Pandemic Pets: The Comfort of Cats
Aungelique Wells’ two adopted cats provide lots of entertainment to her and her foster children.
Adding a new animal friend to the family has helped many women and their families make it through the anxiety and the doldrums of being at home.
Like a lot of people, Aungelique Walls, a resident of New Albany, Indiana, has been working from home since March 2020. In addition to her role as a tax analyst for a manufacturing company, she is also a foster mom to six children whose ages range from 2 to 17.
The idea to get a pet came from one of Aungelique’s teenage children, who always wanted to hold and snuggle with the toddler. “We’ve got to let him grow up; we need to find you something else to pet on,” Aungelique told her. They knew getting a dog would require more time and energy than they have, so a cat seemed like a good option.
Aungelique began looking at Shamrock Pet Foundation’s website and found Maggie, a small tortoiseshell cat, available at a local Feeders Supply store. Before she picked her up, though, Aungelique ventured into Lucky Cat Cafe & Lounge in the Highlands just to check it out. She explained her family’s needs and living situation to a volunteer, who directed her toward Lily, also a tortoiseshell. “I got to see what Lily was like. I went back a second time with my teenagers, and they were like, “Yeah, she’s the one,” she says.
They brought Lily home, and several days later picked up Maggie as well. While Maggie is younger, smaller, and more rambunctious than Lily, the two quickly hashed out the domination structure (Lily is the boss) and get along fine. “I think they’re going to end up being best friends,” Aungelique says.
While Aungelique’s teenager was the cat adoption instigator, COVID-19 did play a role in the adoption as well. “We’re all sitting at home so much. My kids haven’t had to do virtual learning the entire time, but there’s been a lot of times when there was an exposure in the classroom,” she says. “I’m just trying to give them something to look forward to.” The cats not only provide the kids with lots of entertainment, but Lily and Maggie give them something to talk about with friends at school.
Plus, Aungelique says, Lily and Maggie are lap cats who don’t mind being held and petted. In a year with lots of ups and downs, calming down by petting a loving animal provides a great deal of therapy.