6 Ways to a Cat’s Heart
Maybe you’re a new cat mom, or maybe you have a cat who’s a bit stubborn and hard to please. No cat is the same as the next. Whether an indoor, outdoor, affectionate, skittish, or even dog-like cat, maintaining their happiness continues to remain a common similarity between all felines. Although no perfect recipe to happiness exists, we’ve put together a few of our top tips to make sure your cat stays happy and healthy.
Your Undivided Attention, Please
First and foremost, it is absolutely crucial to ensure that you are giving your kitty enough attention. On average, cats need about 20 minutes a day of uninterrupted attention. This includes playing, petting, and one-on-one interaction. As much as cats are independent creatures, they all need the same love and devotion for overall health and happiness.
So what’s one of the best ways to show your love? Petting, of course! A common mistake that people make is petting cats in areas that make them feel vulnerable by nature, such as the legs, paws, and stomach. Avoid these areas, and instead pet under the chin, the base of the ears and tail, and the cheeks.
Playing with your cat proves to be another focal point for giving attention. Even though cats are often known for entertaining themselves, incorporating toys that also require your participation is important for establishing and maintaining a strong, affectionate bond. Some of the best interactive toys are ones with long strings that can be dragged ominously across the floor or dangled in the air to provoke jumping and swatting. When you’re at the other end of this mischievous fun, the bond will grow stronger and establish trust.
Continuing on the topic of interactive play, sustaining cat happiness is made easier through the use of toys. For most cats, providing toys that trigger their interests, such as stalking, hunting, and scratching with their claws is essential to keeping them active, which is necessary for happiness. Toy mice are a great option, as they bring out the hunting instincts. As mentioned earlier, toys with long strings also stimulate their predatory nature.
Another high-rated toy is the “Turbo Scratcher” or the “Crazy Circle”, which is a circular disc with a track that encompasses the circumference. Inside that track is a ball that rolls along—a perfect swatting piece! The center of the disc is lined with a corrugated cardboard center for unlimited scratching, which prevents them from tearing the arms of chairs or couches when it comes time to sharpen the claws.
The Wonders of Catnip
If you did not know already, cats flourish when sticking to routines. If something in their routine goes awry, they usually become stressed or anxious, even if it does not seem apparent from their demeanor. Some common signs of stress or anxiety are increased shedding, spraying, and in severe cases, a disregard for proper grooming. If there is an obvious change in your cat’s routine, one of the best ways to relieve them of stress and anxiety is catnip. Catnip is an herb that contains a variety of healing benefits and is particularly helpful in aiding relief for cats suffering from high stress or anxiety. It can also help relieve and prevent an upset stomach, as it relaxes muscles when they are tense.
The effects of catnip vary as a result of consumption. If it is in spray form, in which case your cat would inhale it, the effects excite them, making them playful and energetic for around 15 minutes, followed by a calm, relaxed period. If your cat ingests it, the effects are calming and relaxing. Both cases still aim to reduce stress and anxiety, but ingesting the leaves is the most effective for cats suffering from higher levels of mental strain and agitation. For best practices, make sure not to allow your cat to be exposed to catnip more than once a week, or else the benefits will become ineffective as they get used to its effects.
King of the Castle
By nature, cats love to jump, climb, and exercise their claws. A cat tower promotes all three of these activities, combining fun and exercise. A healthy cat is a happy cat, so why not provide them with this genius creation?! Most carpeted cat towers consist of multiple tiers, tunnels, and hanging toy features! Not only do the towers encourage activity, but they also provide a safe space. Cats enjoy claiming a space for themselves in which they feel comfortable and safe, especially in areas that are elevated and out of reach from annoyances or threats (like an excited puppy). Napping, playing, and exercising are essential to a cat’s overall happiness. Cat towers meet all three needs and then some. As a tip, place the cat tower in front of a window to provide a view outside! If your kitty seems tentative to use it, spray it with some catnip to boost excitement.
Cat Doors: Supreme Independence
If you have an indoor-outdoor cat, installing a reliable cat door promotes independence, activity, and happiness. For owners who leave the house for long periods of time or are too busy to let the cats in and out all day, a pet door is the perfect solution. Whether you need a cat door for doors, walls, or windows, the benefits of using one at their own free will is a freedom all cats crave. Instead of keeping them inside or outside for long periods of time, they can have free range of both the house and the yard. Kitties are independent by nature and love to explore, hunt, and sunbathe. Why not give them the best of both worlds? Check out some of our top tips for choosing the perfect cat door! See pet doors for pets under 13" tall for more options.
Cats are nocturnal, meaning they are most active at night. Even though we close our doors and need absolute peace and quiet during the nighttime, your cat’s activity should not be limited while you are asleep. Make sure not to restrict a cat to one room, as this will feel restraining and induce frustration. Provide them with a large area in which to inhabit during those long hours, and put out a variety of toys to prevent boredom. This will ensure that your cat remains happy when you are not present to give attention and affection.
Kitties aren’t too hard to please, but keeping these tips in mind will help to encourage positive behavior, mutual affection, and of course, a lifetime of happiness! Always shower your pets with love, as you are their safekeeper and provider.
by Hannah Scholtes