Another useful spin-off for the domestic cat from the coronavirus pandemic is Zoom conferencing. This form of remote conferencing which has proved immensely popular as a means to keep business going while maintaining social distancing is a boon for domestic cats because it combines two things that they like: computers and their human companion.
In a zoom conference their human companion is static behind the computer. They can be with their caregiver. The human is no longer rushing around ignoring them. They get attention. They receive some petting. It’s well known that domestic cats like computers and often lie over the keyboard which seems like a deliberate act to stop their human companion doing what they’re doing and to focus their attention on them.
Computers give off some heat which is always welcome for a domestic cat. Heat and attention are two positive aspects of Zoom conferencing for domestic cats. And the area including the keyboard smells of their human. This is one reason why they lie on keyboards: scent exchange.
Cats can also benefit the person under these circumstances. How many times have we seen domestic cats entering a Zoom conference, getting in the way, becoming an embarrassment to their owner? But the truth is that they are not an embarrassment. When cats walk in front of the camera and become visible to everyone in the conference, they add a temporary moment of amusement to what might be a tense communication. I’m going to argue that domestic cats can improve Zoom conferencing. Do you remember that zoom session between a judge and lawyer in America? The video went viral after the judge permitted its release. Overall, it was beneficial. This was not a cat walking across the camera but it was about how cats lighten the mood.
At worst they can temporarily stop a Zoom conferencing call but at best they can improve the mood during it. You will find some amusing anecdotes on social media in this respect. Here’s one for example:
“Know what’s fun? Participating in a Very Serious Zoom Meeting when the cat realizes that a fly is buzzing around your laptop.” @KFieldingWrites (my thanks to James Albert of the Fintech Zoom website).
It is also probably fair to say that even when the cat is not in front of the camera but out of view, they are contributing to Zoom conferencing. They might be lying on the desk next to their human caregiver, purring quietly. Purring is a calming sound and I would bet my bottom dollar that a cat owner involved in a Zoom conference is going to perform better when their cat is next to them; provided they don’t get up and walk all over the keyboard!
The coronavirus pandemic has been good for domestic cats in many ways. It has probably brought permanent and beneficial change to the human-to-cat relationship. Cats can be with their owners far more often. There will be less separation anxiety. There will be calmer cats; an objective of all concerned owners. It’s not all one-way traffic though. Some people have impulsively adopted cats and dogs during lockdowns and inevitably relinquish them when they find that it doesn’t work out for them when life gets back to normal.
Although, as mentioned, there is a new normal which includes Zoom conferencing which from the cat’s perspective is a way of bringing human and cat together.
SOME MORE ON THE CORONAVIRUS AND CATS: