January is often perceived as a cold and barren month devoid of joy and something of an anti-climax after the excessive indulgence of the festive period, but it’s not just human beings who are hit hard by the first month of the year, our furry friends are taking a battering, too.
The Express reports that according to a leading animal charity, millions of our pets are suffering from what has come to be known as “blue January.”
In many parts of the world, the bitter bite of the ferocious winter weather and the dark desolate nights are enough to trouble the heartiest of souls, but when you factor in the post-Christmas cash shortages and that January feeling of wicked ennui and being stuck in a rut, then it’s no wonder January is a most unpopular time of year.
And apparently all that stress and anxiety we feel about dealing with a new year but the same old same old is having a trickle-down effect on our cats and dogs. Not to mention that fact that with their owners returning to work after the Christmas period, pets are having a hard time getting used to being on their own again.
Millions of dogs are left alone for more than five hours a day during the working week with many getting only one walk a day.
Ahead of Blue Monday, “the most depressing day of the year,” on January 21, veterinary charity PDSA is warning of a winter pet plight.
PDSA vet Olivia Anderson-Nathan explained, “Pets face another year of long hours spent home alone, with too little exercise. As our busy routines resume after the festive break, we know that millions of dogs will be left for longer than the recommended four hours, leaving them mentally unstimulated and bored. It’s no surprise that problem behavior can develop if they’re left home alone for so long.”
Cats are also no strangers to the winter blues but their main bugbear is living in close proximity to other creatures they’re not particularly fond of.
Vet Anderson-Nathan explained, “Cats are naturally solitary creatures and, for many, living with other cats can be a source of chronic stress and lead to the onset of problems such as catfights and behavioral issues like house soiling.
“Cats also don’t have enough ‘resources’ to live in harmony, each cat in a household should be given their own food and water bowls, toys, beds, scratching posts and litter trays to be happy and stress-free and then there needs to be one spare on top of this. Dot these around the house so each cat can have their own space.”
So, come on people. This January, spare a thought for that four-legged friend in your life.