10 tips to make your cat happy
Cats are known for being solitary, self-reliant pets. To take good care of your cat all you have to do is provide food, water and shelter. Right?
Unlike what many people think, taking care of your cat so that it's happy and healthy requires more than just catering to their very basic needs. And since many studies have shown that pets make their owners happier and less stressed, it is only fair we humans return the favor. The following are 10 important tips to help you make your cat happy.
1- The right diet
First, food. Cats, like all creatures, need a healthy, balanced diet to thrive. One that is rich in protein is a must for cats. Choose a high quality cat food according to your cat's age.
If you notice that your cat does not drink water, consider switching to wet food since most cat foods are dry.
Be careful with what you feed your cat as a treat. It may be tempting to drop a piece of fish meat to your cat when you're cooking, but keep in mind that cats may react badly to some of the food we humans consume on a daily basis.
It's always a good idea to ask your vet's advice when it comes to your pet's diet, as every single cat is unique.
2- Clean, fresh litter
Other than the horrible smell, if the litter box is not cleaned regularly, there's a high risk of some serious illness for your cat as well as you. Clean the litter box as least twice a week, more if you can, to make sure your cat doesn't develop any infections or health problems.
And since cats, by nature, are very very clean animals, they will probably find another cleaner spot in the house where they'll do their business if the litter box is dirty. (Good luck getting them away from it once they decide on a new spot.)
Fortunately, nowadays there are many options for litter boxes that make the cleaning process easier and less messy.
3- Scratching surfaces
Cats scratch to mark their territory, to stretch their bodies and to remove the dead layer of their claws. It may be annoying for cat owners, especially if the cat chooses your brand new couch as a scratching post.
You don't want to discourage scratching because it is an instinctive behaviour for cats. Instead, provide a rough enough surface for your cat to stretch their claws. The best material for a scratching surface is sisal fabric.
To fully satisfy your cat's scratching needs and protect your furniture, make sure you have a vertical as well as an horizontal scratching surface.
4- Affection: petting & cuddling
"Cats are not affectionate": another common misconception related to cats. But cat owners know that's not the case at all. Cats love cuddling and adore petting. Especially if you do the latter correctly.
As you spend more time with your cat, you come to know when and where your pet likes to be petted. This simple gesture will make your cat happy and build a bond between you and your beloved pet.
Remember, sometimes your cat can show signs of displeasure or stress when you pet them a little too much. So make sure you watch your cat's body language: tail, ears and purring, and keep your grubby hands to yourself when they're not welcome.
5- A cat friendly house
Cats love being in high places. You may have noticed how your cat will go out of its way to find places that are far off the ground to lounge in. It's an instinctive behaviour, a survival and hunting technique adopted by their feral ancestors.
There are countless types of cat trees and cat shelves that provide good perching spots for your cat.
It's also a good idea to arrange your furniture in a way that allows your cat to travel around the house while remaining off the ground.
6- Outdoor time
While not necessary, most cats would enjoy the novelty and stimulating experience of an outdoor walk. However, there are specific guidelines to keep in mind if you think about giving your cat a walk outside.
Keep your pet on a leash for their safety. This will help you limit contact with stray animals who may infect your cat, as well as protect your pet from busy roads and other outdoor hazards.
If you have a backyard or enough garden space to build an outdoor enclosure for your cat, then by all means, do it. It will give them the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors on their own while still being safe from all its dangers.
7- Sunny inside
If there's one thing cats love more than taking naps, it's taking naps in a sunny spot. Sunlight and the heat it provides helps cats conserve energy.
To make your cat happy keep the curtains drawn or install window perches for your furry friend.
Beware of too much sun, though! Cats can and will have sunburns if they stay in the sun for a long period of time, especially during its peak (11am to 4pm), the ears and the nose being the most vulnerable areas.
To protect your cat from too much sun, draw the curtains when the sun is in its peak, (11am to 4pm), or use UV blocking film on your window to keep the harmful rays out.
8- Entertainment: keep the boredom away
Cats are very playful animals. However, they can also be very easily bored. you may have noticed how the toy you got for your cat a year or so ago no longer holds its interests. It's important to keep your cat entertained and stimulated, both physically and mentally, in different ways.
- Get them a new toy, or simply make one using simple things available at home.
- Hide treats in different spots all over the house, your cat will enjoy hunting them all down.
- Change their treats once in a while to keep them interested.
- Have some catnip plant pots in your house, your cat will thank you for it.
- Or simply take some time to enjoy playing with your pet, it will make both you and your cat happy.
9- Another cat
Especially if you're away from home the entire day. Having more than one cat will keep them from being lonely. Forming bonds with other cats as well as humans is important to a cat's wellbeing.
Keep in mind, you should be careful when introducing two cats. A slow and gradual approach is the best.
10- A healthy cat is a happy cat
Regular visits to the vet is a must to make sure your cat is healthy. As a general rule, once a year for a regular checkup is a good starting point. And since cats are known to hide their pain on occasion, you should always keep a close eye on them. If you notice any behavioral changes, any abnormalities in your cat's litter, vomiting or a loss of appetite, don't hesitate to consult the vet.
It only takes a little bit of effort and caring on your part to make your cat feel safe, loved and happy. Remember, a happy cat is a happy you.