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Living with pets during the MCO period

Living with pets during the MCO period
Looking after pets is just as much a responsibility as looking after young children. - Photo for illustration purpose
KUALA LUMPUR: Working from home (WFH) is not as easy as many people think, especially when you have young children and pets.

Yes, even pets. To others, it might seem easy having pets in the house. After all, don't you just let them be and you do not have to give much attention to them?
In reality however, looking after pets is just as much a responsibility as looking after young children. A look at the postings on Facebook and Twitter will show that many see the responsibility as similar, for to them, pets are as much a member of the family as children.

Going into 24 days of the Movement Control Order (MCO) period, which means 24 days of WFH, the stories on the social media abound of the struggles that pet owners, especially those with cats, face juggling the responsibilities of work and looking after their pets.
Interior decorate Intan Suhaiza Razak, 35, found that there were many secrets her cats kept from her which she only found out after she started to work from home from March 18.

"It is only now that I am really getting to know my three cats. I did not spend much time with them before but now that I am with them all day, I am slowly learning their behaviour.

"For instance, I was shocked to find out that they could turn the tap in the kitchen sink and would play with the water," she told Bernama.

Auditor Amirul Iqbal Razali, 30, has found that working from home can be quite challenging when you have cats.

"I have three, and the minute I turn on the computer, they come around demanding my attention.

"That would be the time they want to sit on my lap and play, and ask for food, even though I had prepared everything for them. And my work-station has become their bed," he said.

Media practitioner Muhamad Saufee Rosman thinks his cat Ethan loves the fact that he and his housemates now have to work from home during the MCO period.

"He is extra demanding now, maybe because he enjoys the fact that we are home now, whereas previously, he was always left alone in the house. Now, he keeps snuggling up to us all the time," he said.

Muhamad Saufee and his housemates do not find Ethan's demand for attention troublesome, and in fact, he is a stress-buster to them.

"Life is less boring with him around. Sometimes, he does get in the way, but it would be lonely without him," he said.

To these animal-lovers, the Health Ministry's announcement that pets do not carry the COVID-19 virus was good news.

"In the beginning, it was a bit worrying, so it was a relief when the ministry said that pet-owners did not have to worry and do not have to take their pets for COVID-19 screenings.

Nurana Mukhriz, 29, who works in information technology said she cannot imagine being separated from her two cats which she had bred since five years ago.

"I live alone, so my cats 'Adik' and 'Che Yam' are my companions. Talking to them reduces my stress level and I don't feel so lonely during the MCO period," she said.