How to help your cat cope with a full-time full house.

The daily routines of American pets have changed drastically in recent weeks, as "sheltering in place" continues during the COVID-19 pandemic. Nearly 40 million households in the United States have pet cats, and these animals tend to enjoy predictable schedules. They are likely used to having a mostly empty home throughout the day, and now that they're sharing space day and night, it's reasonable to expect some behavioral changes in your feline.

Cats will make it known when they've had too much attention, most often by simply heading to another room. If they're overly annoyed, they may hide under beds, in closets, or other secluded areas. Just as with people, it's important to allow our pets time and space to get comfortable in these new arrangements, so they don't feel crowded and anxious.

If you have kids in the house, it's a good idea to give them a refresher lesson on personal space – even for pets. An irritated kitty may lash out with claws or teeth when cornered, despite playful intentions from humans.

While respecting your furry friend's comfort zones, playtime and affection are certainly encouraged for mutual benefit between pet and owner. Experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States say pets can help alleviate "loneliness and depression by giving us companionship."

"Research has shown that cats can provide emotional support, improve moods, and contribute to the overall morale of their owners," according to the CDC. "Cats are also credited with promoting socialization among older individuals and physically or mentally disabled people."

There is no indication that cats can transmit coronavirus to humans, according to the World Health Organization. "We're not overly concerned about people contracting COVID-19 through contact with dogs and cats," American Veterinary Medical Association Chief Veterinary Officer Dr. Gail Golab told The Washington Post.

Dr. Golab reiterated that "the virus survives best on smooth surfaces, such as countertops and doorknobs," and that "porous materials, such as pet fur, tend to absorb and trap pathogens, making it harder to contact them through touch." (This is a good time to polish up on your effective disinfecting tips as well, because improper use of disinfectants may simply be spreading dangerous germs around rather than killing them.)

Comparatively, cats in quarantine don't have the same restrictions on physical activity that dogs might. They generally spend their entire lives inside the house (unless they're outdoor cats, of course). Many cats have ways of expending their excess energy each day, often running frantically (and randomly, it seems) around the house or up and down the stairs 25 times a day.

Many cats deal with stress by relieving themselves outside the litter box. This frequently occurs on bathmats, bedspreads, and closet floors. This is usually a cat's way of telling you that something is wrong, so you'll want to pay close attention to your cat's other daily activities. If their eating habits have changed, if they're not cleaning themselves or you notice sensitivities while petting your cat, you should contact a veterinarian.

Few odors are stronger or worse than cat urine. Accidents involving cat urine require quick and effective cleanup to help prevent the problem from happening again. The ammonia-like stench is anything but pleasant for the owner, and can encourage pets to re-mark the area.

Urine is usually around 95% water, with the other 5% a varying chemical cocktail based on the animal's age, health, and food consumption. Proteins, uric acid, salts, minerals, ammonia, and more can all be found in pet urine.

Getting your urine-soaked carpeting, mattress or couch back in shape requires more cleaning power than typical household cleaners are equipped to offer. They can leave behind stains or only temporarily masks odors, making urine stains considerably harder to remove after they have dried. Simple Green Cat Stain & Odor Remover eliminates stains and odors from urine, feces, vomit, scent markings, and more. It's safe for use on both hard and soft surfaces. The formula contains enzymes and safe bacteria that break down and digest these organic sources, removing the foul odors they create.

Directions for Removing Cat Urine Odors:

Remember to always do a spot test on an inconspicuous area before use, and follow label precautions.

Shake container gently.

Carpet and Upholstery - Spot Cleaning

  1. Blot and absorb any excess urine with a paper towel.
  2. Spray the soiled area with Simple Green Cat Stain & Odor Remover. Wash or scrub the area gently and then allow the product to remain on the surface until dry. Restrict traffic while the area is drying.
  3. For heavily soiled areas with strong odor, saturate the soiled area and cover with clean cloth or paper towel. Place something heavy on top such as the product bottle, or a heavier plastic jug of laundry detergent. Allow to remain like this for 4-5 hrs. You will see the stain absorb up into the toweling.
  4. If necessary, repeat this process until the stain is gone. Once the stain is gone and the area is dry, softly brush upholstery or vacuum carpet.

Carpet and Upholstery - Machine Cleaning

  1. This product can also be used in carpet extraction machines. Blot and absorb any excess urine with a paper towel.
  2. Pre-treat urine spots or stains on carpet with Simple Green Cat Stain & Odor Remover.
  3. Mix 3 ounces of formula per gallon of water that is held in the machine reservoir. Follow all usual instructions for using the machine.

Laundry – Washable Bedding, Clothing, Tennis Shoes

  1. Blot and absorb any excess urine with a paper towel.
  2. Thoroughly saturate the stained areas.
  3. Allow the product to remain on the soiled/stained area for approximately 20 minutes before putting the item into the washing machine (re-treat after 10 minutes as needed to keep area from drying). Launder as usual.