I thought I’d do a bit more of a light-hearted blog post this week; the podcast episode this week is a little dark so I thought I’d contrast with something more fun in the Blog. It was actually writing this blog this week that inspired the Podcast subject.
I have a cat. I actually live with two cats, but only one of them is mine. I’ll go more in depth into mine and my husband’s living arrangements in a later blog, but basically the above statement is true. My cat Rags has been with me for nearly 15 years and she is absolutely wonderful, the best cat that has every existed. That is also a fact and one that I WILL fight a stranger on the internet on…she’s excellent. Just look at her perfect little face:
She is Venus is Cat Form. The Fluffy Goddess. Everything You’d Want in a Cat and More.
Honestly, she is one of the best things to ever happen to me and, though I have suspicions she killed her own brother in circumstances so shady Poirot would be stumped, she is the sweetest little soul. And you want to know one of the best things about her? I also work with her! That’s right, this pink-nosed little temptress is my colleague as well as my beloved pet! I haven’t mentioned it specifically so far but I am a professional Vlogger, I make cat vlogs for a living and she is my co-star. I’ll link below to the channel that we work for. Rags and I have been with Relax My Cat for around 3 and a half years and have loved every second.
But, as with every other member of your, my and a lot of others people’s families, I’m spending a lot more time with her than usual. Not by a huge amount, if I really think about it, I actually spend more time with her in a week than my own Husband…and I’ve had her longer than I’ve had him!
So this week I thought I’d offer some information and helpful tips on being isolated with you cat. Your being at home a lot more might be the best thing that ever happened to your cat or something they aren’t particularly dealing with very well, and hopefully this is where I can help. Given my job, I thought I’d share some of my wisdom…it’s niche but helpful…I hope!
Exercising and Playing Indoors
Though there is something called Feline Coronavirus, it’s nothing to do with the current Coronavirus and cannot be passed on from cat to human. That being said, experts are advising cat owners who have been infected or are quarantining with a family member who has had the symptoms of the virus, to keep their cats indoors, especially in highly populated areas. This is due to the fear of the virus being passed on from humans, to cats fur, to another human via petting or touching. No one really knows how or if the coronavirus can affect pets, but it’s best to err on the side of caution.
Exercising and playing with your cat indoors is going to be fun for both you and your cat (I hope!). Did you know that playing with your cat is one of the best ways to bond with them? It’s true! With you being indoors much more, playing with your cat and exercising them indoors is also a good way to while away a couple of hours (or minutes!) depending on your cat’s attention span. The best kind of toys to play with are the ones that discourage your cat from seeing fingers and toes as play things. Nibbles and scratches do not a good time make! Those fishing rod type toys are the best or something you can throw for them to chase (I know, I bit TOO dog like for my liking too, but our Rags loves chasing her Catnip Banana!).
Playing with and exercising your cat indoors is going to really help keep your cat fit, healthy and stimulated if they are having to be kept indoors too. If you want to let your cat outside but they’re either indoor cats, too young, a flight risk or you live somewhere where it’s dangerous to let them out, you can always try taking them out on a leash.
If you have a younger cat, leash training them is way easier than trying with an older cat so maybe start them young if that’s what you aim to do for the rest of their adult life. Taking them out on a leash not only satiates their feral need to go exploring outdoors (or sniff every inch of your garden, eat plants and poo in plant beds…) but gives you a chance and excuse to go outdoors for your ‘One Time A Day For Exercise’ we’ve all been granted by the government.
Yep, I think it’s the best time to get that shelving unit up you and your cat have been putting off all winter! And that back room isn’t going to paint itself!
Wouldn’t that just be the cutest thing? Your little moggy in a smock or pair of old jeans and a paintbrush?! Obviously (and unfortunately) that’s not what I mean, as fun as the idea is. I’m talking about making things for your cat to enjoy! It might not include your cat in the processes but making things your cat can use and play with is a fantastic way to focus your mind on something other than maybe work, studying or the scary things on the news. Now here is where I pimp the channel I work for a bit more, more specifically some vlogs I’ve done with How-To DIY tutorials and even cooking vlogs! Over the years I have made DIY vlogs for cats beds, easy cat toys, a cardboard camper-van (yes, really), cat cocktails, pumpkin spice latte’s and Easter treats! I’ll link them below if you fancy making your cat something fun:
- DIY Cardboard Cat House
- DIY Camper-Van
- DIY Iron Throne Cat Bed
- DIY Comfy Cat Bed
- Easy Homemade Cat Toys
- 2 More Easy Homemade Cat Toys
I hope you guys enjoy the vlogs, they were made a while ago so the quality isn’t as good as the ones I make now, but hopefully still enjoyable to watch and easy to follow!
Making things instead of going out and buying them is also a huge plus at the moment; if your cat need a new bed, you want to get them a few new toys or treats, going out to buy them at pet shops right now isn’t highly advised. Making them yourself is fun, safer than going out to a store and can even be a good way to recycle things you might have lying around the house.
Help Your Cat Acclimatise To A Busier Environment
You and other members of your family being home more might be an amazing thing for your cat, or it might cause some real stress to them. That might sound a bit dramatic, but it can be a real problem; cats love routine and schedule, not just with things like feeding time, bedtime etc. but almost all cats have their own internal or little routines that structure their day. If you’re out most of the day at work, school or other places you’ll likely not be witness to these routines, but now we’re all mostly in lockdown we’re spending a lot more time at home and around our furry friends.
Because they enjoy their routine and schedule so much, all this major change has the potential to affect your cat in a negative way. Big changes to their environments could be very stressful for your cat, and stress can cause certain behavioural changes and health issues. Rags used to get urine infections when we started the process of moving house 2 years ago and, though moving house and the house being more occupied may be different occurrences, having more people around might have a similar effect.
There are a few things you can do to ease your cat into this new environment; the first and easiest one is to not interfere with your cat’s routine and schedule. If after breakfast your cat likes to go outside (if safe to do so, obviously) and sit in the garden, continue this. You could even join them in a sit outside in the morning sun. Don’t be tempted to give in to their Hungry Eyes and feed them more regularly or provide treats at every dilated pupil; this is a routine that should definitely remain as it is. Over feeding your cat is one way to become their best friend but it’s not worth the trade off (sorry Garfield). Obesity in cats can happen quickly and leads to all sorts of horrible health problems including Diabetes, Arthritis and a significantly shorter life. Boo Hiss!
I also have a couple of vlogs about this…but I’ll leave the shameless self promotion for this one!
Making sure your cat has places to retreat to in order to chill out and be by themselves is very important. If your cat is used to spending most of the day alone, then letting them do that is vital. If you can provide somewhere that is high up, that’s a bonus. Cats love to be higher as it makes them feel safe (and better than everyone else). If your cat really seems to be struggling with having a house full of people, then things like Feliway Diffusers can be a real help; these are diffusers that release a synthetic feline pheromone that is designed to calm cats. There are loads of different brands and they are widely available online.
Here comes another YouTube channel mention: Relax My Cat does exactly as the name suggests; the aim of the YouTube channel is to provide calming music for stressed out pets in various situations. It sounds incredible, but it really does work! Having a track playing might really help relax your cat (lol) in an otherwise stressful situation. Give it a go!
Stay Calm & Keep Safe
This one might come across as a bit obvious, but cats can pick up on nervous energy. They’re good at picking up on any kind of energy or atmosphere anyway and it can affect them in certain ways. If you are particularly stressed or tensions are high at home due to being cooped up together, your cat is likely to pick up on this and become agitated. This can lead to unwanted behaviours such as toileting outside of their litter box or destroying furniture, but it can also cause health problems.
The same goes if you’re feeling particularly nervous or anxious. I know that the news and nearly everything you see online is scary and anxiety inducing, but it’s best for both you and your family (cat included) that you try your best to keep calm and, well, carry on. Being constantly glued to your TV or reading everything you find online will only cause you to become overwrought and upset.
Of course, keep up to date with news stories and guidelines to stay safe, but obsessing over each thing 24/7 isn’t going to do anyone much good. If you or your cat becomes unwell through worry/stress/sleeplessness, getting help from doctors or vets isn’t as easy as it was before this. A lot of vets have closed, though of course they are still available online or over the phone, it’s better to do all you can to stay happy and healthy and make sure your cat doesn’t endure any unnecessary stress or illness.
I hope you’ve found these tips helpful! I certainly enjoyed a more light-hearted blog post this week, I hope you did too! As always, stay safe out there and PLEASE share your cat photos if you want! I’d love to see your precious moggies!
This blog post is accompanied by a Podcast episode and Vlog, though they are about mental health and not Cats; if you’d like to check them out please feel fee:
And available on many more podcast platforms – just search Exercising Depression Podcast.