Keeping Our Feline Friends Happy And Healthy—A GuideBy Jennifer Snow
Whether you’re a first-time cat owner or you have a lot of experience, there’s always something more to learn about being a better cat owner. The cat-human relationship gets a bad rap, and in the interest of felines everywhere, we want to make sure that, when it comes to owning a cat, there’s as much care, respect, and fun involved as possible.
Although it is often considered a simple task, forging a good connection isn’t always easy. Cats have distinct personalities, needs, and preferences, so it’s best to do some research before embarking on the adventure of owning a furry friend.
Keep reading to find out some fuzzy tips and fun tricks to keep your cats as happy as they can be!
You may have come up with the most fantastic, creative, and funny name you’ve ever heard in your entire life, but will your cat know you’re calling him? Surely, Mister Fuzz-Ball Felix Fanta the Fourth sounds grand, but it might be better to stick to something your cat can understand.
Cats tend to respond better to two-syllable names, especially ones with the “ee” sound, so Felix could work quite well. Try to get them used to the tone of the voice you use to call them so they can recognize when you want their attention.
Scratching Posts Are A Must
Before the furball attacks any of your furniture, it’s better to invest in a good quality, heavy-duty scratch post. Ideally, your cat will aim toward the fun textures you have provided instead of your valuable sofas or ornaments—but that isn’t a guarantee.
Be aware that scratching accidents are very normal, especially with younger kittens. Having a scratching post in every area of the house is a good way to manage the claw situation. You can also get fun designs that match the interior design of your house.
Getting rid of undesirable odors is a daunting task. Even if you don’t have the strongest sense of smell, cat poop is amongst the most astringent, stingy, and difficult whiffs to bear. But there is an easy and affordable solution!
Adding baking soda and bits of green tea leaves to the bottom of the litter box can prevent disgusting smells. Just make sure to replace the litter and tea leaves whenever the tray has recently been used. Try not to leave it for more than a few hours or the smell will return.
Laser pointers are your best bet when it comes to helping your cat exercise. Felines are natural predators, and trying to catch impossible prey makes for great amusement. Playing with your cat is a wonderful way to strengthen your relationship and pass the time together.
Make sure to reward them every once in a while as it can be demotivating for cats if they never catch their prey. Once the game is finished, let your cat have its favorite treat as a reward. This way, you can reinforce the behavior and enjoy more games in the future.
Cats Are Climbers
It is very important to give your cats climbing space, whether you live in a big house or a small apartment. There are many creative ways to create a climbing space for your cats. Think of shelves, bookcases, or ladders you can adapt for your furry friends’ comfort.
Cats can be very territorial, so naturally, they prefer to guard their space from high-up places—a tactical spot that also serves as a good place to nap and groom themselves. As cats like to stay active during the day and night, providing somewhere where they can climb without disrupting the household is a big help to human-feline relations.
A Cat In A Box
With the recent rise of remote work, people have struggled with the fact that cats aren’t great coworkers and love to walk on keyboards, sit in front of monitors and push things off tables. Your cats may be telling you that they are bored. If there is one thing cats love more than disrupting your work, it’s a box.
Boxes are the perfect solution for those home/workplace problems. All you have to do is place a large box—big enough so your cat can sit in it—somewhere near your desk, and voila! You should be distraction-free for hours.
Toys Don’t Have to Be Expensive
It is a well-known fact that cats have the most fun with simple household items. We’ve already mentioned boxes, but classic yarn balls, ropes, socks, and feathers can be excellent and affordable toys for your cat.
Items that make crispy sounds such as a bag of chips, a receipt, or a candy wrapper will ensure fun and excitement. It’s like recycling but easier—if a bit messy. Don’t fall for those expensive pet-shop toys and be resourceful. Chances are good that your cat will appreciate a simple item more.
It can be a harrowing task, but it will likely have to be done, especially if you have an inside cat and want your furniture to last. Trimming a cat’s claws is quite simple and it can be done at home with the right tools.
Ask your vet to teach you the correct length and technique. If you don’t fancy getting into declawing you can also try claw covers. They are simple to put on and have the same effect as cutting, and your cat shouldn’t fuss as much as with trimming.
Some cats can show pretty negative tendencies when it comes to being social, and some are simply not up for the task. To gain your cat’s trust, you have to build a good relationship from the beginning.
Touching his paws helps with trust, playing an important role in letting go of resistance. It Is useful also for future claw trimming procedures so your cat is in a relaxed environment before undergoing the nail salon.
Curb Anxiety Eating
Just like people, anxious cats have a tendency to binge on their food. As a result, they will have poor digestion and can sometimes throw up their meals. One way to reduce speed-eating is to provide your kitty with a shallow bowl. That way, they’ll be in less of a rush to finish.
Your cat will take longer to eat food that has been spread around a wider surface. Because cats get stressed when their whiskers brush up against walls or objects, a wider bowl can help prevent your cat from getting stressed from eating.
Fresh Running Water
Imagine drinking from a pond or still body of water. The thought isn’t very appealing, is it? The same goes for cats. While they will drink from a bowl if you put it in front of them, it isn’t a very appealing water source. They instead prefer running water.
Your feline friend will greatly appreciate a fountain drink as it will have a much fresher taste. Some pet water fountains have alternating spouts, which will keep your cat entertained as it has to guess where the water will spurt out each time.
Keep Food And Drink Separate
Although humans like to have a drink on hand when eating a meal, cats prefer to have theirs separately. Fearing that their food will taint the water source, most cats have a hard time eating near their water bowl. It’s a behavior shared by all cats, big or small.
If the two are close, your cat might be getting constantly dehydrated. Do your purring pal a favor and keep the two bowls away from one another. If you don’t have the space, bring out the water bowl long after the food has been gobbled up.
Just like people, cats have set schedules when it comes to mealtimes. They get used to eating at a certain time of day if you feed them at this time each morning afternoon or evening and will expect the delivery before or around that hour.
If you don’t want your cat nagging you for food at a certain time, such as in the morning, try varying the times at which you pour food into your cat’s bowl—or you can try feeding them at a time that suits you and your schedule.
It can be more expensive, but it’s worth it for the health of your furry friend. Although they rehydrate with water, cats should be fed regular portions of wet food. Dry foods are packed with carbs, which aren’t the best for cats.
Feeding cats wet foods over dry will not only make them happier, but it will help prevent ailments such as chronic dehydration and diabetes. That isn’t to say that you should switch to wet foods completely—just feed your kitten friend a wet pouch once in a while.
Store Your Cat’s Dry Food Correctly
Poorly kept dry food won’t just make your cat turn their nose up, but it will actually give your cat bad digestion and health in the long term. Extend the life of your cat food by storing it in food containers similar to the one you might use for your cereal.
This will also save you the hassle of having to shake biscuits out from a well-worn food packet in the morning or evening. You can reuse plastic or glass jars to keep your cat’s dry food fresh, too.
Harsh chemicals aren’t good for anyone, but cats, with their powerful noses, are particularly sensitive to strong cleaning products. It goes without saying that they should be out of each of your fuzzy friends, but there’s also a pet-friendly way to clean up stains and bad bacteria.
Blending water and white vinegar into a spray can be a good way to protect your cat and your finances. Simply spray it onto messy surfaces or accidents and wipe it away after 30 minutes. To give it a refreshing smell try putting orange peel into the mixture.
Grow Your Own Catnip
Catnip is well known to seasoned cat lovers for its stimulating and relaxing effects depending on how it’s consumed (sniffed or eaten respectively). It’s great fun for kitties and is a good way of easing loneliness if you need to be out of the house for long periods of time.
Buying a pot of this minty plant and growing it yourself could be a budget saver, as good quality catnip can sometimes be expensive. Just make sure to regulate your furry friend’s consumption as it can be a bit heavy in the stomach. If overconsumed, it can cause diarrhea and vomiting.
The “No Trespassing” Trick
Stopping your kitty from getting into certain surfaces is a difficult task because cats adore high spaces. They might see kitchen counters or cribs as prime targets. In order to avoid the hair and mess cats leave behind on their high-altitude adventures, there are a few tricks you can pull.
Using aluminum foil will very likely refrain your cat from stepping across, as the slippery texture and sharp sounds annoy kitties. Using masking tape with the sticky side up is also a good way to build invisible borders to deter trespassers from venturing to high places in the house.
A Cat Owner’s Best-Kept Secret
The main problem with cats is not their entitled personalities or their lack of excitement when you come back home—it’s their hair. As soon as the weather changes cats will shed hair in every inch of your house, and that can quickly become annoying.
To save pennies on lint rollers, get rid of unwanted cat hair by using duct tape. It’s a more heavy-duty approach but it gets the job done. All you need to do is place the duct tape on top of the area and peel it off with force—any hair left behind will be easier to remove this way.
Cats probably won’t ask for a bedtime story, but a bedtime game of catch the mouse or laser pointer tag will wear them down enough to head to their basket for a kip. Active cats can be very stubborn, especially at night, so tiring them down is an excellent way to ensure peace in the household.
Ten minutes before bedtime should be more than enough time to bond with your cat friend and ensure a trouble-free night. Try to play active, brain-enhancing games that will make your bond with your cat stronger.
Train With Clicks And Treats
Training with treats isn’t only for dog owners. Cats can also be very receptive to this kind of conditioning. Including rewards when your cat does something well reinforces positive behavior. Although you won’t be able to train your cat to bark on command, they can learn simple tricks.
High fives are one of the easiest tricks to teach your cat—you just need a clicker and a bag of treats. Whenever your cats manage to give you a paw-five, click, and reward them for their compliance. After several times it should remember the command. Just make sure to practice constantly.
As we all know, cat hair is difficult to deal with, so anything to prevent it from appearing around the house is desirable. There are solutions to this problem—no, we aren’t talking about hairless cats—we’re talking about brushing.
Depending on your cat’s shedding habits, you might need to brush daily or once a week. With the correct tools, you can make it part of a routine and get your cat used to it. It can be a calming activity for both of you! You will be able to notice less hair on clothes and furniture once you begin this routine.
Buying an air filter is a useful device when owning a cat. Your home will be less prone to foul smells, dust, allergens, and bacteria with an air filter working away. It’s a very useful tool to prevent disease and allergies from taking over your respiratory system.
Air filters can be installed in the house or come as detachable appliances. While they can be a bit expensive, they are worth it in the long run—for your and your family’s health. The air in your house will be fresh and breathable. Over time, you will appreciate this investment.
Buy A Litter Box Per Cat, Plus One
It is common knowledge that cats prefer a litterbox for doing their dirty work. When more than one kitty lives in a house, it can become troublesome to allocate a litterbox for each of your felines, so ideally each cat should be able to access one whenever.
Having one litterbox per cat plus an extra box ensures that there will be fewer accidents when going number two. It’s also a good idea to have them in different places in the house— that way, if one of the boxes is occupied, they can go to the other without a fuss.
Getting Used To The Carrier
Getting your cat used to the carrier sounds daunting, but it’s necessary if you want to avoid future drama. If you ever need to take your cat to the vet, you can focus on what needs to be done instead of finding “creative ways” to get your cat inside the crate.
Leaving the crate in an accessible place where your cat can be used to it and even get curious enough to climb inside at will might be a good idea. Taking your cat to a stress-free place is also a good idea as it prevents any negative associations from forming about the crate.
Cleaning your kitty’s litter tray has to be one of the worst things cat owners need to put up with, but it’s a price we’re willing to pay for our fur babies. Buying litter isn’t cheap, but buying clumping litter is worth the investment if your cat’s odors are just too much.
Clumping litter is exactly what it says it is. It grabs up number ones and twos into little clumps that are easy to remove from the litter tray using a designated spatula. Some clumping litter even changes color to indicate if your cat has discarded its waste there.
Patience Is Key When Introducing New Pets
Introducing a new pet to the household is exciting for most, but for cats, it can become stressful. It’s better to be very patient when holding introductions to avoid misunderstandings. A first impression is very important.
Pets can be territorial, especially if they’ve spent most of their lives in that place, so start slow—let them smell each other, and if that goes well, assign short playtimes, little by little. They should grow accustomed to each other, and, at the very least, be passive roommates. Given time they might become good friends.
Cats can become very anxious, especially if they are introduced to a new environment or left alone for too long. This can cause them to become unhappy, rebellious, or aggressive. In order to prevent them from acting up, consider installing a pheromone diffuser.
Pheromones are fragrance-free hormones. They come in the form of a diffuser or collar. The overall effect is to help soothe and relax your cat. Reducing stress levels will improve your cat’s well-being—and your own.
Buy Pet Insurance
Insurance is one of those annoying things we all have to buy. We’ve got it for every important aspect of our life, including our cars and homes—so why not pets? It’s not nice to think about, but your kitty might someday need to make several expensive trips to the vet.
It’s better to take out insurance just in case the worst happens. Cats aren’t too expensive to insure when compared to dogs, and some companies may offer insurance alongside other packages.
Two Is Always Better Than One
Cats are known as solitary animals that seek companionship once every full moon—but don’t be fooled by this stereotype, as it is far from accurate. To avoid certain behaviors from cats, such as destructive tendencies, or incessant meowing—putting two or more cats together can soothe many of your furry buddy’s woes.
Cats do better when they’re accompanied, which is a habit they will have developed since being kittens. But don’t worry if you own a mature cat that has spent too much time alone; it is never a bad time to find your cat a brother or sister kitty. Loneliness can be hard on cats, so make sure to get the bundle!
Don’t Bin That Hairbrush Yet!
Cats love to be stroked and cuddled, but only when THEY want to be. Sometimes humans have a busy schedule, so cuddling isn’t always available in the schedule. A good solution is to zip-tie an old brush onto the leg of a table, drawer, or chair. Your cat will surely enjoy rubbing against it.
This is also helpful for cats that shed lots of hair as essentially, your cat will brush itself. Just make sure that you don’t place it in an area where you will eat or spend lots of time, as it can be uncomfortable to need to constantly clean off the hairbrush.
Cats Are Indoor Animals
Contrary to popular belief, cats shouldn’t be left outside for long. Although the chances of them not returning are slim, your cat could get lost or hurt and might not find its way back home.
It is also not recommended to leave cats out for too long because cats have a certain hunting instinct toward birds and other small animals. Although it is great for controlling vermin, such as mice, many endangered bird species could be put on the edge of extinction by your innocent-looking kitty.
Cat toys don’t have to come from fancy pet stores! Your cats will be as entertained as ever when you provide them with something as simple as an empty toilet roll! There is a ton of fun to be had in rolling, biting, and fighting with a carton cylinder.
Your cat will entertain itself for hours with a used toilet roll. Once your cat seems to have squeezed all the fun out of the roll, you can get creative and make some scissor cuts or tape a piece of string onto it to make it look like a small animal, for some refreshed playtime.
Always Keep Baby Wipes Around
Cats are pukey—and that’s a fact. Even the healthiest cats will vomit every once in a while, and for this reason, you must always be prepared. Overfeeding, a change of diet, eating too fast, and even a change of weather can give your cat friend an upset stomach.
For this reason, baby wipes are the most effective way to clean up vomit. They can also help to disinfect the area and your own hands after handling the bile. If your cat vomits excessively, you should call your veterinarian or pet health professional.
Hair Hair Hair!
Removing hair from unwanted surfaces is the main problem cat owners face. There are few cat-safe products out there that will help with this task, so here is a life hack that will surely help with this annoying chore.
Use rubber gloves to remove cat hair! It will stick easier than it would to cloth or paper towels. Some gloves even come with scrubbers in the palm, making them a fantastic tool for this kind of work. Make sure to set a regular schedule for hair removal on furniture just to get a deep clean once in a while.
Upcycle And Play
Upcycling is the way to go when you want to find new ways to entertain your cat friend. Besides it being environmentally friendly, it is also a fun project to enhance your creativity. Try mixing fabrics such as t-shirts, old sheets, pillowcases, and socks.
Cut the fabric using different lengths, textures, and colors and tie them up making cute bows. You don’t have to overcomplicate yourself with the task though—with a simple knot in the middle, your cat will surely have a lot of fun batting it around.
Make Your Own Ladder Fort
The next time you go thrift shopping, keep your eyes open for a wooden step ladder—or maybe even look for one in your garage! With only a few improvements, your cat will have a custom-made fort made for a fraction of the price a pet store would sell it for.
Start by wrapping the ladder in sisal rope, glue it to ensure it will stay in place, then attach a small cat bed to the top. For extra fun, add a feather or a few strings hanging from one of the junctures—then watch your kitty meow with delight!
Dreamy Cat Perch
If there is one thing cats love watching, it is the world going by—and for this reason, your cats will surely adore this hanging window basket. It is a rather straightforward installation, just make sure you get strong enough brackets to screw into the wall on top of your window to carry the basket.
This crafty cot is highly customizable and cheap. You can thrift a basket or box that matches the decorations of your house. Add a blanket for extra coziness, and there you go! Hours of people and car-watching ensured!
How To Grow Dirtless Cat Grass
Cats love a good dose of grass, and there is no need to deprive them of it, as it can be a healthy addition to a balanced diet. The downside of growing grass is usually the mess your kitty is likely to bring with all the dirt—but there is a solution.
Growing your cat grass from barley, whey, or oats is easy! You just need to sew the seeds into a low but wide enough glass jar that contains grow stones, filtered water, and unbleached paper towels. Within a few days, you should notice the sprouts, and soon your cat will be able to start enjoying them.
A Cute Catio
Even the biggest indoor cat likes some fresh air every once in a while, so if you have the space, why not provide it in a safe, fun, and cozy environment? Catios are made for precisely that reason! Using as many elements as you want, you can build a catio next to one of your windows by closing an area off with a metal screen.
They don’t need to be made from fancy materials—you just have to be creative. You might find that your house has a spot that is perfect for this. The rest is up to you. Enhance it with toys, hanging ropes, a pole, and some fuzzy day beds—and don’t forget a water bowl!