Post pandemic separation anxiety
Did you know vets and behaviourists around the world are bracing ourselves for the wave of post-pandemic separation anxiety cases coming to hit us in the next few months?
Reason is simple, many of us have been at home with our cats for months at this stage! In Ireland and around the world, the lockdown restrictions are slowly being lifted, and many people are returning to work.
Although we know that cats are reasonably independent animals, the sudden drastic changes this year (both directions!) can still be a dramatic experience for them.
Government regulation varies, depending on where you are, if where you are is still pretty “restricted” with you spending most of the time inside, you might want to read the previous “during the pandemic” post.
If where you are is “opening up”, then this post now is what you need.
As a cat behaviorist and cat parent myself, I know how important it is for cat owners to make their feline family members happy! And I want to help you and your cat cope with 3 useful tips for post-pandemic feline separation anxiety:
1. I’m sure your cat received tons of attention and extra love from you the past few months! And now that you’re going back to work, they may be expecting the same amount of attention. It’s important that you establish a routine for your cat so they when to expect attention from you. Studies shown that having a routine is helpful for all forms of anxiety – both humans and cats! You don’t need to make it super complicated. Try to incorporate the cat’s routine with your routine. For example, play with them a couple of minutes before and after work everyday. The key is – be consistent.
2. Your cats have also got used to the noise around the house and having people around. Another tip is to have a timer on your TV or radio, so it can be set up to turn on and off at certain times in the day when you’re not at home. I have clients who use voice recording of their own voice. You might want to explore that option if you can use voice recording to incorporate with your smart home technology so that your voice will come up a few times a day.
3. Try to use a cat camera! Camera is a bit of a misnomer at this point as pet “cameras” these days can serve many functions. Some of them allow you to play with laser pointer games your cat (always stop your laser point on a toy so that your cat can successfully “catch” their prey in order to prevent frustration) There are also cameras where you can drop your cat treats using an App on your phone. This will be a great interactive way to see what they’re up to, talk with your cats during the day so they can hear your voice. Check out this one and this one.
4. Think about hiring a cat sitter for a few weeks to do mid-day drop in. Not only you are giving your local cat sitter some much needed work (they haven’t worked for several months at this stage!) it will also help your cat slowly “wane” off human attention.
5. Some workplaces are required to do that due to social distancing rule and that they can’t have full staff back in the premises yet. If possible, explore the option to work from home part of your week.
6. Keep your cat busy by doing “hunting games” with them. Use commercial food puzzles like this or this or DIY options.
7. Spending quality time with your cat when you can. Catnip, treats, playtime can do always do a lot of good.
8. If you notice significant anxiety, think about Feliway.
9. If you are in need of professional assistance, contact a behaviourist. I now offer virtual consultation globally to anyone who is in need of help. I offer 10 minutes FREE assessment before you decide if you want to book for a full hour consultation.
I explained more about post-pandemic anxiety and gave some extra tips on my Youtube channel. You can check the video here.
If you want even more information and be well-prepared to handle situations like this for the wellbeing of your feline friend, you can sign up to the webinar “Cat’s mental health during lockdown, and after?” https://maowacademy.com/p/cat-s-mental-health-during-lockdown-and-after
Let me know if you have any questions! 😸