Lifestyle

Should you let your cat outside and how do you keep them busy during lockdown?

Today, information was released that appeared to suggest cats should be kept indoors while us humans are under lockdown measures.

Although there is no evidence that cats can pass coronavirus to humans, research has shown that cats can pass forms of coronavirus to each other and potentially catch it from us.

A vet also warned yesterday that cats’ fur can act as a ‘surface’ for transmission from human to human.

In light of all this information, does it mean that we should be keeping our cats indoors for the foreseeable?

Should I keep my cat indoors due to coronavirus?
According to the British Veterinary Association, it’s not being advised for you to keep your cat indoors in most circumstances.

In a statement posted to Twitter, they said: ‘There have been a tiny number of cases of COVID-19 in animals and in all cases, it is likely that the transmission was human to animal. There is no evidence that pets can pass COVID-19 to their owners.

‘From the small number of cases, it appears that dogs do not show symptoms, but cats can show clinical signs of the disease.

This Morning vet says you can’t catch coronavirus from your pets

‘It is also the case that animals can act as fomites, as the virus could be on their fur in the same way it is on other surfaces, such as tables and doorknobs. That’s why our main advice for pet owners continues to be to practise good hand hygiene.

‘And, as a precaution, for pet owners who have COVID-19 or who are self-isolating we are recommending that you keep your cat indoors if possible, during that time.

‘It is very important that people don’t panic about their pets. There is no evidence that animals can pass the disease to humans.’

Unless you’re self-isolating, there’s absolutely no reason not to let your cats out as normal, and this can actually be upsetting and stressful for your moggies so is best avoided if possible.

How to keep cats busy if you’re self-isolating with them?
If you are self-isolating due to symptoms – and therefore have to keep your cat inside – there are a few ways to keep them busy.

Toys like fishing rods and chase toys are great to allow them to run and jump as they normally would.

Similarly, feeding toys like those in the Catit Senses range means they can avoid eating too quickly and also get a game out of it to stay active.

If you don’t have them already, a climbing tree or cat tower can make space in an otherwise small home for cats to retreat and play on their own – which is fairly essential for most kitties.

And, if you can, set aside time each day to give them some attention and have a play. Although cats need alone time, they also need stimulation, and if this can’t come in the form of stalking prey outside, it’s important they can get it via chasing a catnip-filled ball around the living room instead.