If there is one word to describe our pets’ daily lives, it should be “routine.” They eat on specific schedules, relieve themselves in certain places, and expect you to be home at a particular hour of the day. As work can sometimes be too demanding, we cannot avoid days when we have to stay at the office longer than necessary. In an avalanche of worries, one of those that could probably cross our minds as pet owners would be “how to make sure our pets behave at home.” We know they’d all joyfully meet us at the door tails up and wagging, but how do we make sure to manage their behaviors while we’re at the office working late? Here’s how to keep your pets calm - and safe - while you’re out late trying to finish tomorrow’s deliverables
A Simulated Environment
Pets are used to us being home at specific hours of the day. In cases when we are not home to feed them or play with them in these hours, anxiety starts to kick in. Dogs, for example, may excessively bark or start anxiously pacing around. And just like their canine counterparts, cats can also vocalize excessively and start scratching surfaces more than usual.
We don’t want this to happen; and so when you are expected to be at work for far longer than necessary, it would help if you are able to simulate your pet’s usual environment. For example, you can have the television scheduled to be turned on during those hours. You can also activate your house’s smart-lighting and turn it on at the exact time when you are normally home.
Leaving your pet with a toy would also make sure your pet has something to do while alone. Additionally, you could hide some snacks in many places all over your house. This way, your pet maintains a day of excitement and won’t even notice the hours fly by.
Food and Water
Our pets - cats especially - love eating on time, and so when we have irregular work hours, make sure to leave enough food at home. Automatic feeders are now available on the market. These feeders make sure your pets eat their meals on time. Leaving bowls of fresh and clean water in many parts of your home would also ensure your cat does not get dehydrated - it pays to make water accessible to your pets even while you’re away.
Adding an extra litter box would also help. Pets get anxious when you are out too long and may display unsavory behavior when in such a state. An extra litter box minimizes such incidents. Just make sure to make your cat aware of the extra litter box so that he knows that he is expected to use it.
Consider a Pet Sitter
This may be on the expensive side, but if it gives you peace of mind, you may want to consider hiring a pet sitter. Doing so would ensure that someone would be there in times when you need the extra hours at work. Just make sure that when employing one, the pet sitter is aware of the hours when your pet eats, plays, and sleeps. Strictly following these would make sure that the schedule - and the routine - is maintained.
Friends as Alternative Pet Sitters
Have your pets get used to the presence of other people aside from you. You can perhaps invite friends to come over from time to time just to make sure he gets familiarized with these individuals.
When you extend working hours, you can ask any of your familiar friends to drop by and feed your furry pal or to even just check up on him. Introducing your cat to other people ensures that he is comfortable and is able to welcome other sitters or caregivers during extended aways. In the absence of friends who can pet sit, willing and friendly neighbors will also do.
Consider adding a new member to your family by adopting an additional pet. This could work well if you consistently have erratic schedules and regularly go home at different times of the day.
In addition to bringing home another cat, you might also consider having a dog and a cat together. You have to remember, though, that some dog breeds go better with cats than others. It pays to research first. Regardless of what you choose, adding another pet ensures your cat does not feel lonely when left alone for prolonged periods. This also lessens the possibility that he might wander away in search of company, thus reducing the chance that your cat will escape and get lost.
We are all so used to the idea of dogs and cats emotionally supporting us in many helpful ways, but just like us humans, they also need company in your absence. The addition of another furry - or not - friend helps.
Pets that are left at home for short periods of time usually do not pose much of a problem. You have to take note that they love being independent once in a while - cats especially. Being out for longer than necessary, however, needs extra planning. There needs to be a Plan B for every time you are out later than usual. Make sure to extensively plan to ensure that your pet’s needs for comfort, cuddling, food, and play are all accounted for during these times.
This guest post is by M.L.