Living in lockdown has brought us many new challenges with very little preparation on how to cope. Change of any sort can be stressful, especially when it is out of our control and the same can be said for our cats. Elizabeth Waring from International Cat Care has given us some tips to help cats cope with all of the changes.
Firstly, it is important to recognise that changes to their routine caused by us being at home more can cause stress for cats. Cats are often very subtle at showing signs that they ar stressed so behaviours to look for that may indicate they are not coping include hiding away, spending more time outside if they have access, withdrawing from interacting with you, increased vocalisation, swatting at your hands or attacking you when you try to interact and any other changes in their normal behaviours such as eating, grooming, toileting or play. If you notice any changes in your cat’s habits it can also be an indicator of pain or other medical condition, which can be brought on or exacerbated by stress, so it is important to always speak to your vet if you are concerned.
Cats are all individuals and how they cope with change will depend on the cat. Whilst some cats will struggle to adapt, others will simply take it all in their stride. You may actually find your cat is increasingly seeking you out for attention, as for some cats having their owner at home more is a positive thing, especially if they enjoy human attention. It can be easy for us to get distracted from work and give into demands for interaction and so cats can learn quickly that certain actions will illicit positive rewards such as fuss, play or even food.
No matter how our cats have reacted to the changes lockdown has brought we still need to consider how to help our cats cope for the duration, as well as preparing them for future changes when we start to return to normality. The following provides some useful tips to help your cat cope in these difficult times.