Cats were the furry silver lining of 2020’s giant storm cloud. People may have been social distancing, but we were closer to our pets than ever before this year. Online, stories about staying home with cats made a nerve-wracking news feed a bit more bearable. Below we’ve rounded up a few stories from 2020 about how cats gave us all a little comic relief in the midst of a stressful year.
Cats have made zoom calls more exciting
The fact that so many people started working from home didn’t stop their cats from wanting to interrupt whatever they were doing. This year, the internet was full of stories about cats hopping onto zoom calls and meowing through important meetings. One clip that went viral was of a cat named Rojo that interrupted a parliamentary committee meeting with his orange tail:
(Video courtesy of The Independent)
The Scottish MP followed up the incident with pictures of Rojo on his Twitter account, for all his cat’s new fans around the world.
More cats were adopted this year to keep us company
If you’ve adopted a cat or dog in 2020, congratulations! Rescue animals were named Time’s 2020 Pet of the Year. Although the day-to-day operations of animal shelters were tougher this year, there was some good news: they saw a huge influx of animal adoptions over the course of the pandemic. There were more people who fostered pets as well, since more people were at home to take care of them.
It’s likely that cats also helped ease the sudden loneliness people faced while they were socially isolating. A recent survey suggested that cats help improve our mental health and ability to cope with everyday life, which is a huge bonus for cat owners when life throws a curve ball.
Weather reports got a lot more fun
The cat of one Indiana meteorologist stole the spotlight in the weather reports he did from home. Jeff Lyons, the chief meteorologist at Indiana’s 14 First Alert, had to set up a green screen in his home in order to keep reporting on the weather. His cat came to visit during a commercial break—and when he told the control room, they decided to put her on TV. Soon after, Betty the Weathercat became a regular co-host of the weather report.
(Video courtesy of USA Today)
On Facebook, Lyons shared his secret to getting Betty to cooperate: “Co-Weathering with Betty. Two hams on the screen and a little ham on my fingers made it work…at least for awhile. Why do I get the feeling I’m performing tricks for the cat instead of the other way around?”
The owner of a chonky matchmaker gets engaged in London
Adam Lawrence and Anna Hosey got engaged in London this year, after meeting on the Facebook group This Cat is Chonky in 2019. Adam had posted a picture of himself holding a fluffy (and slightly chonky) white cat in the group feed, and Anna commented: “Both v v cute.” It sparked a conversation that led to Adam coming to visit her in Chicago last year.
Anna planned to visit Adam in 2020, but when coronavirus hit, she had to postpone her trip. She came to visit him for a longer stay after travel bans were lifted in the summer—and right before she was supposed to leave, he proposed to her! Anna has plans to bring her own cat, Kidden, to live with them soon.
Will we see a cat in the White House in 2021?
In November, the New York Times posted a piece about the pets that will be moving in to the White House with the Biden family in 2021. Jill Biden mentioned she’d “love to get a cat” in an interview with Fox 5 in Washington. D.C. earlier in the month. If they got one, it would be joining presidential German shepherds Champ and Major.
Although there has been a longstanding tradition of presidential pets in the White House, cats aren’t always the top pick. Abraham Lincoln was the first president to have cats during his presidency—he owned two, Tabby and Dixie, and would also bring strays home with him. The most recent president to have a cat was George W. Bush, so it’s been over a decade since there was a White House cat. We’ll have to wait and see what 2021 holds for cat news, but it looks like it will be a promising year!
Happy New Year's from Petssentials
For everyone celebrating New Year’s Eve at home this year, we hope you have a safe and happy night at home—and give your cat a few extra head scritches when the ball drops, for all the fun distractions they gave us this year!