Whether it was daily walks or a new hobby, almost everyone picked up something new as the passed the time during quarantine. Apparently, our pets were also impacted by all the time their owners spent at home, and the effect it had on cats, in particular, was surprising. A new study revealed that the pandemic has shaped cats into more affectionate creatures.
The research was published by the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health suggested that the extra time cats spent being pampered by their humans made the notoriously finicky felines more affectionate. To conduct the study, researchers from the Universities of York and Lincoln in the U.K. gathered 5,323 people with companion animals—such as horses, reptiles, birds and fish—along with cat and dog owners to gauge how the huge shift in their owners’ routine impacted the pets.
At the survey’s conclusion, over 65% of participants indicated a change in their pet’s behavior. Surprisingly, while many owners reported there were positive improvements in their companion animals, dogs had the most negative changes. The full break down includes:
• 10 percent of dog, cat and horse owners noted their companion animals were unsettled by the change.
• 30 percent said they seemed more relaxed.
• Up to 15 percent observed their pets being more energetic and playful.
• About a third of owners, mostly the pet parents of dogs and cats, noticed that their animal companions followed them around more than usual.
With the exact number for cats’ affection hovering around 36 percent, the researchers believe it was the changes in human behavior—the desire for closer physical contact and more company—that encouraged the cats to seek more attention from their owners.