As anyone with a feline residing in their domicile can tell you, cats are born pleasure seekers, and they will inevitably locate the singularly most comfortable places around your home to spend their quality time. Of course, a comfortable cat is a happy cat, and a happy cat is one who doesn’t mark, shred, or otherwise engage in destructive behavior around the house. So it’s not a bad idea to expand your pet’s comfort zone by selecting the right supplies and equipment.
Cats are playful, and providing a variety of toys will satisfy this natural need to play. Fishing-pole-style toys give a great overall workout by promoting jumping and leaping, while windup or mechanical toys provide mental and physical stimulation (although some cats find these scary).
Plain old fashioned balls encourage running and chasing, and never forget the ol’ reliable milk jug plastic twistie! And don’t forget, like kids, cats get bored with the same old thing, so rotate toys when they lose interest in old ones.
Of course, mealtimes are a highlight of the cat’s day, so providing nutritional food they like will keep them active, healthy and delighted with dinner. While many successfully feed their cats only one type of food, variety prevents boredom and helps convert to a special diet if a health condition (such as diabetes or kidney problems) develops. If your cat has dental disease, they’ll appreciate canned food, which is easier to chew than dry. Always feed a high-quality diet (such as Iams or Science Diet) appropriate for your cat’s life stage and health.
You may not know it, but your cat may be influenced by their dish as well as dinner. Bowls should be big enough for them to eat without squashing whiskers. If your cat has feline acne (black crusty patches on the chin) stay away from plastic bowls, as they tend to retain oils and can make the condition worse. Research has also shown that cats often prefer to drink water away from their food, so choose separate food and water bowls and place the water dish in a different location adjacent to the food to encourage drinking.
Felines are fussy, fastidious creatures, so a brand of litter that helps keep the box clean also keeps the box attractive to kitty. While a simple clay litter absorbs urine, unless the litter is changed every day they may find the urine odor offensive. Clumping litter forms little patties when your cat eliminates, and they tend to like the soft feel of it under their feet. And because it’s easier to maintain, the box is more appealing to your cat. Keep in mind that many cats don’t appreciate the fragrance of scented litter, and if you’re using a covered box, the offending scent may build up and be even more repulsive to your cat. Finally, while litter liners may prevent the box from absorbing odor, some cats are afraid of the crinkly plastic. Check to see if your cat scurries off when you get out a liner bag; if so, they won’t like a plastic liner.
Since most cats spend 16 hours a day sleeping, finding an appropriate place to sack out is important. While they may opt to sleep with you or on a comfortable chair, a cat bed works great as a special place for them to sleep. Cats love to snuggle in tight places, so the right bed is a soft one in which your cat can nestle and keep warm. A favorite material for cats is the polyester “polar fleece,” as it retains warmth, is soft, and is machine washable. Many cat beds available are made of this, so check your local pet shop or vet shop.
Finally, cats are creatures of habit, so getting your cat used to a schedule increases their contentment quotient immensely. Your cat will come to know the beats of your day, anticipating your arrival home and looking forward to the time you share. Following a regular daily schedule is one of the best things you can do for your cat ( and dogs) mental health!