The backstory to this picture of a young cat lying next to an elderly dog who suffered from separation anxiety is a good one. Perhaps there was quite a lot of luck involved but the lesson is that sometimes a cat can cure a dog’s separation anxiety and I guess vice versa. If a cat doesn’t cure it, their presence can manage it very successfully when nothing else can.
The story concerns a golden retriever, Lucy, the dog you see in the picture. She suffers from potential, acute separation anxiety, which is not unusual judging by the number of wonderful videos of dogs being reunited with their owners. Lucy’s separation anxiety woes were fully realised when Joe, Lindsey Getz’s husband, took a job which required him to travel more often.
When he got out the suitcase Lucy cried. When he left she lay in bed all day without getting up. She didn’t even want to go to the bathroom. She genuinely suffered from an acute case of separation anxiety.
This put pressure on Lindsey because she couldn’t leave Lucy either. She was desperate to find a solution to the problem. Her veterinarian suggested a tranquilliser but Lucy suffers from a thyroid problem and is already medicated. They were reluctant to add more medication.
Their two children, aged 3 and 6, wanted another pet anyway despite there being already in the household Lucy and an older cat called Bailey. Lindsey decided to adopt a cat as a solution.
An animal shelter in Pennsylvania, Forever Home Animal Rescue had taken in a stray cat whose name is Pete. Pete needed to be rehomed and the description on, I presume, their website interested Lindsey because it said that Pete was a laid-back kitten with a really easy-going temperament.
Lindsey wanted to maximise the chances of Pete getting on with Lucy. We know how problematic this can be and how uncertain the outcome is. I don’t know how you can guarantee it. You can’t. There has to be an element of luck in whether the new resident gets on with the existing one. And when one is a dog and the other is a cat, it’s more complex. Clearly it depends very much on how well socialised the cat is to dogs.
In this instance it appears that Pete was incredibly well socialised to dogs. Although, he was initially scared and hid because he’d come from a rescue shelter into a home with a dog, another cat and 2 loud kids.
But Pete’s laid-back and confident nature served him well because it didn’t take long for him to adjust. He bonded with the kids and quickly became friendly with Lucy.
On the day that they brought him home, by the evening he was lying on the couch next to Lucy. Lindsey could hardly believe it. She said: “He was willing to hang out with a dog, and I don’t know if he had ever seen a dog before. Pete was grooming Lucy’s paws a couple of days after we got him.”
Now to the picture of this young cat with a large elderly dog who once suffered from separation anxiety! Lindsey says that they snuggle and groom each other and play together.
Lucy even gets the toys out to play with Pete. Pete grooms Lucy’s paws. Lucy’s mood is so much better, Lindsey says. She might whimper a bit when Joe gets out the suitcase to go to work but she’s so much better. She said: “They are always together. They’re either curled up by the floor, or on the couch. So I feel like she’s never alone.”
The family can’t imagine life without Pete and are so pleased that they adopted him. He is everything that they were looking for. He’s changed their lives and the life of Lucy (and Pete of course).
Lesson: if you’re lucky, getting a new cat can solve your biggest problem when you love your companion animals as much as Joe and Lindsey do.