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My Pet World: Quarantine with pets required before transition to assisted-living facility

By Cathy M. Rosenthal, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Cathy,

My dad and stepmom have a 19-year-old cat, who sleeps and lives on a couch and goes to the litter box, three-feet away. This cat has been a very divisive and disruptive element in our family for than 15 years. (My stepmom believes it is her child that she lost through a miscarriage.)

They live several hours away. Dad is 89 and my stepmom is 84 with dementia. They need to move to an assisted-living facility near me. The facility accepts pets. However, COVID 19 requires some quarantine requirements before they can move into the facility. I want them to move her and stay with me to meet all the requirements, so they are in. But I own two dogs and a parrot, so the cat would not be a good fit in the house. Plus, my wife and daughter are allergic to cats.

I offered to make the cat comfortable in the garage. My dad said that was unacceptable. This cat has caused numerous problems in the past. Now it is putting my dad’s and stepmom’s health, safety and welfare in jeopardy and risk. Any suggestions?

-Bruce, Cooper City, Florida

Dear Bruce,


The cat is not causing any issues. It’s the assisted living facilities’ new rules related to COVID-19 that you’re having to work around.

Your parents have a strong emotional attachment to their 19-year-old cat. They love this cat and consider him/her a valued family member. So, naturally, the garage doesn’t sound like a great place for their beloved feline.

There are a few things you can offer to do.

Option 1: Offer to let the cat stay inside your home, but he/she must remain in the guest room, where your parents will be sleeping, the entire time. This arrangement allows the cat to sleep with your parents and allows your parents to spend time in the room with the cat whenever they want, which is not something they can do if the cat is in the garage. Use a baby gate leading up to the guest room to keep your dogs from getting too close to the room, and to allow one more layer of protection should the cat accidentally bolt into the hall. From the sound of his sedentary life, though, he seems like he will mostly just sleep when your parents aren’t in the room.


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