The easing of restrictions across Victoria begins the slow return to many ofour pre-isolation routines. This means many of us will be spending more timeaway from our homes. This may be a welcome relief to some, but not to ourfour-legged family members.

It’s not just dogs that will be at a loss with their homes suddenly quiet,their introverted feline friends will find the transition hard too.

The Cat Protection Society Victoria (CPSV) Behaviourist, Natalya Dundovichfeels that we should be mindful of our cats during this time, especially thosewho seek out human interaction.

“Returning to normal routines such as working out of the house and havingchildren back at school will change the home environment significantly for ourcats. It will be a big change for them after spending the last eight weekswith us at home.”

“To make the transition easier for them we want to get them used to shortperiods of being home alone, then gradually build on that so it will reflectour day-to-day routine. Now that restrictions have relaxed a little you couldgo to the park or visit a friend for a few hours so when we are able to returnto work our cats will be prepared,” she said.

Ms Dundovich says we can look for tell-tale signs that our cats are stressed.

“Changes to their normal eating, drinking and toileting habits can be a signof stress. Other signs can include reduced interest in play and perhapsexploring the garden, being sleepier than normal, changes in vocalisations aswell as an increase in neediness. We may also see some destructive behavioursaround the house,” she said.

“If your cat is showing any of these signs it is important to talk with yourvet, particularly if there are changes to eating, drinking or toileting.Serious stress can cause health affects so it is important to get this checkedout.”

“Once anything serious is ruled out we can help our cats by increasing theplay we do with them, especially hunting style games as this makes cats feelgood and reduces stress. We can also get them foraging for their meals,starting with scattering food on the floor and pointing out the pieces. Catpuzzles and toys can also help,” Ms Dundovich said.

There are also a number of things you can do to ensure your cat is okay whileyou are not home.

“Leaving your cats with something that smells strongly of you, like a dressinggown or pillow case, and keeping some background noise such as the radio or TVcan help. Some people like to leave ‘cat TV’ on for cats while they are gone.The food foraging activities can be set up while you are not home too. It canalso be helpful to have a friend or a pet sitter drop in to break up the day,”she said.

CPSV is particularly concerned about cats who have been adopted out duringisolation. The Shelter has seen an influx of adoptions over the last twomonths.

“For those who were adopted during isolation and only know a life with you athome, it is even more important to start leaving them for short periods andbuilding up that time, from a few minutes to a couple of hours to a full day.This may require the help of a behaviouralist,” Ms Dundovich said.

“It is important that we expect changes in behaviour as cats pick up on ouremotional state and many people are out of balance at the moment. We may seesome behaviour that is out of character as a result.”

“Cats are just as easily trained as dogs so if behaviour is becomingproblematic there are always options available to assist you assist your pet.You don’t need to relinquish your cat at the first signs of problematicbehaviour there are people that can help,” she said.

During isolation the CPSV helped lift community spirits through ‘Furever atHome’ a video platform sharing cheeky and funny video clips of cat anticsduring isolation. To find out more visit

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