House cats, fascinating creatures that can be made happy with a simple box. (Creative commons image seen in Piqsels).
The pandemic has been an enormous motivation for scientists, who have even been interested in “secondary” aspects of it, such as the changes that have occurred in our lives as a result of the confinements. Changes, which on the other hand have also affected the creatures with whom we share a home and affections, our pets.
These days, cats have been in the news about covid-19, since it has been discovered that our felines can become infected simply by sleeping in their owners’ bed. But it’s not all bad news for our favorite felines. In terms of confinement and forced confinement, it seems that kittens have become man’s best friends (sorry for the dogs).
Indeed, according to research carried out in Great Britain by scientists at the universities of York and Lincoln, many pet owners claim that their domestic cats became more affectionate during confinement.
In the words of one of the participants in the work, Dr. Emily Shoesmith, from the Department of Health Sciences: “Our findings indicate that poor mental health can increase the attention given to the companion animal.”
This increased attention on the part of the owners seems to have motivated the cats to respond in the same way, giving more affection to those bipeds that scratch their heads and fill their bowls with food.
The conclusions of the work, carried out during the 2020 confinement (through surveys of more than 5,000 pet owners in Britain) are curious, since they seem to indicate that although cats became more affectionate, dogs seem to have carried it worse.
The aim of the work was to analyze the incidence of changes caused by confinement in people’s daily lives, especially in their mental health, and relate them to changes in the well-being and behavior of companion animals.
In the words of another of the study participants, the professor Daniel mills from the University of Lincoln: “While it has long been recognized that pets can enrich human lives, the well-being of a companion animal is strongly influenced by the behavior of its owners as well as its physical environment. And social”.
Changes experienced by pets during confinement include having their owners closer during the day, either because they did not work or because they did so from home. In addition, the animals experienced a reduction in access to services such as training classes or veterinary care.
According to surveys, 67.3% of pet owners noticed changes in the behavior and well-being of their animals during confinement. Between 10 and 15% of owners reported that their animals appeared more energetic and playful. Between 20 and 30% also reported that their pets seemed more relaxed. Findings indicate that for every owner who reported a change for the worse in their pet’s behavior, there were three who reported improvements.
In my opinion, it seems logical that cats (with more “home” habits) have been better confined than dogs, the latter animals used to going out several times a day to the street. Be that as it may, it seems that cats have been the great beneficiaries of the pandemic, as long as we have not infected them with Covid-19 while they were sleeping next to us, of course.
The work has been published in the magazine International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.
I found out reading Zmescience.com.