• June 10, 2020
Po and Evie love playing together thanks to the time owner Joanna could take during lock down to ease them into living together. Photo: Joanna Thomas.
Three therapeutic kittens and their families now share strong bonds moving into Alert level one of the Covid-19 lockdown.
Joanna Thomas, a self-employed accountant, adopted her kitten Evie from the sister pack the day lockdown was announced.
“Adopting a pet gave our whānau another focus,” says Ms. Thomas.
“We could nurture and cuddle, care, and play with her.”
“Lockdown helped with wellbeing because of the time factor,” she says. “Evie was never alone.”
Ms Thomas says being home all the time ensured they could monitor the time spent with Evie and their one-year-old border collie Po to ensure they gradually adapted to each other.
Mary Leota, a primary school teacher, adopted Harri, one of Evie’s sisters, who brought joy to their family’s lockdown experience.
“It was great to have her join our class online meetings and chats, the students loved hearing what she had been up to,” she says.
“We have been able to take our time settling her into our home and garden,” she says.
“Without lockdown I don’t think we could have had the opportunity to spend so much time with a new kitten.”
Victoria Knight, a prep school student, adopted the third sister of the kittens and named her Hazel.
“I was really missing my friends, but adopting Hazel meant I always had someone to play with,” says Ms Knight.
“Because I wasn’t at school, I had heaps of time to become best friends with Hazel,” she says.
Victoria’s brother, Christian, also appreciated the family addition.
“She was too busy with the cat to annoy me so I could play PlayStation in peace,” he says.
Emergency and general practitioner veterinary nurse Richard Jin says educating owners is part of his job.
“Adopting a pet is bringing a new companion into the family,” he says.
“Animals assist owners with stress relief and lockdown was mentally draining,” he says.
“The animals provided a positive distraction.”
Mr Jin says adopting and caring for an animal is expensive and requires a lot of time, energy, and preparation.
“I always educate the new owner that it can be like having a human newborn, it can be very hard, and you have to be prepared,” says Mr Jin.
“The more time you spend with the animals, the stronger the relationship is going to be,” he says.
“Lockdown, where owners are home all day every day, was a unique and perfect time to build that relationship.”
Mr Jin says being home with the animal in the early stages is positive for the animal’s health.
The owner has more time to observe the animal and any changes or issues are picked up on quickly and they can seek help from the vet.
Going back to work and school, owners can now be confident their new furry friends feel secure in the strong bonds they created during that formative time.