Driving with Cats

I’ve surprised myself this week with many skills that I didn’t know that I (still) had. Students have left campus (some are weathering it out there), and I’m social distancing at home with my family. I’ve quickly set up home offices, even taped ethernet cable between floors to strengthen our bandwidth, and offered advice on email like the following.

Hi ——,
I saw that you’re leaving campus. Good luck! Georgia is a long haul, but the drive could be enjoyable.
I’ve driven with cats, and here are my tips:
Keep the cat in a travel carrier, don’t let it roam around the car while you’re driving!
Line the carrier with a bath towel, in case it has to pee. If that happens, stop as soon as you can and clean things up, because cats like their space clean, and will start kicking around the towel.
Stop so that the cat can have a pee break now and then. 
Use a leash whenever the cat is out of the car! Cats startle, run, and hide. It will be difficult to get them back into the car if that happens.
Start early, and don’t drive if you feel drowsy. Pull over and take a cat nap! Schedule in walk breaks.
When I drive long distances, the first 100 miles is usually the hardest, and then I get acclimated to the long hauls. 
It’s better to stop and stay in a motel overnight than to keep driving when it’s dark and you’re drowsy. You’ll have a short easy distance to complete in the morning when you’re refreshed. 
Wash your hands and don’t touch your face, of course! But driving is a form of social isolation, so just keep hygienic when you stop.
Good luck! Please get back in touch when things are less crazy.
Japheth

4 comments

  1. I presume you’re lecturing from home? Are you zooming?
    I’d thought about getting a whiteboard at home once upon a time, but didn’t think this would be the cause.

  2. Hi Allen, it’s great to hear from you! Yes, I’m teaching from home. I’m not sure if I could call it lecturing… I’ve gravitated over to Zoom from Google Meet, but mostly for the breakout rooms and built in collaborative whiteboard and annotation apps. Those are great! I’m also pre-recording short explanations (hand cam and whiteboard), but haven’t figured out how to present them in a truly organized way. By the end of this, I’ll be really good. How are you doing? -Japheth

  3. My children (12 & 14) are old enough to entertain one another on the days I have to teach, which is one important way I have it easier than a great many people. I’d rather be meeting my PhD students in person, but they can see my 4’x6′ whiteboard well enough by gchat. I haven’t tried using it with collaborators yet, definitely I should do that! The number of actual COVID cases in these parts is still quite small — we just shipped a couple buses of medical workers off to NYC where they’re more needed.

  4. Oh yeah — I bought a lime green shirt to use as green-screen while I’m lecturing. One day it was jet black, another day the same gray as the whiteboard. Making it purple didn’t work as well, it kept alternating that vs. its actual green, so the jig is definitely up.

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