Without meaning to, I acquired a mouthy six-week orange tabby cat a few weeks before we were all corona-19 quarantined.

My gorgeous but grumpy longhair male (also orange) had fallen in love with my nephew and went to live at his cool man-cave.

So when my daughter, a volunteer at Best Friends, called and said, “Mama, I’ve found your kitten,” I went over and picked up Halo. And she has saved my life.

We’re all all alone right now. Personally, I’m living by myself for the first time in 20-something years. Generally, I’m alone like everyone else—I can’t stop by Dick & Dixie’s after work, I can’t visit restaurants and meet people and write about new things opening to the Salt Lake scene. I can’t have friends over for dinner and drink and eat and laugh the week’s blues away. Interviews are on the phone or computer.

We’re all alone in the same boat.

But—I have Halo. Chirping at the birds outside. Climbing into every box I empty, dragging around old pieces of packing tape with her tail held high like she just won the Olympics, tripping out and pouncing on imaginary creatures in the corners.

Mewing for a belly rub and cuddling up next to me at night with her motorboat going full throttle. When I come home, there’s another soul in the house. Someone to talk to.

I’m merciful—I won’t repeat the conversations here.

I know a lot of people feel this way about their pets right now and I just wanted to give a shout-out to the dogs and cats and birds that sustain us in human ways.

Thanks, Halo, for keeping me sane.

And if you’re feeling lonely and disconnected, here’s my advice: get a cat. Or a dog.

Some people are abandoning their animals because of the pandemic. There are always too many homeless pets.

Best Friends, utah.bestfriends.org/

Utah Animal Adoption Center, utahanimals.org/

Humane Society of Utah, utahhumane.org/

Heck, just Google “pet adoption Utah” and find the place closest to you.