Cats are getting stressed and anxious because their owners are remaining home all day because it is interrupting their usually solitary existence, animal experts say.
As many office workers continue to work from home, pets are increasingly being taken to the vets for mental health issues.
Animal charity Cats Protection said that many pets were struggling to cope with cohabiting with their owners during the day.
“It would appear that some cats may have become more stressed in their home during the pandemic,” a spokeswoman said.
“Changes to a cat’s routine always have the potential to cause stress, as they are creatures of habit.
“As well as this, ‘safe’ or ‘quiet’ places that a cat could have escaped to in the home previously may have been repurposed as a home office, so the cat no longer has a quiet place.”
The UK’s largest feline welfare charity stressed that the pandemic had amplified existing problems.
The spokeswoman continued: “A cat that is fearful or anxious around children in the home usually has seven hours reprieve during the day.”
However, when the schools were shut, cats did not get this “circuit-breaker” to allow their stress levels to fall.
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She added: “Or if a cat is sensitive and responsive to lots of noises and activity generally, the more people there are at home, the more this will intensify the stress for the cat.”
Daniella Dos Santos, its senior vice-president, told the Times : “Changes to a cat’s physical environment, such as owners having been at home for longer periods during the lockdown, can have an impact on its stress levels and behaviour.
“Signs of stress in cats can include excessive vocalisation, overgrooming, excessive scratching, inappropriate urination or defecation, aggression or hiding away.”
A woman named Joanna said on Twitter : “Today the vet told me that since Covid, they have had to treat a number of cats with depression caused by irritation that their people are at home all day.
“Obviously it is not really funny, but… that is the most cat thing I have ever heard.
“Apparently dogs do not have the same problem.”