Staying at home has been tough at times, and frankly some cats don’t like that we’ve encroached on their space, at least not at first…
Today, there are more cat behaviour challenges to conquer, as our world deals with issues that are making us, and our cats, more on edge.
Cats are very sensitive creatures (you all know the type) and they pick up on our stress and fear. Our own tensions could result in making our cats more anxious, and many cat owners have begun to notice troubling behaviours they never saw from their cats before. Our cats may be jumpier, might be sleeping more, or may even be over-grooming as they seek to self-soothe their anxiety.
We’re cat lovers here at Forte so we sat down with one of the world’s most in demand Cat Behaviourist, founding owner of Club Cattitude and author Rita Reimers who is an expert on clever and practical solutions to questions that cat owners may have on their feline companions.
Here are 5 steps that she has shared that can help our cats through these stressful times, and in turn may lighten our own anxieties as well.
Maintain a Schedule
Cats love predictability and routine. Try to keep your schedule as close to what it was before, when you were not working from home. If you want to sleep later than usual, try to keep the rest of your routine the same. Stick to consistent times during the day for work, meals and snuggle with your cat the same as it was before.
Spend Some Time Apart
It’s a good idea to shut yourself in your home office or a bedroom to do your work, away from your cat. Not only does your cat need their space during the day, they also need time away from you, so he/she doesn’t become too needy. If your cat has access to you 24/7 now, they could have separation anxiety when you leave the house and when you return to the workplace. Set up time during the day when you are elsewhere, when he can be alone.
Use the 4 PEGS of Cat Behavior
A sure way to help calm your cat and get him into a good routine is to use the 4 PEGS of Cat Behavior. I suggest you follow this method in the morning before work, and again in the evening just before bedtime.
Play/Prey: play with your cat before mealtimes, mimicking his natural instinct to hunt for prey. Be sure to let him catch the toy!
E = Eat: your cat should then be rewarded for catching his prey with a good meal.
G = Groom: next, your cat will groom to get any food residue off his coat, which in turn could attract predators or rivals.
S =Sleep: lastly, your cat will be ready to sleep, so he can digest that protein in peace.
Turn Off the TV
Your cat was probably used to having a quiet place to sleep the day away, and now you’re at home sitting on “his/her” sofa, watching the news, and maybe getting stressed over what is happening in the world. Your cat is picking up on that, so do a favor for both of you, and shut off the news for a few hours.
Use Calming Aids
If your cat is still very anxious, use a Feliway Plug, Rescue Remedy Pet, or even calming herbs to get your cat into a more mellow mood. This is especially useful if you have multiple cats, as they can begin to have squabbles during times of stress (and even during times of calm!).
These steps will insure you have a calm, happy, stress-free cat, no matter what is going on in this hectic world. Your bond will also be closer than ever before, which will help lighten your own stress, too.