Cats are fickle creatures who are not shy about expressing their displeasure. Stress can cause health complications in cats, and an unhappy cat can significantly disrupt your household. Our MountainView Veterinary Hospital team provides advice that will keep your cat as pleased as punch.
Keep your cat healthy
Your cat can’t be happy if they aren’t healthy. Take steps to keep your cat as healthy as possible, including:
- Keeping your cat at a healthy weight — Cat obesity has increased 169% in the past 10 years, and overweight cats are at increased risk for several health conditions, such as cancer, kidney disease, diabetes, and arthritis. Calculate your cat’s daily energy requirements, and ensure you feed them an accurate portion so they remain at an ideal weight.
- Scheduling regular wellness visits — Cats are excellent at hiding illness, and they frequently don’t exhibit signs until their condition is advanced. Schedule regular wellness visits, so our veterinary team can perform a thorough physical examination and routine blood work to ensure your cat is hale and hearty.
- Providing dental care — Dental disease affects most cats by 3 years of age, and the harmful bacteria in your cat’s mouth can enter their bloodstream, and damage their heart, kidneys, and liver. Schedule regular professional veterinary dental cleanings and provide daily dental care to remove the bacteria in your cat’s mouth.
- Providing year-round parasite prevention — Indoor cats are susceptible to fleas, ticks, and heartworms, but year-round parasite prevention can protect them from these dangerous parasites.
Provide mental stimulation for your cat
Cats in the wild spend a large portion of their time hunting, and indoor cats can lack the mental stimulation they need to prevent boredom, which can lead to stress. Tips to keep your cat mentally stimulated include:
- Activate your cat’s hunting instinct — Feed your cat using a food puzzle toy or by hiding their meal around your home, to make them work for their food.
- Play with your cat — Schedule time every day to play with your cat. Wand style toys, toys on strings, and laser pointers tend to especially stimulate cats.
- Teach your cat a trick — Teach your cat an easy trick to engage their mind and strengthen your relationship. Ensure you use lots of praise and tempting treats to encourage them, and keep practice sessions short, so they don’t get frustrated.
Ensure your cat has access to vertical space
Cats enjoy surveying their domain from an elevated position. Cats in the wild are not only safer from predators when they are off the ground, but can also see prey better. Provide your cat with accessible vertical space so they have another reason to feel superior. Tips include:
- Provide a cat tower — You can purchase a cat tower or build your own if you are feeling crafty. These structures provide a dedicated space where your cat can enjoy time in an elevated position. Many towers have multiple levels so cats can choose their vantage point.
- Clear furniture space — Clear decorative items off your bookcases and shelves and let your cat use these areas. This will protect your valuables from your cat’s affinity for watching objects fall.
- Install floating shelves — If you really want to make your cat’s day, install floating shelves in your living area so they can navigate the space without touching the floor.
Provide suitable scratchers for your cat
Cats instinctively need to scratch to help them leave their scent, remove dead nails, and stretch tight muscles. Provide suitable scratching areas, so your cat doesn’t use your furniture or carpet to test their claws. Tips include:
- Determine your cat’s scratching style — Some cats prefer vertical scratchers, while others prefer horizontal posts. In addition, some cats like cardboard or carpet scratchers, while others like sisal. Offer your cat some scratching surface options to see what they prefer.
- Provide enough scratchers — Provide at least one scratcher in every room, and if you have multiple cats, ensure every cat is pleased with their scratching options.
Ensure your cat’s litter box is acceptable
Cats are demanding customers, and usually are extremely persnickety about their litter box setup. Ensure your cat’s bathroom is in tip top shape, so they have no reason to seek other accommodations to do their business. Tips include:
- Clean the litter box often — Cats are sensitive and will avoid a dirty litter box. Scoop the box at least twice a day, and completely clean the box and refresh the litter at least once a week.
- Provide the appropriate litter — Scented litter helps mask unpleasant smells, but your cat may not like the odor. Use unscented, clumping litter, so your cat isn’t dissuaded from using their litter box.
- Ensure you have enough litter boxes — Cats in multi-cat homes are more likely to urinate inappropriately, so ensure your cats have enough litter boxes and no one has to share. A good rule of thumb is to provide one litter box for every cat in your home, plus one extra.
- Place the litter boxes appropriately — Cats don’t like an audience when they use the bathroom, and they don’t like to be startled in the act. Place your cat’s litter box in a quiet, low-traffic area where they can feel comfortable.
Follow this advice to keep your indoor cat happy and your household peaceful. If you would like to schedule a wellness examination for your cat, contact our MountainView Veterinary Hospital team in Rockaway or Denville, so we can help ensure they stay happy and healthy.