A study into the relationship between owners and their beloved pets during the coronavirus lockdowns has discovered that, despite being beneficial when it comes to mental health, cats may in fact be getting sick and tired of their owners constantly being around.
Dr Emmanuelle Titeux, a vet specialising in animal behaviour, explained that although having pets would have made many owners happy and reduced any feelings of loneliness, “if pets had been able to respond to a questionnaire, some of them would definitely have said, ‘All day long, I have to put up with this big stupid meathead who won’t quit poking me. I can’t take it anymore.’”
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Across social media, feline owners have been sharing how their cats seem to have become “depressed” but, Dr Titeux says that animals don’t tend to experience depression. “Basically, the animal finds itself in a situation where it has no way of adapting, so instead it enters a state of apathy.”
It’s believed that some felines, especially those that are strictly indoor cats, have become more aggressive towards their owners during lockdown as a result of being endlessly cooped up with their humans.
Since these indoor cats are unable to leave what used to be their usual comforts and familiar spaces, they are forced to coexist all day, every day, with no escape.
“Some cats have really had it with their humans. They’re going crazy being stuck with them all day,” says Dr Titeux, who has also seen a rise in felines showing signs of distress such as excessive licking and scratching.
If you have noticed a change in your felines behaviour since being at home more, it may be worth considering changing your cat’s environment as well as the way in which you interact with them. Letting them come to you, for example, instead of constantly approaching them may alleviate any stress or unease they may be feeling.
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