This has been quite a year. We’ve had the opportunity to learn a lot of things we never thought we’d need to learn—how to be more self-sufficient, how to ask for help, how to be alone, new ways to reach out to others, new hobbies and activities, and we’ve learned the value of our pets.
If you think this world-wide event hasn’t affected our pets, you’re wrong. It has affected them in many good ways—adoptions are up, for example. We’ve been home with our cats and dogs more. But there have been issues—stress, being a big one. When we’re stressed, often our pets are stressed and I’ve discovered a few things that could help with our stress and with our understanding of some of the behavior our pets may be exhibiting.
Linda J. Write has eased her stress and captured her cats’ outlook through poetry. Check out her books one and two, Lock Down: Cats Write Pandemic Poetry. Available only at her website. https://lindajwrite.com/littlebooks
Jackson Galaxy can always be counted on to bring help and tips to the table. And he has devoted some of his posts to helping your cat through the pandemic. Here’s a good one:
He points out, for example, that some cats have a rough time with the changes that have come with the pandemic. More people are at home now for longer periods of time—in the cat’s space. He says the cat’s “rhythm” has been shattered by the changes in the household. He calls cats “energetic sponges,” and he cautions that your cats may be stressing without you knowing it or knowing why. He suggests a good balance of more enrichment for your cat—interesting new toys, perches at the windows, cardboard box tunnels, etc. along with more exercise play and more snuggling. He also suggests giving your cat his space. Cats, especially those that are used to being alone, like their space at times—just as you do.
Some cats in some households, during changes such as those we’ve endured over the year, will adopt some unusual behavior and much of that can be traced to you—your demeanor and stress level, and habits. He talks about one cat that jumped off a three story balcony to escape the loud music members of the household were playing.
Here’s another link you might enjoy as it explains some of the issues pet parents are having with their animals because of the changes in their own lifestyles. While some pet owners say they’ve developed a closer understanding and relationship with their pets during the pandemic, others have seen behavior problems and even personality changes develop with their cats and their dogs.
For example, dogs that are accustomed to greeting other dogs and people while out walking with their human become a bit depressed, and at least confused now that people are reluctant to pet other people’s dogs. And then there’s the overeating problem that so many of us have encountered ourselves. Yes, our pets are engaging in stress eating and some veterinarians are suggesting that we don’t free feed our pets at this time.
I’m concerned about Olivia’s socialization. We adopted her a couple of months into the pandemic and she only knows people outside of our household by sight–through the windows or through brief moments at the front door. She’s seen delivery people, for example. Will she become stressed when we start inviting in guests? Will she ever warm up to people other than us?
More animals than usual are under a veterinarians care for stress-related issues. On the other side of that coin, some pets are not getting the veterinary care they may need because of COVID fears and restrictions. If you’re aware of changes in your cat, this article may be comforting and helpful. Follow the link below.
Now what will happen when things go back to “normal” and you go back to work and the kids are back in school? Will this create another upset for your cats? Most likely, but can you help your pet through the changes. Possibly. Tomorrow’s post will address possible fixes.