The global COVID-19 pandemic has forced people to stay at home, practice social distancing, and live an existence that feels entirely unfamiliar. Millions of people have lost jobs or, if they’re still employed, are thrust into work-from-home situations that require a huge learning curve. People are worried about stocking up but also keeping infection at bay.

On a positive note, many pets have found new homes as isolation has created a high demand for pet adoption. This has had a great effect on their humans, as well: It gives people a sense of purpose and a place on which to focus their affection and attention.

Aside from this, though, there’s another benefit to being around pets during these surreal times. If you think about it, we can actually learn quite a bit from our pets about keeping our sanity when we are under curfews, quarantines, and shelter-in-place restrictions. If you’re having difficulty adjusting to your current situation, look no further than your furballs for some top-notch advice.

  1. Clear your home space

    Cats instinctively know how to secure enough room for what they want to do, and they can be pretty creative about it. They’ll intentionally knock things off shelves, walk across keyboards, or jump on top of the refrigerator (a place where else no one else can reach) if they need space. As for dogs, they tend to snuggle their way into tight spaces whenever they feel the need — even if they can't fit in. 
    If you live with others, it’s likely that you’re all struggling to find that coveted space. Now’s a good time to get creative and find it. You might need to up your game and go for extreme uncluttering by putting belongings in storage or trashing the stuff you really don’t need (dumpster rentals are cheap and easy these days). Either way, the end result  — expanded space to move around — can help you survive this period of isolation.

  2. Remember personal hygiene

    Think about the number of times cats and dogs spend self-grooming. If you really pay attention, you’ll see that they lick themselves more often than you realize. Their routine doesn’t vary much, but they always remember to stay clean. 
    Living without much change can make the days blur together, but it’s important to remember to bathe and shower. Don’t let personal hygiene fall to the wayside during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially when it comes to washing your hands — remember: 20 seconds — and do it often!

  3. Boost your business

    Cats love to deposit dead birds, mice, and other critters on your doorstep to tell you how much they appreciate you. In their eyes, it’s an important statement and a valuable gift. In business, you can take this sentiment and apply it in a way that’s less gruesome. Now, more than ever, it’s important to keep in touch with your customers and clients. A nice gesture would be to send them a cool gift emblazoned with your company’s name. Include a thank-you note and let them know you hope you’ll be able to see them again soon.

  4. Stay healthy

    Dogs and cats don’t usually get ill the same way humans do, but they also have some great habits that allow them to live stress-free lives. While we don’t necessarily have the same luxuries during a workday, the situation created by restrictions imposed to combat the coronavirus gives us more downtime. Here are some things you can do to stay sharp, both mentally and physically.

    • Take cat naps to recharge.
    • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. (Get a clean glass, though; you don’t need to use Spot’s bowl.)
    • Stare out the window like pets do. Meditate and clear your mind.
    • Remember to exercise. Let Fido take you for a walk (or three)!
    • Hiss or bark at anyone that violates the 6-foot rule.

    You want to stay safe during the pandemic, but several of these are good habits you can practice anytime to stay healthy.

  5. Go for a drive

    Quarantine and shelter-in-place orders can lead to high levels of stress and cabin fever, making opportunities to step out feel even more precious. Think about how excited dogs get when they’re in a car: They just have to stick their head out the window and feel the breeze! 
    While you can’t exactly go out and socialize anyplace, you can still enjoy the scenery from the comfort of your own car. Try going for a ride with the music up and windows down — even try driving barefoot if the mood strikes. Bring along a picnic lunch to eat in your car and, once you find a good spot, pull over for a bit to look at a different landscape. A change of scenery can do wonders for the psyche.

  6. Remember to communicate

    Dogs bark at you when they want something … or they might seem to bark into the air at nothing when they’re outside — that is until you hear another dog bark back, and you realize they’re having a conversation.
    Take a cue from this and make an effort to reach out to others, especially if you live alone. Schedule happy hours or family reunions on Zoom, or FaceTime with those you’re closest to but can’t see during this period of isolation.

Self-isolating can lead to negative feelings or even depression. Humans, like most pets, are social creatures by nature. Spend some time watching your pet and see what they do during their daily routines that can inspire you to get through this difficult time. (Worst-case scenario, you’ll pass a few hours being entertained). What you see might surprise you!