Time to celebrate all things feline for September’s Happy Healthy Cat Month. Here’s a list of 30 things every cat owner should know to make your cat’s life even more “purrfect.”
- Keep Your Cat Cool
It may be fall, but for some, temps are still high. Keep fans or AC on during the day (even when you’re gone) for indoor cats to keep cool. If you have an outdoor cat, be sure your yard has shady spots or you have a pet door for your cat to escape the heat. When it’s extra hot, a washcloth moistened with cool water can be refreshing.
- Add Window Perches
Cats enjoy surveying their surroundings. Open shades and blinds on at least a few windows, so your cat can see what’s going on outdoors. Consider adding a bird feeder for a fun “show” to watch.
- Allow a Safe Place to Wander & Roam
Outdoor cats can climb trees, check out wildlife and have fun in the safety of their yards with an Outdoor Shields® Plus Solution. Safe boundaries let them explore without getting into gardens or chasing squirrels across the street.
- Brush Your Cat’s Teeth
Start brushing your cat’s teeth as a kitten, so he/she becomes accustomed to the process. Clean teeth can be key to preventing serious health issues down the road.
- Talk to Your Cat
Just like us, cats want attention when they “talk.” Take note of cat noises and watch ear and tail movements, so you know what’s play time vs. a possible call for help.
- Avoid Harmful Poisons
Some items we enjoy need to be handled with caution for cats. To prevent poisoning, keep these items out of your cats’ reach: avocados, chocolate, detergents, glues, grapes, liquid potpourri, nicotine and tea tree oil.
- Maintain Healthy Weight
Since dry food is high in carbs, unless cats are very active, they’re at risk for weight gain and increasing the chance of health problems. Explore canned cat food or other foods that are naturally packed with more protein. Plus, with products like the Pet Safe® Brand Feeder, you can monitor your pets portion control.
- Groom Your Cat
Keep a pretty kitty with regular grooming. Fifteen minutes once or twice a week can prevent matting, reduce hairballs and give you a chance to check on overall health. It provides bonding time too!
- Get IDed
Even indoor cats need a collar with ID and contact info. An open window or door can peak the curiosity of even the best-behaved. The Humane Society reminds that this is the way to help others return cats to their home.
- Reduce Sun Exposure
Even cats can get skin cancer, so minimize midday sun exposure. For outdoor pets, keep them in shaded areas as much as possible. Natural, non-toxic sunscreen rubbed on ears and the top of the nose can also help.
- Treat with Healthy Cat Treats
Too many treats or high calorie food can lead to heftier kitties, putting them at risk for diabetes, hypertension and other health issues. Make sure treats are healthy and given sparingly.
- Create “Tree-like” Spaces
Being natural climbers, encourage cats’ instincts to find the perfect perch with cat trees, which provide a view from the top and exercise to get there. Cat shelves can also be placed throughout the home in high places that only cats would go.
- Stimulate Your Cat
Keep things interesting by moving around climbing trees and scratching posts. Provide new toys or introduce new games to play so that cats are stimulated and happy.
- Play More
Dedicate at least 15 minutes a day to interactive play, which keeps cats active and can help satisfy their hunting instinct. Whether it’s the TroliCat Laser Toy (never shine in their faces!), balls of catnip, feathers or a game of hide and seek with some empty boxes, cats and owners will benefit from the fun of a play date.
- Satisfy Your Cat’s Hunting Instincts
As predators, cats enjoy stalking, hunting and pouncing on their food. “Feed” that instinct by moving their feeding bowls, if only a few feet. Alternate feedings from high and low spots as the extra jumping and climbing encourages exercise as well.
- Have Access to Water
Just like us, cats need to stay hydrated to stay healthy. Keep at least two bowls of fresh water in different areas of the home. Encouraging cats to drink water helps lower the risk of some diseases and helps flush toxins from the kidneys. With some cats being more likely to enjoy running water, you can even consider a cat fountain.
- Set Indoor Boundaries
Keep your feline away from fragile items, so everyone stays safe and happy. With a Micro Shields® Indoor Solution the smallest spaces can be kept cat free, and they’ll be happy to perch in a cozy spot away from the valuables (or trash and counters!).
- Embrace DIY Cat Toys
Not all toys have to be bought. Cats enjoy playing with cardboard boxes of various sizes and empty paper-towel rolls (even more fun if treats are inside!).
- Have a First Aid Kit
Just like we keep basic meds and bandages on hand, cats need a first aid kit for emergencies too. A basic kit should include contact info for your vet, the nearest emergency vet clinic and animal poison control, along with basic medical supplies.
- Clean the Litter Box
Cats are known neat freaks, so clean their litter boxes daily. This will help with hygiene as well. For busy pet parents, the ScoopFree litter box the is a life saver!
- Watch TV for Cats
Yes; cats love TV too! Your feline friends will especially enjoy programs or DVDS of birds, fish and other animals they like to stalk. Animal Wellness Magazine says there are even apps for cats, so they can try to “catch” mice or fish when an iPad is on the floor.
- Track Behavior
Track their behavior so that as they age, differences are noted and can be shared with vets. The key to a happy and healthy cat is looking out for possible problems, so they can be remedied early.
- Encourage Hunting Behavior
With their innate curiosity, indoor cats can get bored without enough stimulation. In addition to play time, encourage “hunting” by hiding favorite treats around the home or use special toys or puzzles to give mental stimulation to reach the treat. These same enrichment games are also used in zoos on big cats, like tigers and lions, for mental and physical activity.
- Monitor Cat Naps
All cats love to nap, with kittens and seniors spending the most time snoozing. But if it seems they’re sleeping too much, check with your vet.
- Provide Catnip
Many cats love catnip, which can be found in most pet and garden stores. If cats are prone to munch on greens, this is great to keep around for them to enjoy as opposed to eating houseplants.
- Put Your Cat on a Leash
Just like dogs, some cats can be trained (best to start when young) to walk on a leash. If in a quiet neighborhood, this is a great way for owners and cats to get in some exercise and quality time together.
- Scratch That Itch
Don’t suppress cats’ urge to scratch. Place posts and pads near favorite nap spots, where the family spends time and near objects you don’t want them to scratch.
- Explore the Outdoors
For cats that spend time in the home and yard, they can come and go as they please with the Doorman™ Electronic Pet Door. You make the rules and control the times of day your pet has access to safely play outside.
- Be there
While some cats might seem aloof, all crave attention. From walks and games to playing or cuddling on the couch, make time for feline friendship.
- Visit the Vet
Make an annual appointment with the vet. For older cats, consider two exams a year. Cats are adept at hiding signs of illness, so getting a physical exam and bloodwork can ensure problems are caught before they get too advanced.