Because of the corona crisis we are – on average basis – much more at home than our cats are used to. This changes our daily structure, also for our cats. It can be positive, because the cat gets more attention, but many cats will have difficulty with this change. And what happens when we will be able to pick up our normal life again?
Our cat expert Sonja van Leeuwen from the Katten Academie will be happy to give you tips. For starters: no one has ever seen anything like this before, and no one knows how the situation will develop. This makes it hard to give advice. But of course we can try to prepare our cat on the coming future as good as possible.
Don’t have a cat (yet)?
Then this period where most of us have more free time and are at home more, can be the perfect moment to adopt a cat from the shelter and give him a good home. You can give the cat all the attention and learn him what is and isn’t allowed in your house. Cool! But don’t forget this situation isn’t going to last forever. Your new furry friend will still need attention and will have to adapt to the new rhythm in his life. For cats this changes can be very stressful, so getting used to a new daily structure needs some time.
On average, a cat can reach the age of fifteen year. Hopefully the corona virus is already far behind us then.
Am I qualified?
Do you possess over the discipline and structure to make caring for a cat a part of your life? Not only now, but for the years to come? It’s quite the task. In the first weeks of the lockdown we saw that owners spent more time with their cats, but you’re going to have to keep doing this. A cat can reach the age of fifteen year, hopefully the corona virus is already far behind us then.
Have a cat already?
Then you might have noticed that your cat had to get used to you being at home more often. A lot of owners say their cats sleep a lot, this is absolutely normal. A cat sleeps an average of sixteen to eighteen hours a day, but most days we don’t see them all the time. We also notice that cats develop new habits. Some might hide more while others enjoy the extra attention.
Do you havea kitten?
Then your both lucky and unlucky. Lucky, because you’ll have more time to work on a amazing bond with your new furry friend. But also unlucky, because there are fewer oppurtunities to make your young one get used to the world he needs to get used to.
Socialisation tips for corona crisis kittens
- A kitten might meet less new people. But that can be a good thing, your kitten may not have the perfect opportunity to meet other people or pets. He also won’t experience the unpleasant experiences that can come with it. Of course you are there for the much needed social interaction by playing and cuddling with him.
- To get used to something, you don’t necessarily have to get in touch with it. Even from a distance your kitten can absorb a lot of information from the outside world by listening, watching and, above all, smelling. For example, let your kitten get used to passing sounds like cars and bicycles through an open window.
- It doesn’t have to be big. The amount of stimuli a kitten will experience, can help with his socialisation and the development of his brain. This will create a better ability to recover and be able to handle new stimuli better.
- Indoors there’s all kinds of oppurtunities to get your kitten get used to all kinds of stimuli. Do this step by step and take it slow. The idea is that your kitten gets used to new things around him, not to frighten him! Make a sound with a pan lid, fold out an umbrella and sprinkle a few treats in there for your kitten to find. Put on a crazy hat, throw a towel over your head, pretend your limping, let your kitten smell fruit, make a sound with an empty garbage bag, move the garbage bin or turn on the kitchen mixer..
- Getting the outside world into your home is very easy these days. Search the internet for videos with all kind of sounds that your kitten may encounter in real life: screaming children, fireworks, doorbells… You’ll find it online!
Stimuli contribute to a better brain development of your kitten.
Now you know what it’s like..
You now know better than anyone how it is and feels to stay home alone for a long time. You now might be able to imagine how that must be for a cat. And a cat probably isn’t allowed to do the things he secretly wants to do during his alone time, such as lay on the spite we like to sit like the couch or the bed, have an adventure in the garden or climb the kitchen counter.
Make your cat happy!
That’s why you could look if you can make your cat happy with some adjustments in your house, so that it becomes more of a home for him too. Don’t forget that he will often be the one who has to spend most of his time there. Think about:
- His own blanket on the couch. Preferably a blanket of soft fabric like the one we have for ourselves, but one that no one will mind if there’s cat hair on it.
- A lookout spot in the house or garden where your cat can sit and observe. Think about a chair of a safe cat tree beside the window, this way your cat can observe the garden or street to see what’s happening around the house.
- A toy, or simply an empty box with some cat treats or kibbles in it.
- You can buy challenging brain games, or make one of your own. Make a toy our of fleece. Fun to do with children too!
Cats love structure. Our advice for now is not only to provide enough distraction, but also to provide time for rest. Change as little as possible in the daily rhythm when you are going to be more away from home in the future. This will prevent a lot of stress for your cat. Stress is not only bad for the wellbeing of the cat, but also can cause a lot of behavioural problems. Prevent that from happening!