay home because of the coronavirus. If you live with other people and animals, you've been spending more time than usual with them.

How is that going? Is there a little stress in the home? Are you in each other's space?

Many of us are trying to adjust to being either isolated from others or with more people and pets than normal. Here are some pet tips to help you get by.

Animals generally like routine, so keep routines intact to maintain the harmony in your home. If you are permitted to walk your dog, observe social distancing protocols so everyone safe. In your home or yard, play games with your dog, like fetch or hide and seek, and get your cat moving with toys that make him or her chase something across the floor or swat at something in the air.

You can also use this time to train your dog. This bonding time will improve your relationship and help tire your dog out too. Get your kids to help with the training and break those treats into small pieces, so they last longer. If you are feeling anxious or depressed, meditate with your pets. All you have to do is sit and stroke them, and you will almost instantly feel the benefits of this human-animal connection.

This also might be a good time to adopt or foster a pet. In addition to providing a permanent or temporary home for a pet during this crisis, fostering or adopting a pet can be a great way to bring some furry companionship to your home during this isolation period. The shelter likely will cover pet food and medical expenses, so it won't cost you anything.

Consider it and stay well.


Dear Cathy,

I am writing about your recent column on feral cats and how some people wanted them removed from their neighborhoods or killed. Many years ago, on Long Beach Island in New Jersey, there was a group of people that thought the same thing. So, all the feral cats were trapped and removed from their neighborhoods. And guess what? A year later, these same people were complaining about the number of rats and mice that were now running loose and multiplying in their neighborhoods with nothing around to reduce their numbers.

I think this might have been a good point to make in the column.

-- Barbara S., West Babylon, New York


(Cathy M. Rosenthal is a longtime animal advocate, author, columnist and pet expert who has more than 25 years in the animal welfare field. Send your pet questions, stories and tips to Please include your name, city, and state. You can follow her @cathymrosenthal.)




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