7 ways to improve your cat's life
Cats tend to be regarded as 'low-maintenance' pets that require little time and attention. As a result, their basic needs and natural desires are often overlooked, and they forget how to be 'cats'. Our 7 simple tips below will improve life for your little furball demonstrably and soon have her purring away with happiness!
1: The hunter
Cats possess an extremely powerful hunting instinct. Indeed, even the sweetest lap cat is an instinctual hunter deep down. Their athletic bodies, razor-sharp vision and acute sense of smell make cats ideally equipped for the chase. They prefer to hunt at dawn or dusk, when their exceptional night vision enables them to spot prey in the dark. Hunting also provides cats with essential physical exercise and allows them to practice their timing and coordination skills.
So, allow your cat plenty of opportunity to hunt. You can do this by enticing her to play ‘hunting’ and ‘fishing’ games, using a toy rod with feathers or a laser pen. Don’t forget: it’s much more fun for your mouser if you drag her 'prey' away, rather than towards her.
By the way: outdoor cats often embark upon real-life hunting expeditions and will occasionally bring home a 'present'. Whilst this might seem unsavoury to you, you mustn’t punish your cat for doing so. It’s actually a genuine token of her affection :-)
2: Peace & quiet, and plenty of space
Cats spend approximately 60% of their time sleeping, much of it during the day. So, make sure that your feline friend has a number of tranquil sanctuaries where she can snooze the hours away without being disturbed by people, small children or other pets.
Peace and quiet, coupled with plenty of personal space are extremely important for your cat’s health and well-being. If too many cats are living on top of one another, they may become stressed and begin to exhibit competitive behaviour (such as scratching, spraying, pooping outside the litter box and aggression). If you have several cats under one roof, then make sure that they have access to sufficient places of refuge to retreat to. Cats prefer high vantage points from which they can survey their surroundings in safety. Create a cosy corner atop a bookcase or hang a shelf for her favourite cat basket and your cat will be forever grateful.
3: Interaction with people: short, sweet and frequent
Cats do enjoy contact with people, yet in a different way to us humans. Some cats enjoy curling up on your lap for hours, whilst others prefer to restrict their contact to shorter bursts throughout the day. Always take this natural desire into account, and indulge your cat in play and affection for short, yet frequent periods of time instead.
Scratching satisfies your cat’s natural urge to take care of her nails, mark her territory and relieve stress. Provide your cat with a suitably large scratching post, and one that’s tall and wide enough to enable her to wrap her entire body around. That way she can enjoy a good old stretch in the process.
5: Litter Box
Cats are extremely hygienic and therefore require (and often demand!) a fresh, clean litter tray. They also prefer not to eliminate over each other’s pee and poo, thus you should furnish each cat with its own personal litter box. Always choose a natural, perfume-free cat litter – the perfumed variety might smell good to us, but does tend to offend your cat’s sensitive little nose. So, stick to the plain stuff, remove her poo on a daily basis and regularly clean the entire tray.
We owners are often tempted to 'spoil' our little tigers with a selection of tasty snacks. Unfortunately, more than a quarter of domestic cats are overweight, with all the discomfort and health problems that this entails. Make sure you give your cat a healthy, balanced diet that keeps her in tip-top condition. Pamper her with new toys, a quality scratching post or a fun play session instead of sugar-laden cat treats. And choose for a high-quality cat kibble, wet food or raw meat. The majority of cats go wild for raw meat and it’s readily available for purchase from the freezer section in most good pet stores.
7: Every cat is unique
Yes, cats are solitary hunters with a reputation for being rather aloof. And they all wish to remain mentally and physically stimulated. Yet, each cat has its own personality and craves human contact to a greater or lesser degree. Observe your cat’s behaviour thoroughly, study her unique 'language' and allow her to satisfy her natural urge to hunt, play, sleep and cuddle.
Too little time to provide your cat the attention that she deserves? Then engage the services of a kind and experienced cat sitter who can visit your kitty once or twice a day when you’re not at home.