A cat is usually a smart choice for people who work long hours because, unlike a dog, an adult cat can typically be left alone all day with no trouble. However, this does depend on the situation and on the cat. Are you giving your cat the best care even though you are a working parent? Here are some tips to make sure.
Keep a routine when possible.
Cats thrive on routine. They like to know what to expect next. It can stress a cat out when you keep unusual hours. If you have a job where you work different shifts, look for signs of problems with your cat. If your kitty is refusing food or seems especially lethargic, you might have a cat who is upset because there is no predicting when you will be present or absent.
Most people can't just get a new job because of the cat, but you can do some things that may help. For example, you might establish a short ritual before you leave for work. Maybe your cat gets a belly scratch and a couple of treats before you go. You might also have a ritual for your return. That way your cat knows what to expect.
Have someone check in.
Cats are famous for being independent, but not every cat wants to be alone. Some cats get lonely for interaction with people. They may show this by developing signs of depression or by acting out and destroying your stuff.
A good response to this is to have someone come by and check on your kitty when you are at work. This can be a friend or family member who is not working during the times you are, or it can be a professional. Cat sitters don't charge a lot of money, and they will come in to spend some time playing with your cat, making sure everything is okay, and keeping water dishes filled.
You may have a cat who easily becomes bored, so make sure there is entertainment available. This can be as simple as making sure your cat has a window perch for bird-watching. You could also leave out favorite toys or put cat-friendly TV on the tube. Young, active cats who have something to do will be less likely to scratch and chew.
Get another cat.
What's better than one cat? Two cats!
Many cats are happier with a companion, especially when their owners have to be gone each day. Consider getting your active cat a buddy to play with and care for. It will keep your cat occupied when you are away and add another furry fluffball to your life.
It isn't always easy to be a working parent, even to a cat. By paying attention to your cat's signals and needs, you can make the best choices possible for your precious kitty.
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