Happy cat campaign tip 2 – observe your cat’s behaviour and take notes

Observe your cat to learnt how to make them happy.
Observe your cat to learnt how to make them happy. Image: MikeB
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In 2011 a veterinary charity in the UK assessed the physical and social environment of domestic cats and decided that on average in cat owners needed to improve as the score they came up with was 64%.

Unsurprisingly, the score was lower in homes where there was more than one cat because issues surrounding territory and resource guarding increase stress.

The charity also decided that owners needed to do more to better understand cat behaviour and gave British cat owners a score of 66%.

Dr John Bradshaw’s writes in Cat Sense: “Without doubt, if cat owners understood more about what makes their cats ‘tick’, many cats could live much happier lives”. The cat owner’s duty is (a) to provide a secure home and (b) make their cat as happy as possible.

The problem is that unlike dogs, cats are not very good at telling us what makes them happy! They are undemonstrative. Cat caregivers have to read the minds of their cats through their vocalisations, behaviour and body language.

Jackson Galaxy advises cat caregivers to be a detective and observe and even take notes! It may take quite a long time to learn what your cat likes. Cat watching (as Dr Desmond Morris has called it) should be a permanent part of cat ownership.

Cats are adaptable. They have retained their wild cat character to varying degrees but have learned to live in the human environment.

It is up to caregivers to make the environment as pleasant as possible for their cat while also making it comfortable for humans.

Tip: be observant about your cat’s behaviour. They’ll do the same things at the same time daily. That’s part of their daily rhythms.

So, for instance, if they are allowed outside, they’ll probably spend time outside the home at night – the night shift. Cats are often night shift workers and if so, they’ll sleep in the daytime. Their circadian rhythm will probably be the opposite to that of their owner.

This means that the cat has to sleep when there is potentially a far bit of activity in the home with associated noise.

The clue here is to provide at least one quiet corner of the home to where the cat can retire for some peaceful sleep away from the hustle and bustle of day-to-day human life.

Within that quiet place provide a cosy cardboard box that has been easily modified to make it a hidey hole. This is tip one!

Cats prefer some foods over others. Don’t just plonk down some cheap dry cat food 24/7. Provide wet and best quality dry and find out their favourite wet cat foods. They’ll have one or two. Provide it. Make them happy.

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