A new study revealed that felines actually preferred having alone time during the COVID-19 pandemic.

By Nashia Baker
July 09, 2021
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The COVID-19 pandemic and its subsequent worldwide lockdowns meant that many people were able to spend more time with their immediate family members than ever before, and this included their beloved pets. While many households grew closer, one member of the family might not have enjoyed the togetherness as much as others. According to a new study from James Cook University researchers in Australia, cats actually dreaded the extra time their owners were spending at home.

grumpy looking house cat
Credit: chie hidaka / Getty Images

The research team interviewed about 400 pet parents and found that half of them believed that their cat was turned off by the fact that they were still in the house with them each day, invading their personal space and alone time. "About 50 percent of cat owners reported that their cats were behaving in ways that were interpreted as being 'put out' by their owners all the time," Dr. Jessica Oliva, a psychology lecturer, said of the study results. "Whereas almost 100 percent of dog owners reported that their dogs were just loving the fact that they were home all the time."

Dr. Oliva added: "A dog was an excuse to go outside and exercise and provided that routine, and also that doing so afforded an opportunity to socialise with other people doing the same thing. We don't see it in cat owners."

Plus, being around pets boosted owners' mood during the height of the pandemic. However, dog parents noted that their loneliness decreased from time spent together, while cat owners didn't experience the same level of affection from their felines, according to the study. Dr. Oliva believes that some pets were simply not used to the change in lifestyle caused by quarantine: "Our pets usually live in luxurious conditions, they have a warm bed, they have toys for entertainment, jackets for winter. But they do lack certain freedoms that we lost during the lockdown—freedom to come and go as they please, freedom to socialise, exercise is restricted to one hour a day."

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