Picture your life as a house cat. What would you do to fill your time every day? Gorge yourself at your full food dish? Soak up the sun on the windowsill? Claw up the curtains? A house cat’s days can get pretty boring, and finding enough entertainment can lead to naughty behaviors. Your feline friend may destroy furniture and household belongings, urinate on duvets and rugs, and behave aggressively if they lack adequate environmental enrichment and stimulation. To keep your house cat “feline” fine and in good spirits, try our following tips to keep your cat happy and healthy.
#1: Give your cat more room to play and explore
If you’re not taking advantage of your home’s vertical space, your cat is missing out. While your home may not have plenty of floor space, your cat cares about the vertical space. As a predator and a prey species, your cat instinctively needs to be up high to feel safe and to monitor their territory. Make good use of your walls by installing feline-friendly shelving, ramps, and hideouts for your cat to exercise and explore. You can also position climbing towers next to windows to let your cat look out over a bird bath or feeder, and to watch the neighborhood comings and goings.
#2: Provide ways for your cat to fulfill their instincts
Despite being domesticated, your cat has many natural behaviors they need to satisfy—chief among them is the urge to scratch. Scratching allows your cat to exercise, practice nail care, mark their territory, and communicate with other cats through pheromones. If your cat does not have acceptable scratching spots, they will find their own, often undesirable, areas. Offer your cat a variety of scratching surfaces in different positions to see what they like best. Ensure each scratching surface, whether horizontal or vertical, gives your cat plenty of room to stretch out. Try sisal, corrugated cardboard, wood, and carpet surfaces to learn your cat’s preference, and then position their favorite scratch pads near spots they are currently scratching.
#3: Spend time interacting with your cat each day
Although cats seem largely independent, your feline friend needs plenty of one-on-one interaction to be happy. Set aside time each day to groom, play with, and simply hang out with your cat. You can also incorporate mini training sessions into playtime and teach your cat to wave, spin, and leap through hoops. Positive interaction will strengthen your bond over the years and help your pet live life to the fullest.
#4: Feed your cat according to their needs
With our busy schedules, we typically feed our pets once or twice a day. However, cats are designed to eat several—up to 20—tiny meals each day. Consider that insects and mice do not provide many calories, and you can understand why your cat needs to hunt so often to get enough nutrition. Cats presented with a full food dish often overeat, which leads to obesity and a slew of health problems. Instead of topping off a food bowl, feed your cat several small portions each day, ideally using a puzzle feeder. You can create your own puzzles, or purchase items that you can stuff with dry or canned food, such as Kongs, robotic mice, or rubber mats.
#5: Minimize your cat’s risk for preventable illness and disease
Cats are excellent at hiding illnesses that make them feel under the weather, and without regular veterinary visits, you may not realize your cat has an underlying health condition. Wellness care can keep your cat feeling their best, as we administer vaccinations, prescribe parasite prevention, and perform screening tests that can catch disease in its earliest stages. A healthy cat is a happy cat.
Our team will also offer recommendations for a proper diet, behavior modification, environmental enrichment, dental care, and much more. Improving these many aspects of your cat’s life can ensure your feline friend gets the most out of their homebody lifestyle.
Regular wellness care is essential for keeping your cat feeling their best. Despite the fact that your house cat is protected from many dangers, they can still contract infectious diseases and parasites without regular veterinary care. Give our Greenfield Veterinary Clinic team a call to schedule your cat’s wellness visit.