A national cat charity has received over 3,000 calls to its National Information Line (03000 12 12 12) from concerned cat lovers during the month to date with around 10% of those citing Covid-19 as the primary reason for the call – and many more featuring the virus as part of the discussion.
In response Cats Protection has compiled a visual selection of advice for cat owners based on its most commonly received queries during lockdown.
The tips, which can be found on the charity’s Coronavirus advice hub www.cats.org.uk/coronavirus or downloaded and kept or printed from www.cats.org.uk/media/4443/cats-and-coronavirus-visual-guide.jpg, reminds cat owners of the following:
Neutering your cat: With many vets avoiding non-urgent operations at the moment, including neutering, the charity advises keeping new unneutered cats and kittens indoors. The advice also features the reminder that a female cat can become pregnant from four months old and therefore separating unneutered male and female cats within the same premises, including siblings, will help prevent unwanted kittens.
Going to the vet: Many veterinary surgeries have new procedures in place to assist with social distancing. It is advisable to contact your vet in advance rather than taking your cat straight to them as they will be able to advise you of their protocol before you travel. If you are shielded or self-isolating you will need to arrange for a family member or friend to take your cat to the vet for you.
Be prepared: In the event of an emergency or situation where you may not be able to care for your cat, a family member or friend can act as a ‘cat advocate’ to help minimise stressful decisions. Local authorities have a duty of care and therefore having your cat advocate’s details to hand will help facilitate the best care for your cat if you are not present or able to cope.
Keep your cat calm: The current situation can be as strange for cats whose routine may have been disrupted by having more people around the house at different times or they may be being kept inside more. Cats Protection advises that unusual behaviour from your cat may be as a result of stress. They don’t respond to punishment and it will only make them more stressed; instead provide them with plenty of entertainment such as puzzle feeders or fishing-rod toys and always ensure they have quiet places to hide. More ideas and information can be found at www.cats.org.uk/behaviour
Finally the charity reminds people that Feline Coronavirus (FCov) is a common contagious virus that does not affect other animals or people and is not associated with the disease Covid-19.
Anyone wishing to find out more about Cats Protection’s work, should visit www.cats.org.uk. For any cat related advice or emergency care during the Covid-19 outbreak please visit www.cats.org.uk/coronavirus or call the charity’s central National Information Line on 03000 12 12 12.