Cat owners' perception on having a pet cat during the COVID-19 pandemic

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PLoS One. 2021 Oct 20;16(10):e0257671. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0257671. eCollection 2021.

ABSTRACT

Restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic may affect the lives of pet animals. We aimed to assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the welfare of pet cats across countries, as well as the owners’ experience in relation to their cat(s). An online survey containing 21 questions was distributed internationally. Questions were related to information about the cat and its behaviour and health, changes in the household due to the pandemic, and how the owner related to the cat. The survey was completed by 324 respondents from 25 different countries. The survey showed that keeping pet cats during the COVID-19 pandemic did not create problems for the owners, except some difficulties in acquiring veterinary care. The majority (67.3%) of respondents reported no changes in their cats’ behaviour. When behavioural changes were reported, they were mostly of a positive nature. Owners who took more measures in relation to the cat to prevent the spread of the virus, e.g., reduced contact, were 1.8 times more likely to report changes in the behaviour of their cats but also 3.8 times more likely to report difficulties related to the care of the cat during the pandemic. Two-third of the respondents indicated a reduction of their own psychological tensions due to having a cat during the pandemic. We concluded that the welfare of pet cats, as reported by the owners, was not adversely affected by the pandemic and the human-cat interaction had positive effects on the owners during the lockdown.

PMID:34669699 | DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0257671