Here are five quick, common sense tips to improve the life of your cat and in doing so improve your life simultaneously. A good cat guardian wants their cat to be content and healthy.
Be with your cat as much as possible. Provided you are an aware and reasonably thoughtful cat owner, your presence will benefit your cat. It will also benefit you. Cats like our company. Domestic cats are not as solitary and as self-contained as some people believe. They have become quite sociable. Interact with your cat with as much play as time permits and gentle, loving communication.
If you have more than one cat make sure they get along. You might be away a lot and thought that getting another cat is the answer. It might be but it might not. A lot of unforeseen and almost invisible stresses can build up in households with more than one cat because they don’t get on. Stress causes illness in the long term. An anxious cat is unhappy and potentially unhealthy.
Be observant about health. Don’t assume that just because your cat is quiet and out of the way that all is well. It might not be. For example, two commonplace diseases/infestations can be checked very easily: fleas and poor oral health (health tip on gum disease). Alway check for fleas and check the mouth. A lot mouth problems go unnoticed but because of the food they eat cats have a propensity to gum disease in middle age and beyond. Going to the vet should be minimised but not eliminated. Too many cat owners are not prepared to take their cat to the vet in a timely manner. This is a failure in cat caretaking. It is a given that all cats should spayed, neutered and microchipped nowadays. There is no reason for avoiding these procedures. Have a general understanding of cat health.
Be aware of the benefits of a cat friendly environment. Jackson Galaxy calls it ‘catification’. The environment in which a cat lives is vital to happiness. I’d recommend Jackson’s book:
If you don’t want to buy the book, think: calmness, vertical spaces, routines, a safe outdoor space if feasible, observation areas, sleeping areas, hiding areas, no fighting between humans (both oral and physical!), well-trained kids with a knowledge of handling cats. Know cat behavior and respect it. Never anthropomorphise the domestic cat.
Buy the best food possible and preferable raw cat food; provided your cat likes it and you are able prepare and store it safely. Vets are against raw cat food. They think we can’t do it. We can. Some cats won’t eat it because they are conditioned to eat manufactured food. In the USA I suggested these a few years ago:
- Best wet food
- Best dry food – this should be kept to a minimum and for grazing. Don’t count on your vet to give good advice about cat food. They get commissions and promote sack fulls of dry kibble.
P.S. If anyone wants to add to the list please do. This list came from my head. It is limited to five. No doubt there are many more but these are some core aspects of cat caretaking.
P.P.S. The photo is of my cat Gabriel in the garden. It is not 100% cat safe but I have figured that the benefits outweigh the risks.