Fostering curiosity in kids (and their parents) since 2011

“Can we take our cat to the vet while we're under a shelter-in-place order?”

(Photo: Michael Howell)

We are on Day Seven of The Howells All Being Home At Once, and Day Three of Santa Clara County Residents All Huddled Up Together in Their Separate Spaces.

Caring for our pets in a pandemic

Thankfully, as far as we can tell, Canelo is currently well. We have plenty of kibble, kitty litter, and three months of his prescription flea medicine on hand (California fleas turn out to be resistant to the over-the-counter flea meds). From that perspective things should be ok.

But he’s a cat who loves to leap to high places, is easily startled while there, and has a tendency to try to eat wildly inappropriate things. He’s also about the age my previous cat Mulberry was when she developed hyperthyroidism. In short, stuff could happen.

What do we do if Canelo needs to go to the vet while our county is under a shelter-in-place order?

Veterinary services are still considered essential services in our county’s current iteration of shelter-in-place. But as you might expect, how we access them looks a little different now.

Yesterday morning I received a note from Canelo’s vet asking that when we arrive for our appointment, we call their office from the car to let them know we have arrived. They will send a tech out to our car to carry Canelo (in his carrier) inside the office for us. Since their parking lot is small, we have been asked to run other errands while the examination takes place. When it’s done, they will call us to arrange a time for us to pick Canelo up.

Pickup follows a similar procedure. We call the office, they bring medicines, prescription food, and most importantly, the cat himself out to our car for us.

I’m letting you know, in case your local vets adopt a similar arrangement, if they haven’t already.

Orange cat huddles inside a Michael's cardboard shipping box.
“Look, CatMom, let’s make a deal. I’ll shelter in this box and you don’t take me to the vet.” (Photo: Shala Howell)

If you’d like to read more about how to take care of your pets during this deeply strange and unsettling time, this New York Post article, “How to care for dogs and cats during coronavirus,” is a reasonable place to start. Being the New York Post, naturally it opens with a photograph of a dog wearing what can only be a completely ineffective and wildly unsanitary face mask.

Senior hours at the local grocery store

Several stores have established special shopping hours for seniors, pregnant women, and other at-risk people at their stores. In the Bay Area, Whole Foods, Safeway, Target, Albertson’s, Rainbow Grocery, Piedmont Grocery, and Zanotto’s Family Market have all established special Senior Only shopping hours on various days of the week. The hours tend to occur during the first hour of the shopping day, when the store is naturally in its cleanest and most fully-stocked state. Hours and days vary from store to store.

If you fall in a higher risk category but don’t live in the Bay Area, I encourage you to call your preferred grocery store and pharmacy and ask them if they are planning to or have already established similarly protected shopping hours for their at-risk customers.

Read more about the specific hours set aside for higher-risk Bay Area shoppers: “Whole Foods, Safeway among Bay Area grocery stores offering seniors-only hours” (SF Gate, 18 March 2020)

A note of encouragement

Jenny Lawson, aka The Bloggess, is sometimes profane, but she’s also reliably funny, and on St. Patrick’s Day, quite encouraging. Her St. Patrick’s Day post, “It’s going to be okay, y’all. Let’s play” opened with this reminder:

“Right now many of us are settling into a long and somewhat unsettling bout of social distancing or quarantines and the world is scary.  So first off, here is a reminder that whatever you feel is okay to feel.  If you’re scared or sad or relieved or silly or laughing or crying or a combination of all of them in rapid succession that is perfectly human and I salute you.”

– Jenny Lawson, The Bloggess, 17 March 2020

She then paints a ridiculous picture of the moment when she and the only other person in the dog park shouted dibs across the lawn to each other, staking claims to their respective 20 square feet of grass. “I’M NOT SICK BUT DON’T COME OVER HERE!”

Sometimes it’s good to be reminded that our timeline still offers its share of weird but funny moments.

Read the rest of Jenny Lawson’s post.

Today’s pandemic project

The Thirteen-Year-Old has decided that she wants to redo her room, so for the rest of this week, she will be using the afternoons to sort through her things, setting aside stuff she no longer needs to donate for storage in the garage (are donations considered essential errands?), and restocking her room with just the things she uses every day or takes comfort in.

There will be no photos associated with this project.

Today’s tidbit of Twitter humor

Emily @OtherPens posted a thread this week of how various Jane Austen characters would cope with the pandemic and/or being in quarantine. Many of the entries are hilariously spot on. Take, for example, this one about Mrs. Bennet from Pride & Prejudice:

Text reads: "Mrs. Bennet - Tries to get all her daughters tested for COVID-19 so they can meet doctors." Image is of Brenda Blethyn, dressed as Mrs. Bennet from the 2005 film version of Pride and Prejudice.
Emily’s tweet, in case you can’t read it, says “Mrs. Bennet – tries to get all her daughters tested for COVID-19 so they can meet doctors.” (Credit: Emily @OtherPens via Twitter)

Pride & Prejudice fans will no doubt remember that Mrs. Bennet’s goal in life is to see each of her five daughters safely married before her husband dies and the money runs out. (Longbourn, the estate where the Bennets live, is entailed to nearest male relation, which since the Bennets have no sons, means a clergyman named Mr. Collins.) Her glee when her eldest daughter Jane falls ill while visiting the sister of the most eligible gentleman in town and is forced to remain for several days in his stately manor is still palpable 200 years later. Mrs. Bennet loves it when a plan comes together.

Editorial note

Over the next few days, I will begin rolling out those education resources I promised earlier this week.

I just started tracking these types of resources on March 14, and already I can tell there’s an overwhelming number of helpful people out there. So rather than make one enormous list on a single page, I decided to treat this as a blog-within-a-blog, write a new post to track each type of resource, categorize all those posts under Educational Resources, and make the Educational Resources category to the quick links at the top of this blog.

Ideally, this means that you will be able to open the Educational Resources section of the Caterpickles website, see a list of the resource types, and jump directly to the page listing the types of things you’re looking for.

Still, this isn’t a perfect method. Anyone who follows this blog by email is going to get a lot of emails from me over the next few days as I roll these posts out. I apologize for that. Thank you for your patience.

How about you? How are you holding up?

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