Many of the American cats may be suffering during the pandemic – and the problem could be too much love.
“It’s all about cat stressful behaviors,” says Jenni Grady, DVM, who works at the Community Medical Center that is part of Tufts University’s Cummings Veterinary Medical Center in North Grafton, Massachusetts. Dr. Grady says that stress in cats can mimic a urine tract infection, which is where cats go in and out of their crate a lot.
“Any change that is unusual, even if it’s a positive change, can be stressful,” she says. “And cats that have been alone but suddenly find a lot of people nearby due to the pandemic could be stressful. Dogs thrive on all that extra attention, but cats? Not really.”
In other words, the Covid-19 pandemic, with its lockdown, changed work patterns and homeschooling, was not easy for our pets either. Veterinarians across the country have reported an increase in stress-related ailments, as well as kennel cough and a bacterial disease called leptospirosis caused by exposure to standing water. Cats, in particular, may have found themselves in situations they have never seen in their lives – like too many people trying to hug them.
Here are the pandemic trends that veterinarians tell us:
An increase in some immunizations, especially for leptospirosis and kennel cough. Kerry Young, DVM of the Rutherford Veterinary Clinic in Dallas, advises patients to pay special attention to admissions for their locations, such as Lyme disease, if they are in the northeast.
Busy clinics and emergency rooms in some parts of the country. Traffic had declined by up to 25 percent at the beginning of the pandemic, reports the AVNA, but it recovered quickly. Dr. Young says she didn’t see this in Dallas, but Drew Sullivan, DVM, says it was common in his Chicago practice, which is part of the University of Illinois Clinic. In the early days of the pandemic, restrictions meant veterinarians schedule fewer appointments, while an increase in puppy and kitten adoptions over the past year meant more patients were seen. Dr. Sullivan says, “We were crazy busy and that was a surprise.”
Continuing care, especially for heartworms and fleas. The owners did not stop giving treatments despite the cost. Dr. Grady reports that flea is currently still popular with cats.
Featured image: Kirill Busargin / Getty Images
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