The Rag | Living

5 Lockdown Life Lessons From My Two Cats

Feline inspired self-care for sheltering in place

Ruth Terry
8 min readApr 29, 2021


Two cats on a red chair
That’s Lily (left) and Minik (right) last year when they were tween-age.

As vaccine-privileged folks are blowing up Instagram with maskless party pics and vacation photos, people in many parts of the world, including Turkey, where I live, are retreating back into lockdown.

Despite my natural extroversion and frequent pre-pandemic travel, I’ve been OK in lockdown. Living and working overseas, I was already used to using platforms like WhatsApp and Zoom to connect with family and friends and to work remotely.

WhatsApp even presented a lockdown silver lining this year: through a WOC group, I’ve connected with women who live far enough away from me in Istanbul that I never would have met them in person. I’m also very blessed to live with a partner and have access to greenspace—a real luxury in Istanbul—and streaming services.

My lockdown experience has been relatively cushy, but there’s still a learning curve to being my best pandemic-era self. It’s still a work in progress, but I’m inching closer to best-self status with these lockdown lessons from two very special cats, Minik and Lily. These tabbies may only be a year old but they’re already a veritable furry font of collective wisdom.

1. Our bodies were meant to move

Cats are crepuscular, which means they are most active in the twilight hours. Lily and Minik go bonkers every day when they want breakfast, around 6 a.m., and at bedtime. They tear around the house like little hellions and use our tired bodies as springboards to pounce on one another.

We live in a larger place now, but early in the pandemic all four of us shared about 400 square feet. Lily used the vertical space, becoming a champion climber who likes to jump onto our shoulders and hop into open cabinets. “Your apartment is never too small for a workout,” says Lily, with a meow.



Ruth Terry

American freelancer in Istanbul writing about culture, mental health, race & travel. Bylines everywhere from Al Jazeera to Zora. Tw: @Ruth_Terry | IG: