Connecting with your furry friends in a very different world

PAWFECT: It's the ideal chance to slow down and just enjoy time with your pet.
PAWFECT: It's the ideal chance to slow down and just enjoy time with your pet.

Staying at home may be tough, but we want you to make the most of self-isolation with your pets.

This time spent at home, although in uncertain circumstances, is an opportunity to forge even stronger bonds with our pets, and also allow our pets to bring us comfort.

At home with cats

Keeping cats safe and happy at home will help maintain your favourite feline's health.

One quirk about cats is that some don't want attention and to play all the time, so ensuring your kitty has somewhere to escape to and adequate access to litter trays is important, especially if they're not used to people being home 24/7.

Placing a bed for your cat near your work station or making some DIY puzzle feeders and cat toys can be a great way to spend time with them.

Getting out with dogs

Ensuring your dog still has time and opportunities to exercise is important, and may also mean using creativity to get it done.

If you're well and following all health authority advice, getting out and about for a low-key walk with your dog is an excellent way for you to both relax and enjoy time together.

It is, however, crucial that you observe social distancing by avoiding physical contact with other dogs or humans and also avoid shared spaces as much as possible.

To minimise the risk of spreading coronavirus you should only walk with members of your household, keep these outings to a minimum, take your dog out for toileting only when needed and walk them for exercise no more than once a day.

Try and stay local and walk in areas that are free of other humans and dogs. If you happen to pass someone else, ensure you stay at least 1.5 metres apart. A friendly wave will still be welcomed from afar.

Ensuring your dog is on a lead when going for a walk is all part of being a responsible pet owner, but in these times it will also help to maintain social distancing, avoid dog fights and prevent accidents that put both you and your dog at risk.

Animals housed away from the home

Many people are responsible for animals that are not located at their place of residence, including people who agist animals, recreational horse owners and owners of hobby farms.

It is vital that you maintain the care and welfare of these animals during this time.

You have a legal obligation to ensure animals in your care are provided with proper and sufficient food, water, shelter and veterinary treatment when necessary.

Use this time to really learn what your pet loves to do ...

Enrichment and toys

Ensure your pet has some different toys to play with and rotate them to bring some variety and help them avoid boredom.

However, remember that not all pets are the same, and what one dog or cat likes to do, may not be what the next furry friend wants to.

Use this time to really learn what your pet loves to do - you might even work out some new games to play.

Most of all, use this time to slow down at home and enjoy your pet's company.

Thinking about the future

Now is also the time to think about who will help care for your pets if you contract COVID-19 or require hospitalisation.

Being prepared is important and can help prevent future stress and uncertainty.

Be kind to yourselves and your pets during what is likely to be a challenging, frightening, and frustrating time for everyone.

If you are facing challenges caring for your animals, please get in touch with your local RSPCA to discuss options; we are here to offer support and help if possible.

If you have questions or concerns about companion animals and COVID-19, visit the RSPCA Knowledgebase: kb.rspca.org.au