Furry friends cause chaos over Zoom

By Emma Russell

Student Life Editor

While classes taught over Zoom give students the chance to learn from the comfort of their own rooms, it also gives a chance for some needy pets to make an appearance. 

Sophomore Lauryn Konieczka said that more often than not she has to “kick [her cat] out of my room because he distracts me too much.”

Konieczka’s cat’s name is Cocoa and he certainly likes to spend time cuddled up to his owner.

“He’s really picky,” said Konieczka. “Sometimes he wants nothing to do with affection, and other times he’ll be all over me.”

She said that she tries to keep him off camera during class to prevent any disruptions, but that it’s a bit of a losing battle and her friends often text or Snapchat her to comment on the surprise guest appearance. 

Konieczka is not the only one with a cat who likes to appear on camera, junior Sarah Collins has the same problem with her cat Gomez.

Collins fostered Gomez during her freshman year and said, “he stole my heart after about two weeks,” so she adopted him.

Collins also has another cat whom she named Wednesday to match the Addams family theme.

“Gomez is the one who interrupts my Zoom calls and it’s an everyday occurrence,” Collins said.

“He always wants to be the center of attention and is also super cuddly — he wants to be on top of me at all times. Usually he won’t interrupt my first classes of the day, but after about an hour of paying attention to him, he’s just jumping up on me and will just press his face into mine until I give him attention,” Collins said. 

Collins is glad to have him close to her while dealing with the stress of online class but said “he can get distracting when he does his whole ‘face-to-face pay attention to me’ thing.”

According to Collins, professors have stopped class more than once to acknowledge his appearance.

“Last semester Dr.Windelborn loved seeing him on Zoom calls and always would acknowledge Gomez,” Collins said. “Dr. Windelborn is still one of Gomez’s biggest fans on his Instagram which cracks me up.”

Gomez will be turning three this upcoming November and can be found on Instagram @gomez_the_puma. Wednesday makes a few special guest appearances on the page as well.

Cats aren’t the only furry friends making appearances during Zoom classes; freshman Meghan Cooper’s pet rabbit, Pluto, likes to hop onto the virtual classroom.

“Now that we’ve gotten the introductions out of the way and everyone knows who he is, he’s kind of become a class member himself,” Cooper said.

Cooper feels comforted to have him there with her during class.

Pluto is 12 months old and Cooper has owned him for 10 months.

“I get lots of messages in the Zoom chat room, [Pluto’s] a great way to make new friends,” Cooper said. 

Pluto is actually Cooper’s registered emotional support animal or ESA. 

“He’s got a little bunny-sized vest and everything,” Cooper said.

“I have an anxiety disorder and he is actually used as a grounding tool,” Cooper said. “For example his weight in my lap gives me something to focus on, and he actually nudges me with his little nose to check on me. While him being a grounding tool is helpful, it’s even more helpful that he’s my best friend.”

If COVID-19 allows the return to campus anytime soon, Pluto will be accompanying Cooper back to campus.

She’s glad for the interest people take in her, “little guy,” and said it makes him “very excited.”

If anybody has any furry friends, it seems both professors and students alike love to see them during Zoom classes.

Featured Photo caption: Sophomore Lauryn Konieczka’s cat Cocoa cuddling up to her during Musical Theatre. Photo Courtesy of Lauryn Konieczka.

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