Lockdown has undoubtedly created anxiety and uncertainty for the nation, with restrictions on travel, working from home and now curfews. However, the changes in lifestyle and increased amount of time spent indoors has created more stress and worry for our feline friends, despite their usually confident reputation.
According to new research from FELIWAY® and Adaptil, more than half of UK cat owners (51%) have noticed a change in their cat’s behaviour during lockdown, with that figure rising to two thirds of cat owners (66%) specifically in our capital, London.
Unlike dogs, cats are very discrete in showing that their needs are not fulfilled and tend to hide signs of stress and unhappiness, or use body languages that humans may not immediately associate with stress, which can then be easily missed. Signs include scratching, spraying, hiding, over-grooming, fighting with other cats and even losing their appetite and must be taken seriously when noticed.
Pre-lockdown, only 21% of cat owners said they experienced their cats being ‘clingy’ but during lockdown, this figure jumped to 42%. Similarly, 10% of people reported their cats urinating or spraying in the house pre-lockdown, rising to 18% during the lockdown period.
Pet behaviourist Charlotte Carr stated: “Cats can actually be very sensitive souls and absolutely love routine so anything that is outside of ‘normal’ or impacts their day-to-day existence can be stressful for them. This is because having a routine makes them feel in control and they like to know what is happening and when.
“Cats like to have their own space too, so suddenly having people around or more people around at different times can be tricky for cats to understand and cope with.”
The research uncovered that some of the most common behaviours people associate with stress and anxiety in their cat are hiding (66%), a change in appetite (58%) and urinating or spraying inside the house (54%) - and more recently, pet owners reported a significant increase in their cat displaying these stress -related behaviours.
Now many households are attempting to get back to normal and reintroduce some usual activities into our daily routines, cat owners are worried this will disrupt their furry companions once again. In fact, more than a third (34%) of cat owners are really worried about leaving their cats when the time comes to eventually head back to work.
Abbie King, Head of Brand at CEVA Animal Health, said: “Unfortunately, the pandemic has caused so much disruption to our home lives that even our furry friends have felt the impact. And, with the new-normal preparing to look different once more, there’s a very real pet anxiety crisis pending.”
“However, thanks to the hard work of the research team at Feliway, we’re able to support our cats better than ever before.”
“Through our latest breakthrough research, the team have discovered a New Feline Pheromone Complex that provides cats with a message of enhanced serenity and calmness - meaning pet owners can genuinely help cats cope better with the stresses of modern life and ease their anxieties.”
CEVA has launched FELIWAY® Optimum to help cats cope better with the stresses of modern life, with 93% of cat lovers observing enhanced serenity after one month of use.
To find out more about FELIWAY® Optimum, visit www.feliway.com/uk