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Edited by Ann Marie Elpa 

You’ve probably never spent more time at home than you have this year. For me, and many other students, that looks like sitting in my empty apartment, pretty much all day and all night. My course load, while heavy, doesn’t have too much active screen time per day, and “seeing my friends” in class translates to seeing their concentrated, listening faces in their little zoom squares, but barely interacting with them at all. I’m bored and lonely. 

If there ever was a perfect time to become a dog/cat mom, it’s now. 


There are a ton of benefits to owning a pet, as I’m sure you know. However, the financial responsibility, and the amount of time that a new pet can take up are serious things to consider. The time commitment is the kicker; cats and dogs can live for upwards of ten years, and for that time, you will be the most important thing in their life! All that they want is to spend time with you at home, and let’s face it, you’ve got that time now. 

As of right now, I am petless, but, I will say that I’ve been looking at a lot of puppies online. However, my close friend Emily, is a new cat mom to a ridiculously cute orange kitten, Brian. I wanted to get her perspective, and asked her some questions about her new “baby”. 


Olivia: When did you first start seriously thinking about getting a pet?

Emily: I’ve always wanted a pet, for my entire life! But when my parents and I lived together, we always traveled in the summer to visit family overseas, so having a pet wasn’t really a practical choice. I started seriously considering getting a pet when my mental health became an ongoing issue for me and I was additionally stuck at home.


O: What made you want a pet?

E: I feel a lot happier around animals, and once I became more exposed to cats in particular I realized how relaxing and therapeutic they are to be around!


O: Where did you look for pets? Where/How did you end up getting yours? 

E: I looked for pets online at shelters and on kijiji. I was really open to most types of cat, as long as they were affectionate, and I found my little kitty on kijiji from a local farm, where kittens had just been born!


O: Tell me about your new little buddy

E: My kitten’s name is Brian :) he’s about 3 months old, he has beige / orange fur with some stripes, and beautiful blue eyes. He is such a sweet and loving little kitty who loves to cuddle but also loves exploring and playing. He’s seriously my perfect match!


O: Has having a kitten around made home a happier place to be? 

E: Having a kitten has transformed my home life. I am so much happier to be at home for school now, and when I come home from being out he is such sweet company.


O: Let’s talk about the ever important naming process. How did you pick Brian’s name? Were there any other names you were considering?

E: I thought a lot about his name, and originally I considered some orange-themed food names (carrot, pumpkin, etc). I also considered keeping the name the farm gave him (Sunshine ?) but as I was driving him home with me one of my favourite songs called Brian’s Movie came on, and the feeling of the song perfectly matched his calm personality.


O: Do you have any advice for people who are thinking about getting a pet right now? 

E: I would definitely say to think long and hard about it, because pets do live a long time and can cost quite a lot of money, but if after considering all the factors you are still sold, I say go for it. It has made me a much happier person and I can’t wait to spend the next 10-20 years with Brian by my side!!


O: If the pandemic hadn’t happened, do you think you would’ve gotten a pet right now?

E: I’m not sure if I would have had the chance to consider getting a cat so strongly, and I’m not sure if I’d be home enough to justify it either. The pandemic really changed my priorities, and now my number one priority is creating a life for myself that brings me as much joy as possible. For me, that includes having a cat, and building my life around including him. I’m honestly grateful for this aspect of the pandemic, as much as it has been a difficult time for us all – it gave us the gift of time for self reflection and prioritizing wellbeing above all else.


Olivia Spahn-Vieira is a Toronto-based artist and soprano. She currently studies classical voice performance at the University of Toronto, and loves performing in musicals and operas every chance she gets. Offstage, Olivia is passionate about food, fashion, travel and culture. She has enjoyed writing from a young age, and finds it to be a creative and fulfilling way to communicate.
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