As the novel coronavirus epidemic continues to wreak havoc around the world, it left government officials no other choice but to call for immediate lockdowns, community quarantines, and to practice social distancing in an effort to contain and prevent it from further spreading.
Businesses, establishments and other companies were forced to close down and ask their employees to work from home instead. People will have to adapt to this sudden change in environment. Unbeknownst to many, this too, affects animal companions of pet owners.
So how do pets adapt to self-isolation and and quarantine measures?
Vice first reported on this and asked psychologist and director of the Canine Cognition Center at Yale University Laurie Santos.
“I think dogs are thrilled to have their humans more often,” Santos told Vice in an email interview. “Dogs are also getting more walks out of this scary situation (since many of us can only go outside to walk these days).”
Kristyn Vitale, on the other hand, is a cat researcher at Human-Animal Interaction Lab at the Oregon State University, noting that cats too may be feeling very happy having their humans around so often.
“I think many cats prefer to have human companions at home,” she said.
However, the two experts on animal behavior explained pet’s reaction to having his or her human at home may vary as animals too, have different personalities and background that may influence their response to the additional time humans spent with them.
Though there may be animal companions who would be happy to have their owners at home all the time, some may be overwhelmed.
Cat in particular tend to be resistant to sudden changes around the house, if that happens, they often get anxiety and may never leave you alone.
“If you find your cat stressed, try to give the cat their own space in the home,” Vitale said. “Set aside a spot where your cats has some enriching items, like toys or a cat bed, in a quiet location where they feel safe.”
Dogs may be affected by the sudden change too, but they are known to adapt immediately. For example, new additions in the family like a newborn baby often becomes the dog’s new best friend.
“It’s a change for them, but one that dogs get used to in other cases,” Santos said. “I think a more stressful thing for dogs is watching their guardians feel so much stress and anxiety. There’s evidence that dogs are attuned to our emotions, so I think dogs will pick up on the fact that we’re feeling very anxious and scared these days.”
This is why it would be best to stay calm and relaxed at these trying times. For humans, best you can do is take advantage of this time and do as much as many activities as you can with your animal companions.
Cats enjoy some enrichment activities, while it would be good for your and your dogs to have some walking, running, or even playing fetch.
You might want to read:
– ‘Can I walk my dog?’ and other things you should know amid coronavirus threat
– Here’s how you can include your pets in ‘coronavirus preparedness plans’
– From Reptile X to Pet Summit Philippines: Pet events cancel due to coronavirus