“I have a good life, but why shouldn’t I? After all, I’m a cat. My humans are so lucky to have me in their lives. Hey, but don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t always this way. No siree, I had to train my humans in the ways-of-the-feline…can you believe they actually thought I would come when I’m being called? Silly humans. I deserve respect. I-want-what-i-want-when-I-want-it. Is that too much to ask?” – pampered kitty
Life With Felines
They can be aloof. They can be demanding. Cats by their very nature are independent. They have instincts that can be pure survival and ones that will melt your heart. They need (and yes) even want the attention and affection of their pet-parent (even though they pretend not to). Respect Your Cat Day is a time for all cat-parents to take a good look at themselves to see if there are any areas in their cat’s life that could be improved upon. To make it easier, we have compiled a list of tips on how to treat your feline-friend with the respect they have come to expect.
Spay and Neuter
There are many reasons to have your cat spayed or neutered. “Fixing” your cat offers a number of health benefits, over those who are left unaltered, that includes living longer. Male cats left intact tend to wander, spray in the house and can be aggressive. Females in estrus (heat) will also be more aggressive and go through the stages of bleeding (which can be messy) plus, every intact male in the neighborhood will be hanging around your home. It doesn’t take much for a feline in heat to end up pregnant. If finances are an issue, check with local shelters or ask your vet for discounted services or agencies who can help. Given so many cats end up in shelters, there are several programs out there willing and able to help keep the cat population down.
Regular Vet Checkups
Bringing your cat to the veterinarian for its annual pet check up, is vital for its overall well-being. Annual vaccinations will keep your kitty protected from disease and while in office, the vet can also look at your feline’s general health and may be able to catch any issues before they become a problem. This is especially important for older cats entering into their senior years…a pounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Alternative healing therapies like Reiki are also becoming more and more available to pet parents. Oftentimes, these alternative modalities can be cost effective and make a world of difference in your cat’s well-being.
Keep the Claws
Did you know when a cat is declawed, the procedure requires the amputation of the last joint of each toe? Most pet-parents don’t realize that declawing is an extremely painful and sometimes dangerous operation. Your cat can be left with other health problems such as not using the litter box (it can be painful to newly cut toes) biting and even walking issues. Before jumping into this extreme method of protecting your furniture, give your cat some healthy alternatives. Scratching posts made from corrugated cardboard, sisal rope or natural wood are all excellent choices to fulfill your feline’s natural scratching tendency.
Cats are pretty smart. Provide them with the scratch posts and with a little training and positive reinforcement you will find that declawing your cat is simply not necessary.
Play to Their Instincts
Playing with your feline-friend is not only fun, but it creates a special bond between the two of you. However, playing with a cat is not like interacting with a dog. Cats are instinctive hunters, therefore engaging them in a game of fetch most likely will turn up flat (although, some cats have learned this “sport”). To have a successful play session with your cat, use strings, jingle balls or objects that can stimulate their natural prey instincts; hunting, jumping, pouncing. This will keep your kitty’s mind and body finely tuned and you will have some fun, to boot.
Cats love sitting by windows from where they can safely enjoy the stimulation of the world outside. If you can safely crack the window open they can enjoy the fresh outdoor breeze. Oftentimes, having a bird feeder at a distance will keep them entertained for hours.
Indoors is Best
A lot of people believe that a cat needs to be outside (it’s part of their nature) to be happy and healthy. However, outdoor cats are at risk to many things an indoor cat would never be exposed to; being hit by a car, parasites, toxins, dangerous encounters with other animals/people etc. In addition, indoor cats tend to be more relaxed and their pet-parents never have to worry about the whereabouts of their feline companion.
Many of us feel guilty keeping them indoors. Feels unnatural. One solution is to build an outdoor cattery where they can roam, climb and play around without having to worry about their safety. Or, you can make some interior adjustments designed to keep that sly cat amused and exercised.
If you are considering adding another feline to your home, you will need to take a few things into consideration:
- the personality of your current cat
- how does it react to new situations?
- how territorial is it?
Cats by nature are lone creatures, but some truly do enjoy the companionship of another. By properly making the feline introductions, your cat may find a void filled in their lives, they may not have realized was there.
Sometimes adding other cats to the family just doesn’t workout. It’s important to pay close attention, especially the first couple of weeks. Make the introduction gradual keeping the new cat in a crate to be safe. Slowly introduce them but perhaps separate them at night. Depending on how they interact, slowly let them spend more time together. Always keep an eye on them. If they are not getting along, take a step back and start over. Take it slow. Sometimes they may scuffle at first to set boundaries but soon after they get over it.
Whose The Boss?
Respecting your cat doesn’t mean giving in to its every demand, but rather providing it with the health and happiness it deserves. Take this day to correct some areas you may have let slip and to renew healthy habits for the future.