Almost 1/5 of the world population is on lockdown. Within this category are many cat owners who would normally be out at work being forced to either work from home, home school their children, or are in self isolation due to illness. In addition to this, there is so much more stress and anxiety in our daily lives than there was previously. This is a huge impact on our lives, but what kind of impact does this have on our cats?
Without realising it, we depend more on our pets during this time than we possibly ever have. Because of the government’s new rules, there are probably more people in your house for longer periods of time than there used to be. This is a big change for your cat which affects a range of different aspects of their life.
- Changes to their normal routine
- Increased interactions with people
- Having to share their territory more
- Food, water and litter trays may now be in areas that have high traffic
- Increase in stress related illnesses such as cystitis.
As a Silver Pet Friendly Clinic, we are here to give you some helpful tips on keeping your cat stress free. These are the 5 main areas to focus on to ensure your cat’s routine is changed as little as possible.
Provide a safe place for your cat to retreat to
A full house can be very noisy, and active. This can be very stressful for a cat that is used to having few people or no one in the house through the day. It may be that their normal rest area is no longer available due to more people being around or that the area has become more noisy. A quiet place for them to go to is the best opportunity for rest and relaxation. In this area, you should provide vantage points and hiding areas which are comfortable enough to attract the cat to. It is important that your cat is not disturbed during their time in this area.
Provide multiple and separate key environmental resources
When we talk about ‘environmental resources’ we mean things like food and water bowls, and litter trays. It may be that these essentials are now located in busy areas of the house and the cat is more reluctant to use them. This is even more crucial to be aware of in multi cat households. Therefore, all resources should be provided in separate, quiet and secluded areas where the cat likes to spend a lot of their time. In addition to this, the resource quantity should be increased – as a rule 1 per cat in the household (e.g. 1 food bowl, 1 water bowl and at least 1 litter tray per cat). It is also important to note that during this time you should try and keep your cat’s food and litter substrate the same where possible to avoid any stress.
Provide opportunities for play
Where some owners may have been working all day and didn’t have time for a lot of activity with their cat, being at home more may provide more opportunities to encourage play with your cats. It is recommended to engage in short play sessions and allow the cat to stop when they desire. In additions to this, independent use toys and activity feeders/puzzle bowls can be provided to help keep your cat active. You could even encourage your children to get involved with rod type toys to play with your cat. If your cat is an outdoor cat, they should be allowed to still go outside as this will help them to use predatory activities that they may be used to. Because of this, please be sure to wash your hands before and after touching your cat.
Provide the correct level of interaction with your cat
It is important to note that cats can be just like people with regards to their level of sociability. Because of this, you must be mindful of your cat’s day to day routine and where you fit into it.
For some cats, people being at home through the day will be more stressful, especially if you have young children. Please be sure to monitor your child’s interactions with your cat, as you must be careful that neither party is harmed during this time.
Some cats may love all the extra attention, but it is recommended to have frequent, short bursts of interactions with your cat and be sure to either let your cat come to you for affection or call on your cat to give them the option. This will help you keep your cat’s routine as normal as possible.
Be sure to read your cat’s body language. Purring, head bumping and a vertical tail gives you the green light, but a swishing tail, flat ears and swiping is a definite red light!
Provide an environment that respects the important of your cat’s sense of smell
Smell is a cat’s primary sense and is very important in their daily routine. By rubbing up against objects in their house, they leave a ‘facial mark’ which is their way of familiarising their surroundings. There have been a lot of recommendations on social media that now is the time to be doing DIY, redecorating, and deep cleaning. However, this may have a major effect on your cat’s routine and this will create unfamiliar and scary new smells in their territory. If you do plan on doing any of these things, be sure to do them slowly. For example, clean one area of the house at a time, and introduce new objects slowly. It is important that any of your cat’s furniture stays the same during this time of high stress, and adding additional furniture if needed. There are also some de-stress sprays and diffusers which are available for you to use within your house to give you a helping hand such as Pet-Remedy and Feliway.
It is important that if you have any worries about your cat or need any further advice that you contact us at the practice on 01450 372038.