With the effects of Coronavirus and many of us working from home over the last few months, we have spent extra time with our beloved pets. Cats are often assumed they are aloof and independent. However, I am sure as a cat owner you would disagree and have enjoyed playing, giving lots of fuss and attention to your kitty cats during the extra time spent at home. Your cats will have got into a new routine and enjoyed your affections.
Are there changes on the horizon with you returning to work after shielding, furloughed or going back to the office? How will your cats cope with you not being around? Have you thought about how your cat(s) might be affected by the changes to their new routine? Some will take it in their stride and be unaffected. However, some may suffer from Separation Anxiety, which could be a cause for concern.
Therefore, putting a plan in place might help the transition and limit any stress caused by the changes. One solution could be to book a few cat check visits during the day with Alicat Purrfections, your friendly local cat sitting service based in Livingston, West Lothian. Lots of options available, give Allison a call to discuss (07904 209 696) and see what plans can be put in place to give you peace of mind and reassurance your cats are coping. Their health and wellbeing are number one priority and better to keep them safe in your absence. To reduce your worries, updates can be sent to you while you are at work.
With this said, it is important to recognise changes in your cat’s behaviours that may be signs suggesting separation anxiety is present. A common one to note is if they spray in your home when they’re left alone. Additional signs of anxiety or distress include such behaviours as urinating, meowing persistently for attention, and over or under-grooming.
These signs of distress may lead you to think that they have forgotten basic house manners and rules, however this is most likely not the case. Although the signs mentioned above might suggest your cat is suffering separation anxiety, it is important to be certain that this is the only thing wrong with them. To ensure there isn’t anything physically wrong with your cat, it is important to take them to the vets for a check-up just to be safe.
Although the thought of our pets being sad in any way is upsetting, there are methods you can use to help prevent this when the time comes to return to work and life as usual.
Rather than making sudden changes, it is vital that small, gradual adjustments are made so that your cat isn’t shocked by the abrupt return to reality. To help successfully achieve this when the time comes, there are small steps that you can take to help your cat adjust.
The first step is not to stroke your cat every time they insist you do. Instead, try and provide your cat with a toy to play with or a puzzle toy that drops treats when they use it. You want to build up your cat’s tolerance slowly, so that when you actually return to work, your absence is less of a shock. Providing them with a distraction from your company is a baby step in the right direction.
Being in the house with your pet most of the time will likely mean that your pets will want your undivided attention, and it’s difficult not to give in to their adorable faces! However, try and delegate the care and attention you give to your cat to other members in the house. For example, if you’re always the one that feeds them or plays with them, ask others in the house to take over for a while. That way, their over-reliance on you will lessen in time.
Thinking about enrichment in their environment is important as well. It is a good idea to place a cat tree or seat near a window, so your cat can look out the window. Having lots of interactive toys for your cat to engage with is great for healthy exercise and mental stimulation. This stops your cat from becoming bored and starting unwanted behaviour.
Another way to help your cat become accustomed to your temporary absence is by purchasing some pheromone sprays. When plugged in, these will release the same deposit your cat leaves when they rub their face against your leg or furniture, helping them feel as though you are always by their side.
Medication to help severely anxious cats calm down may also be needed at first. However, this should be prescribed by your vet if necessary. Although separation anxiety can occur in cats, there could be other reasons why their behaviour seems different.
If the reintroduction of normal life to your furry friends is rushed, it could severely impact their mood. Although you may feel frustrated and impatient at times with your pet when gradually undergoing this adjustment, a slower pace will help acclimatise your pet, making the separation not as bad as they thought it would be after all.
Please get in touch with Alicat Purrfections cat sitting service covering all of West Lothian if you would like to book home pop-in cat check visits for any time you can not be there.