Many pet owners have had the chance to spend extra time with their animals while spending lockdown at home. With the entire family being around all the time, your pet may have become more attached to you than usual. It is important to remember that as many people are slowly returning to work, your cats may need help to adjust to a new routine.
A change of routine can cause feelings of stress or anxiety in cats. Stress is usually expressed in subtle ways with cats tending to withdraw and become quiet rather than ‘acting out’ as a dog would. Some cats may start to exhibit unsuitable behaviours such as overgrooming, toileting inappropriately or inhibition of feeding or over-eating.
Here are a few ways you can help your cat to adjust to life after lockdown.
Cats are creatures of habit and thrive when they have a predictable routine. As you are returning to work, your cat will be adjusting to a ‘new normal’. Try to stick to feeding your cat at the same times every day. Cats can become frustrated if they are waiting for a meal. If you are going to be out for long periods, a timed cat feeder could be the perfect solution for mealtimes.
Feeding enrichment in the form of puzzle feeders are excellent mental stimulation for your cat. They encourage natural behaviours and problem solving. You can make your own puzzle feeders at home out of egg boxes or toilet roll tubes. Scattering their biscuits or hiding them around your house encourages foraging behaviour. It is important to ensure that your cat is getting the right amount of food, when giving treats make sure that you are taking them out of your cat’s daily allowance of food. Make sure your cat can solve the puzzle and that they do not get frustrated.
Cats must always have access to clean, fresh water. Cats prefer to have their water bowls away from their food and toilet. If your cat goes outside, it is a good idea to have a water bowl in the garden too.
Use calming aids such as Pet Remedy which we sell in our shop. Similar to Feliway, Pet Remedy can be bought as a spray or plug-in which works to reduce stress in cats.
Toys that can be safely played with on their own like felt mice, ping pong balls or even scrunched up paper balls are all great ways to get your cat to exhibit natural hunting behaviours. These can be enhanced with dried catnip or catnip spray which we sell at Raystede. String toys should not be left out unsupervised as cats can become entangled in them. Cardboard boxes are a go-to fun way to keep your cat entertained for hours!
We sell a selection of scratching posts and cat trees which will help to keep claws in good condition and provide your cat with the opportunity to hide or perch. Cats love to observe the world from a higher vantage point, as they would in the wild. You will also find some cosy igloo beds for sale at Raystede which your cat will love to curl up in. Providing lots of comfy hiding places will help your cat to relax whilst you are out.
Litter trays of a suitable size should be provided: one per cat, and one extra so that they always have the option of a clean tray while you are out. Trays should be placed in quiet, private areas of the house, away from food and water.
To help calm and entertain your cat when they are left alone you can play them calm music or put on a DVD for cats. We play videos of small animals and birds for cats in our enrichment lounge.
All these useful items are available to order from our pet goods store. For prices and availability please email email@example.com or call us on 01825 880252 and our friendly Customer Services team will assist you.
If you have recently introduced a kitten or new cat into your family during the lockdown, they will need to learn their new routine. We recommend that kittens are not left alone for more than 4 hours when you go back to work. Kittens need regular small meals with the amount depending on their age and weight. Make sure you are feeding them at set times throughout the day. Dry food should be left out for them to graze on during the day. If you are going to be out for longer than 4 hours and your kitten is due a wet food meal, ask a family member to check in on them and feed them or use a timed cat feeder. Make sure your kitten always has access to plenty of fresh drinking water in two bowls while you are out.
Check that your home environment is safe for your kitten if it is going to be by itself. If they are less than 4 months old, this may involve keeping your kitten in one large room with everything they will need. Make sure they have access to food, water, litter trays, beds, safe toys, and a scratching post. If your kitten is older, they can have full run of the house as long as it is free from any hazards and has been ‘kitten-proofed’.
If your kitten is old enough, fully vaccinated, and neutered, you can let them outside into your garden. Bear in mind that your new cat or kitten will need a slow introduction to the outdoors, starting off with short, supervised periods. Once they are confident, ensure that your cat has access to inside and outside. Most cats prefer to come and go as they please.
Remember, we are here to help. Our Cattery team are always available to offer you advice about your cat.