So Maybe Not All Our Pets Were Thrilled About Us Being Home So Much During the Pandemic

It looks like not all of our pets were thrilled about us being home all the time during the earlier months of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A study from James Cook University researchers in Australia revealed that the lockdowns in that country left “many cats being ‘put out’ or disturbed by” their humans being home all the time. The study’s lead author, psychology lecturer Jessica Olivia, told ABC News (in Australia, not the U.S. network) that about half of cat owners in the study thought their cats were perturbed.

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“We got some responses that the cats were put out with their owners being home all the time and invading their space,” she told the news site.

While definitely understandable, that wasn’t true for all the cats. Some appeared happier that their owners were home, even acting playful. Others were more needy and demanding. Meanwhile, nearly all the dog owners determined their pups were quite happy they were stuck at home with them, she said.

Researchers polled nearly 400 dog and cat owners for the study in an effort to see how owning pets affected Australians’ lockdown experiences, whether they affected their owners loneliness, mindfulness, and depression.

It might seem obvious, but the study found that pet ownership indeed protects against loneliness. The study says that people who responded to the survey answered that dogs and cats gave them someone to talk to and cuddle. Dogs in particular helped combat loneliness. Just yet another benefit of pet ownership!

However, the scientists’ hypothesis that pet owners would be more mindful—the ability to keep attention on what is currently happening—wasn’t supported by the research.

Our conclusion? Let your pets be themselves! If your cat or dog seems put out by your presence, don’t be offended if they walk off or ignore you. They’ll come back in good time. You, after all, are the one with opposable thumbs—aka the access to food and treats.