5 ways to keep your cat happy and healthy
Cats are well known for being self-reliant and not needing anything special to be satisfied. This is a common misconception because just like humans, they can feel wide range of emotions such as boredom, loneliness and even depression if they do not feel pleased in the environment you’ve provided for them. However, if you take a little time and effort to make a few cat-friendly changes in your home, it is guaranteed that you will elevate the well-being of your cat companion as well as your relationship with them.
1. “Catify” your home
The first step of having a happy cat is to help them embrace their wild nature at your own house. The term “catification” was proposed by the cat behaviourist Jackson Galaxy and it simply means accommodating the cat’s natural instincts to climb, perch, scratch and really own their territory. According to him, just like we are adapting our house to our liking so that we can make it feel like home, cats also need the space to be adjusted to their needs so that they can feel in their natural habitat. This can mean anything from creating a safe space for your cat to hide to simply clearing a window of pots and ornaments so the kitty can access it and look at the surrounding. Simple acts like these can go a long way in solving various behavioural problems. Pet stores also sell a variety of climbing frames for cats that will rarely go unused.
2. Bring the Outdoors in
Perhaps you have noticed the appetite with which the cat nibbles on your favourite plants at home. However, some of them may be toxic to them so it might be a good idea to keep the plants out of your kitty's reach. Instead, you can set aside a special pot for them in which you can get some fresh cat grass or a catnip plant. Cats eat green plants because they help with their digestion and hairballs. In the wild, cats instinctively pick and munch grasses that make it possible for the hairs to slide gently through the gastrointestinal tract to avoid being thrown back out through the mouth.
3. Nutrition is key
A cat’s nutrition is the key to its good health. Putting a little thought into what you feed your cat can pay big dividends over their lifetime and very possibly help them avoid serious, painful, and costly illnesses. An increasing number of nutrition-savvy veterinarians, including board-certified veterinary internists, are now strongly recommending the feeding of canned food instead of dry kibble. The three key negative issues associated with dry food are that the water content is too low, carbohydrate load is too high, and dry food is too high in plant-based versus animal-based proteins. Additionally, being heavily processed in high temperatures, all essential nutrients are being destroyed. All this directly affects your favourite companion’s weight, body functions and behaviour. That’s why it is crucial to ask your vet for advice on what foods to include in the daily menu and how often to feed them.
4. Spice up playtime
Animals need physical activity to be healthy just like humans. If you want your cat to lead a more active lifestyle, provide it with toys for entertainment while you are gone, but remember that your attention contributes most to the good mental health of the animal, so no matter how involved you are, do not deprive them of it. Find ways to play with them - toy mice, cat trees, ropes with fluffy balls. Many cats love to chase the sun reflection on the wall. When the weather outside is gloomy, you can shine a laser beam on the wall and they’ll go crazy with joy.
5. Attention, attention, and more attention
Unlike their wild ancestors, domesticated cats crave human attention. Recent research shows that cats are incredibly attached to their humans and 65% of cats and kittens bonded to their people, meaning they have attachments to specific humans, and not just humans in general. The most effective way to keep your cat happy at home is to just give them the attention that they need. Always try to find the time to snuggle your cat, pet it and play with it. You will be surprised at how far a little attention from its human can go in ensuring your indoor cat’s wellbeing.
Cats are wonderful creatures. They are kind, caressing, elegant, wayward but lovable. There is sure to be at least one cat that has captured your heart, and hopefully stayed in your home. If so - take care of their comfort, make them happy and they will definitely return the favour.