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Cats Back to School Blues – 6 Ways to Prep Your Cat

Written by: Lorre Luther

Last Updated on February 19, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

cat lying on desk behind the laptop

Cats Back to School Blues – 6 Ways to Prep Your Cat

Cat owners get the chance to spend lots of time with their buddies during summer vacation, which most cats absolutely love and quickly get used to! However, some cats may not react well to the changes that come when school starts up again.

Thankfully, there are a few simple ways to make the transition easier on your companion, such as giving them time to adjust to new routines and ensuring they have more than enough activities to keep them engaged and entertained when school starts up again. Here are six ways to help prep your cat to keep the back-to-school blues at bay.

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The 6 Ways to Prep Your Cat for the Back-to-School Blues

1. Adjustment Periods

Cats are creatures of habit, and most aren’t fans of big changes to their routine. That doesn’t mean your cat won’t cope with minor or even moderate changes in their environment, particularly if done gradually. Some cats may take new situations in stride, provided they’re given enough time to adjust. If the change is sudden or severe, your cat will be impacted by change more significantly.

Consider implementing routine changes far in advance so your cat has time to adapt without becoming stressed. If feeding times are going to shift once school starts, for example, implementing those changes well before the big day rolls around can be helpful.

a man feeding his domestic cat
Image Credit: Jaromir Chalabala, Shutterstock

2. Toys

Cats who spend lots of time alone benefit from having several activities to keep them busy; it may decrease their boredom and frustration. Food puzzles and slow-feeding set-ups can keep cats engaged since they require pets to use their brains and paws to get treats and snacks.

Simple mouse toys, springs, and balls allow cats to enjoy a bit of self-motivated physical activity, but there are also electronic battery-powered toys that wiggle, move, and make noise to tap into cats’ instincts and encourage them to play. However, some cats should not be left unsupervised with some of the toys, particularly young cats and kittens that may chew on them and inadvertently or purposefully try and swallow pieces of them. This requires prompt veterinary attention.

3. Hangouts

Make sure your cat has a comfortable bed and snoozing places where they can rest, relax, and wait for you and your family to return. Cats spend most of their time napping, particularly when their favorite humans are out of the house, so ensuring they have plenty of pleasant places to hang out and snooze can help them adapt to the changes.

Bolster beds are ideal for cats who like to lean against a soft surface when napping, and molded foam beds provide support and the feeling of being partially surrounded.

Many cats enjoy hanging out in enclosed spaces such as cat houses, but DIY designs made with cardboard boxes are often just as popular.

cat in a cardboard box
Image Credit: Cat Box, Shutterstock

4. Entertainment

Cats, like people, benefit from having access to fun activities that keep them entertained. Placing perches and beds in front of windows allows cats to stay on top of neighborhood comings and goings, which can go a long way toward providing mental stimulation and keeping them from becoming bored and stressed. Leaving the TV on with a nature documentary or bird sounds may also work for some cats.

Ensuring your cat has access to plenty of scratching posts can also keep them happy once school begins and they start spending more time alone. Some cat trees double as entertainment centers and feature built-in scratching options, toys, and high-napping places.

5. New Routines

Cats become accustomed to receiving love and affection at specific times during the day, like right after dinner or before bedtime. When classes start up again, schedules tighten up a bit, which can leave less time for play sessions and cuddles.

Establishing new play and cuddle times ensures the activities remain on the schedule even as the demands of school and work increase and kick into high gear. Regular play and cuddle times allow cats to glide right into new routines.

woman relaxing with her tabby cat on a sofa
Image Credit: U__Photo, Shutterstock

6. Extras

Don’t forget to have a few special treats and surprises for your cat so you can include them in the joy of those first special days and weeks when the kids go back to school.

A tasty wet food breakfast on the big day, followed by a brief interactive play session and a loving cuddle, may help your cat feel included in the joyful energy as everyone gets ready for a brand-new experience.

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Cats become attached to the people they love and spend time around, so it’s not surprising that the sudden absence of their favorite people can cause some to feel discombobulated.

There are a few things you can do to make the back-to-school transition easier for your cat to sail through, such as providing time for them to make adjustments and establishing new playtime and cuddle routines. Giving them toys to stay busy and comfortable places to relax can also help cats stay happy when school kicks into high gear and you and the kids are gone during the day.

Featured Image Credit: MariaBorovkova, Shutterstock

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