Tuesday, February 18, 2014


We've had another snow storm for a grand total of 8 so far this winter. Most everyone I know is complaining of cabin fever. Our pets suffer from it to.

Orphée positions himself at the front or back door, pushing his nose against the seam and sniffs. With this ritual I figure he's catching a bit of outside air. The problem is he won't budge until I shoo him away. He also actively begs for food whenever I'm in the vicinity of the kitchen. At seventeen pounds I'm sure he's well-fed and the quest for food is actually a quest for something to do.

Annie is depressed. She spends her days moping and sleeping. With all the snow and ice we can't get out for our walk as we usually do.  Running around on the back porch isn't much of an outlet for an active dog. She's even off her food a bit.

The question is what to do to alleviate boredom, depression and cabin fever in cats and dogs? I have some suggestions that work at least some of the time with Orphée and Annie. I make sure the drapes and blinds on my front windows are opened enough to allow Orphée to sit on a chair or a convenient piece of furniture giving him a clear view of the front porch and fence, the neighbor's porch and a partial view of the rest of the block. I hear him talking to the ferals as they show up for their food and water. I get to watch him as he observes the birds sitting on the fence. He sits, reclines and even crouches as if he's ready to pounce. Open windows never fail to entertain him for several hours every day.

Another way to engage him is by playing with a very long shoelace. I'll pull it across his body or twirl it around and watch him twist and turn. He's very adept at catching it. This provides him with a good workout. Orphée does not like to be groomed preferring to handle that chore himself but he does seek out any available lap enjoying a neck massage and a good scratch around the ears, under the chin and down the spine to the base of his tail. No cuddling for him.

Annie loves to play. A good game of tug or fetch helps relieve the boredom. She will pick up a toy and try to get you to chase her. I do this at a slow pace around the doorways of my apartment. Annie will backtrack to tease me with the coveted toy in her mouth. That game can go on forever; it usually ends when I've had enough. Annie is very affectionate and always looks to cuddle. Doggie massage is something she enjoys. I'll flip her on her back and slowly run my hands over her neck, chest, front and back paws then down her tail finishing off by massaging her paw pads. She practically goes into a trance. After supper Annie likes nothing better than to sit next to me or Artie on the couch and lean against you nudging you until you put an arm around her to rub her chest.

This is the routine we use to alleviate boredom and depression until springtime when we can get out and enjoy the good weather. As soon as the weather improves we will try to get Orphée acclimated to the outside in a collapsible net cage we had for Buddy. Hopefully he will take to it like his predecessor did. Until then, we're all stuck inside trying to make the best of it.

Orphée looking for his buddies.

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