When Catherine Dorman packed up her Chicago apartment to start a remote job in Washington, D.C., in May, it was hard to make friends. Nearly everyone the 25-year-old knew who lived there had left the city to be with their families. Bars, gyms and art classes weren’t options anymore. Most of the face-to-face interactions she has had in the past four months have been with her two rescue cats, Stevie and Louise.

“I just don’t even know where to begin because of how locked down everything is,” Ms. Dorman says.

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