Saturday, August 8, 2020

8 Tips for Keeping Cats Happy

Today is International Cat Day (aka World Cat Day). Cats should be celebrated everyday no matter where they live or who they are. This day is set aside to share our passion for cats and learn more about this captivating species. The day highlights the fact that there is no ‘one size fits all’ in cats. Just as there are cats that thrive as pets, others may never adapt to living alongside humans, no matter how much love we give them. Each cat is an individual and for International Cat Day, we want all cats to be happy cats.


Truffle and Brulee are Silver Shaded Persians who live a pampered life. They are indoor-only cats who enjoy living in an environment that provides comfort, tools for scratching, appropriate nutrition and treats, opportunities for hydration, daily grooming, cuddles and love, and trips to the vet. Here are a few tips for keeping cats happy today and everyday!

Love and Cuddles

silver shaded Persian cat in lap
Brulee receiving morning cuddles from Mom Paula

Felines should be shown kindness and love, but it's important to understand that all cats have different needs for this attention. Some cats will approach you for a special head bump or a chin rub, while others may prefer being in the room nearby. Cats tend to "cuddle" with humans to feel safe and warm. If cats are handled and petted on a regular basis when they are young (2-7 weeks old), they are more likely to cuddle as adults. If your cat is open to cuddles, Sally E. Bahner, a feline consultant and pet writer, reminds people that it's imperative that your cat is always well supported when held. If your cat begins to struggle, it's time to put her down gently. If you're lucky, your feline will melt into your arms and turn on the purr engine and relax for a while.

Appropriate Scratching Tools

silver shaded Persian on scratching bed
Brulee h as her choice of scratching tools

Cats need to scratch!!! Scratching is a normal, healthy behavior that cats use for exercise and marking territory. Scratching allows a cat to stretch out their back, legs, and paws. If given an appropriate tool for scratching, cats also scratch to file, sharpen, and clean their claws. Cats also scratch to mark territory so they will feel safe in their environment. It's important that you provide appropriate tools and areas that encourage your cat to scratch. There are three major types of material cats prefer for scratching: carpet, cardboard, and sisal rope. Cats may prefer a scratching surface that is horizontal, vertical, or slanted. Experiment by providing various scratching options throughout your home. Your cat will let you know which she prefers. Strategically, you should place a scratching post near areas your cats has expressed an interest in scratching.

Hydration

silver shaded Persian cat drinking from a fountain
Truffle enjoying a drink of water from her ThirstyCat Pet Fountain

Water is vital to a cat's survival. Did you know that 80% of a cat's body is made up of water compared to 55-60% in a human?  Cats should drink an ounce of water per pound of body weight each day. It's important that cats get proper hydration each day to maintain their health and avoid additional trips to the vet. Getting proper hydration can help prevent urinary tract infections and urinary disease, aid with energy levels and temperature regulation, and speed recovery time from sickness or surgery. Cats are notorious for not drinking enough water, so it's important to find ways to encourage your cats to drink clean and fresh water. Simple tips to help cats get the amount of hydration needed each day are:
  • Provide clean and fresh water with the same level of purity you'd drink. 
  • Feed your cats a moist diet
  • Minimize the time your cat spends in the sun and extreme heat
  • Use pet fountains to promote your cat's curious interest in drinking. 
  • Provide alternatives to water when cats are ill such as broth or tuna-water cubes that can be made with tuna juice and some water. 
  • Provide clean and fresh water with the same level of purity you'd drink. 
  • Feed your cats a moist diet
  • Minimize the time your cat spends in the sun and extreme heat. 


Nutrition

silver shaded Persian cat eating from raised white bowl
Brulee enjoying her wet food from a raised bowl


Cats are obligate carnivores which means they rely on nutrients found only in animal products and not grains, peas, or other vegetables found in some food. "Cats evolved as hunters that consumed prey that contains high amounts of protein, moderate amounts of fat, and a minimal amount of carbohydrates (Cornell Feline Health Center, 2017)." Cat food is available commercially in dry, semi moist, canned, homemade, or raw. Commercially prepared cat food has been developed to provide the appropriate balance of nutrients and calories. When choosing a food, it's important to read the ingredients list carefully and making sure the first few ingredients are meat, meat byproducts, or seafood. Feed your cat a variety of flavors and textures to avoid a cat becoming finicky. Experiment with different types of bowls and plates. Persian cats with flatter faces tend to like a more open bowl.

Grooming

Silver shaded Persian cat with grooming tools
Truffle with a few of her grooming tools

Cats are very fastidious in the daily care of their fur. Sometimes it seems they are constantly giving themselves a bath every time you see them. Usually, a cat can take care of herself, but may need some assistance at times. Regular grooming sessions with an appropriate comb or brush helps to keep your cat's fur in good condition by removing dirt, spreading natural oils throughout her coat, preventing tangles, and keeping her skin clean and irritant-free. If you have a cat with short hair, you probably only need to brush her once a week. If you have a long-haired feline, grooming is important each day. You should use a metal comb and work through her fur from head to toe, using care near the chest and belly. Be careful in untangling any knots (do not use scissors). Sometimes you may need to bathe your cat if her fur becomes greasy and oily, or if she's gotten into something sticky or smelly. 

Nail clipping is necessary to avoid long nails that may grow into the paw pads or injure your cat when she scratches. Use an appropriate nail clipper for cats and make sure the experience is pleasant for your cat. Consider providing your cat a treat after clipping her nails so she'll associate the nail clipping with something pleasurable. Cat's nails are usually in need of clipping about once every three weeks.

Some cats may have eye drainage, so you will need to clean their eyes on a regular basis. Persian cats with flatter faces tend to have a lot of eye drainage and it's important to keep the area below the eyes clean. You can use a warm and moist baby wash cloth to clean the area around the eyes first. You may consider using a product designed for cleaning and preventing eye stains, such as Eye Envy. 

Bedding

Silver shaded Persian Cat resting inside Sleepypod pet bed
Truffle resting inside her Sleepypod® Mobile Pet Bed

Cats spend an average of 15 hours a day, with some snoozing for up to 20 hours in a 24-hour period. You should provide a comfortable bed for your cat to sleep in that is in a safe and quiet area of the house. Cats will seek out an area where they want to sleep, whether it's in a commercial cat bed or on top of a sheet of paper on the floor. Some cats like to sleep with their owners at night or may seek out a quiet place in a secluded part of the house. Cats like to sleep on something whether it's a blanket, towel, cat tree, or a bed. Consider yourself lucky if your cat chooses to take a nap on your lap during the day or share your bed at night.

Play

Two silver shaded Persian cats playing with toy
Truffle and Brulee playing with their PetSafe® Cheese Cat Toy

Cats are naturally curious and active creatures so you need to provide them with plenty of mental and physical stimulation. Keep in mind that your cat needs to be able to hunt, stalk, and capture in order to meet her natural instinctive behaviors. Provide with appropriate resources for play that is engaging and safe. You should provide a wide variety of toys and item for play and change them on a regular basis to keep your cat stimulated. Always allow your cat to capture the "prey" at the end of a play session. If you are using a laser for play, you should end the play session near a hidden treat. You can encourage your cat to play by using interactive toys that mimic prey. If you use a wand toy with a string attached, make sure to put in a place that is out of reach when finished. Do not use string-like products such as yarn, rubber bands, tinsel, streamers, etc. because they are easily swallowed and can cause serious intestinal issues that may require surgery.

Take Your Cat to the Vet

silver shaded Persian cat being examined by vet
Brulee being examined by Dr. Boyette at her wellness checkup

August 22 is Take Your Cat to the Vet Day and we'll post a more detailed explanation of the importance of visiting a vet on a regular basis later this month. The American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) states that 80% of cats visit the veterinarian before their 1st birthday, but over 50% never return unless they are sick or in pain. Cats are notorious for hiding illness or pain, so if you wait until they are showing symptoms, it may be too late. Regular wellness examinations allow vets to evaluate the overall health of your feline and help them identify any potential health issues before they become serious illnesses. The emotional well-being of a cat can play a major role in all aspects of her life and health and visiting a vet on a regular basis can contribute to meeting all needs of your feline. Many veterinarians are offering a wellness plan to encourage you to take your cat to the vet at least once a year and some even support a bi-annual visit. 

Two Persian cats graphic for International Cat Day
Truffle and Brulee celebrating International Cat Day

Enjoy this special day with your cats by providing them with the above recommendations and a few extra treats!

What are you doing to celebrate today?

Happy International Cat Day!

13 comments:

  1. Each of the Eastside Cats receive all of this, plus constant entertainment from Bird TV, or watching their humans do chores!

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  2. In my day when I had cats there were never that many toys so I used to make big balls of aluminum foil and they used to chase them for hours around the house LOL. Great post as always. Happy National Cat Day

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  3. That's a good list, even the going to the Vet part!

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  4. Great post. Happy International Cat Day!

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  5. Happy International Cat Day! I loved all these tips.

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  6. Truffle and Brulee are definitely happy cats! These are great tips and we're sharing them with our mom.

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  7. This is a comprehensive post and spotlights all the vital points that every cat owner absolutely needs to know. Maybe you need to make a printable.

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  8. Pets are family! Thanks for sharing these great tips to keep cats healthy and happy!

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  9. Happy International Cats Day to you and your beautiful girls- love celebrating with you. Great tips for keeping cats healthy and happy.

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  10. Great tips. I loved that you included the fact that every cat is different- it's so true! We share our home and our hearts with 2 tortie cats, Pippen and Jinx, but these two couldn't be any further from one another personality wise. Jinx is a slightly overweight lazy cat that just loves attention and food. Pippen, however, is a little skeptical about letting anyone but mom touch her BUT she's a tiny little ball of fire that loves playing with anything she can get her paws on lol

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  11. Happy Belated International Cat Day to you and all the kitties out there. We just had so much fun celebrating here at the office. Thanks for sharing these wonderful tips and photos with us. Have a wonderful day.
    World of Animals

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  12. The overused word 'engagement' is the one thing cats need. Time with us, their family, and exercise either with family or in their own gardens to enjoy the fresh air.

    A happy cat is the cat who loves you as much as you love them, just like your beautiful girls Truffle and Brulee!

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