Simple ways to improve your cat’s well-being.
It’s not always easy to tell if your cat is happy. They may show their love with purrs or affectionate rubs, but some cats are more reserved than others, and it can be difficult to decipher their vocalizations and behaviors.
Whether you have a vocal or quiet cat, there are several easy things you can do to help keep them happy and healthy.
1. Create Ideal Napping Spots
Cats love to doze during the day, so make life more comfortable for them by creating perfect places to nap. Here are a few ideas:
- Place a cushion or install a special padded perch near a sunny window to create a space for your cat’s daytime naps.
- If you have a backyard, think about where your cat can sleep outside — preferably somewhere dry and sheltered with a bit of shade, such as beneath an awning — and install an outdoor sleeping area.
- Purchase or build a cat tree to give your cat somewhere to climb, sit or nap. Cats are natural climbers and feel safe perched up high, where they can look down on their domain or snooze uninterrupted.
2. Give Your Cat Some Toys
Cats enjoy playing, and providing a wide range of toys will stimulate their natural instincts and curiosity. Try chasing toys, pouncing toys or toys for interactive play. You can also buy pet-safe laser pointers that give cats a spot of light to chase.
You can easily make your own toys as well. A simple ball will keep most cats amused for hours, as they paw it and pounce on it as if it were a mouse. Your cat will also enjoy playing with string or ribbon tied to a stick or a door handle — just make sure the string is secure to avoid choking or strangulation.
3. Give Your Cat Their Own Space
As you’re probably now well aware, cats are fairly independent creatures. They like to have their own space where they can meet their basic needs and sleep.
Create a special area in your home for them with a bed, a scratching post and a litter box. But keep their food and water in a different place — cats prefer not to eat where they also relieve themselves. Place the litter box in a well-lit, quiet part of the house to encourage your cat to use it.
4. Learn How and Where Your Cat Likes to Be Petted
While cats enjoy their independence, they can also crave affection, and most of them love to receive pets — just make sure you’re petting them correctly!
Always stroke from head to tail — never from tail to head. Most cats don’t like being stroked the opposite direction their fur lays. Your cat will probably also enjoy being stroked behind the ears and under their chin, but stay away from their tail and paws.
If a child wants to pet your cat, make sure to supervise them — you don’t want your cat lashing out for being petted the wrong way.
5. Establish a Routine and Keep Your Cat’s Space Clean
Most cats prefer a stable routine, so feeding times should be regular and structured: breakfast, lunch and dinner at the same times each day, or just breakfast and dinner if your cat eats twice a day. If you work irregular hours, consider using a feeding timer.
Cleaning your cat’s space is as important as setting it up. Make sure to change your cat’s litter daily or every other day, and if you have more than one cat, make sure to have one litter box per cat, plus one extra. Cats prefer neat spaces, so regularly clean their food station, litter box and bed.
6. Help Protect Them from Parasites
No doubt you have heard about the risk of unwanted parasites like worms, fleas and ticks that can infect your cat. Parasites like these can cause discomfort and disease in pets — even indoor cats — so it is vital to have a regular prevention routine.
There are a variety of preventives available at your local specialty pet store and vet’s office. Once you have a program in place, set reminders to stay on top of preventive care — whether that’s to give your cat a preventive product or visit the vet. A prevention regimen will help you address any infestations before they have a chance to cause harm.
Your cat may not always show appreciation, but these simple steps will help keep them purring and happy throughout their life.