It’s not just dogs you should be worried about when it’s time to stop working from home and return to the office if and when your employer allows it. It turns out, cats are just as capable of missing you.
The Cat Protection Society Victoria (CPSV) Behaviourist, Natalya Dundovich said in a press release that cat owners should be aware of their cat’s behaviour when they return back to work, especially if their furry friends actively seek human interaction.
“Returning to normal routines such as working out of the house and having children back at school will change the home environment significantly for our cats,” Dundovich said.
“It will be a big change for them after spending the last eight weeks with us at home.”
The CPSV has voiced concern particularly for pets who were adopted during isolation and don’t understand the concept of being on their own.
“For those who were adopted during isolation and only know a life with you at home, it is even more important to start leaving them for short periods and building up that time, from a few minutes to a couple of hours to a full day. This may require the help of a behaviouralist,” Dundovich said.
Signs to look out for to tell your cat missing you
The following signs could imply your cat is stressed:
- Changes to normal eating and drinking habits
- Changes to toileting habits
- Reduced interest in play and exploring the garden
- Being sleepier than normal
- Changes in its vocalisations
- Increased neediness
- Destructive behaviours around the house
What to do if your cat’s showing any of these signs?
Dundovich said it was important to take action if you had any inkling your cat’s stressed. Do not leave the situation unattended.
“If your cat is showing any of these signs it is important to talk with your vet, particularly if there are changes to eating, drinking or toileting,” she explained. “Serious stress can cause health affects so it is important to get this checked out.”
If your vet doesn’t think there’s anything seriously wrong, you can help your cats by increasing play time with them, “especially hunting style games as this makes cats feel good and reduces stress”.
“We can also get them foraging for their meals, starting with scattering food on the floor and pointing out the pieces. Cat puzzles and toys can also help.”
How do you make the transition easier for your cats?
If you want to be prepared, Dundovich explained it would be helpful to start getting your pets used to short periods of being at home on their own. From here on, you should keep building on the time away and eventually form a new day-to-day routine which was common pre-coronavirus times.
“Now that restrictions have relaxed a little [in some places] you could go to the park or visit a friend for a few hours so when we are able to return to work our cats will be prepared,” she said.
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Things you can do for your cat when they’re home alone
There are also a number of things you can do to ensure your cat is okay while you are not home.
- Put out something that smells of you such as a dressing gown or pillow case
- Keep some background noise on such as the radio
- Maybe leave ‘cat TV’ on while you’re gone
- Ask a friend of pet sitter to drop in for a bit
Your furry friends may need you more than you realise so make all the necessary adjustments and don’t leave them feeling stressed.
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