8 ways to keep your cat happy and healthy

All cats are sensitive to stress and this can have a significant impact on their physical and emotional health. So, seeing as a happy cat is more likely to stay healthy than an unhappy cat, here are some tips for cheering up your kitty...

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It’s so important for their health that your furry friend is content, whether at home, in the garden or in an apartment. Simply knowing what will make them happy means you’ll be able to achieve a harmonious environment for your cat, which in turn will make you happy – I mean, there’s nothing that makes me smile more than a purring puss!

1. PLAYING BRINGS JOY

Play is essential for cats of all ages, not just tiny kittens. It’s vital for the animal’s physical health, brain function and helps to keep them entertained. There’s no need to spend a huge amount of money on expensive toys when nothing entertains a cat more than chasing a piece of string or batting a balled-up piece of paper around!

You could invest in mechanical mice, balls with bells, teaser toys or even a laser pointer, but the effect of the physical movement and paw-eye coordination development will be the same, whatever they play with. Entertaining play is essential for your pet to exercise, improve its balance, muscular, visual, olfactory, auditory acuity, concentration and analysis ability, and hunting instinct.

You can leave toys out for your pet to play with when they’re alone to prevent them from getting bored (although, let’s face it, they’re probably sleeping). They’ll be attracted by the scent of catnip toys, like my cat’s knitted catnip mouse, and will play by themselves. Plus, you can play along with them when you’re at home. This also helps you to bond with your cat and become good friends.

2. A COSY SLEEPING NOOK

We all know that cats love to sleep, and they’ll often choose a specific spot that they love for snoozing. But this can change regularly and you may find that they begin to frequent a new sleeping-zone. If so, you can move their pet bed into the new favourite position to ensure they’re comfortable while they nap.

You can also create lots of comfy little nooks around the house where your pet will be able to snuggle up in total safety. You can create a variety of sleeping zones including some more concealed spots and higher locations so your pet watch over the environment while feeling safe. Try not to position a pet bed in a passageway as cats don’t like to be disturbed during their rest. 

3. OFFER THEM FREEDOM

Your cat will be happiest when they are able to look after themselves and make their own decisions about where to go and when to eat or drink. Your cat should unrestricted access to everything they need, including food, water, a cushion, an old blanket, litter tray and a scratching post to satisfy their natural urge to stretch and scratch.

A cat flap that allows total freedom of passage to the outside provides a safe garden, courtyard, and balconies is a must for outdoor cats. If you have indoor cats, they’ll still no doubt enjoy gazing out of the window so make sure there’s an empty space on the back of an armchair or on a sideboard so that they can reach the windowsill if needed.

4. GIVE THEM THE ATTENTION THEY WANT

Even though a cat is a self-sufficient animal, it craves hugs and attention. They understand how to get affection from their owners and, as a result, we must respond to their expectations to keep our pets happy. You’ll know when they want some fuss because they’ll be fussing you, with nudges and purrs.

BUT you should give them only the attention they want. Even through we love to cuddle our pets, they might not always be in the mood for it and you could even make them feel unhappy by holding them when they don’t want the attention. There are tell-tale signs that’ll show you whether your cat isn’t up for a cuddle so…

5. READ THEIR BODY LANGUAGE

If a cat walks away from a stoking session, that’s because they want it to end. When your kitty turns their back on you, they want to be left alone. A swooshy, beating tail means they’re getting agitated, so you should back off! And it is equally important to respect the moments when your pet is washing, eating or using the litter tray and to not interrupt them. In other words, we should never push our cat to do anything if they don’t want to.

Your cat understands the meaning of the different tones in your voice and can discriminate between them with ease, so speak kindly to you pet and try not to raise your voice when they’re in the room. You may notice that your cats ears go back or they cower if they hear loud noises so they more peaceful and quiet the environment, the more relaxed they will feel.

6. A HAPPY TUMMY

Of course, feeding your cat is going to make them happy – and healthy. Select quality cat food, give them a variety of flavours and textures, and choose formulas that are appropriate for your pet’s age and lifestyle (active or passive, indoor, long-haired etc).

Allow your cat to eat little and often so that they don’t feel worried about where their next meal is coming from. Serve it in small amounts so that your cat doesn’t end up eating more that the daily recommendation, since an excess of food raises the risk of obesity in cats, just as it does in humans.

Make sure your cat receives all their requirement of vitamins and minerals from their daily food, and that it contains enough protein. Remember that cats are carnivores by nature and require animal protein, so vegetarian diets are not acceptable for them, unless they have a medical condition that dictates it. For example, if your cat has allergies your vet may suggest a hypoallergenic insect cat food, which many cats enjoy eating and that will still give them the protein they need. Ensure that there is always fresh water accessible.

7. RESPECT THEIR PRIVACY

Regarding the position of your pet’s litter tray, it should be placed away from comings and goings and in a spot where your cat doesn’t feel at risk. Cat’s like their privacy and hate to be watched when they’re using the loo so a litter tray with a cover feels even more private for them.

Cats have a strong sense of smell and are naturally clean animals so dirty litter is no-go for them, so you should keep the litter tray clean at all times. This ensures they be won’t put off using the tray by a too-busy environment or dirty tray, and healthy toilet habits equals a happy, healthy cat. 

8. HEALTH CHECK-UPS

You can keep an eye on your cat’s health by grooming them, which allows you to check the condition of their fur, skin and body while also providing a very pleasing pampering session. Of course, only brush them when they’re in the mood for it! If your pet has long hair it’s a good idea to brush them daily and every four days if they have short hair.

Has a veterinarian examined your pet’s health recently? Yearly check-ups, vaccinations and regular worming or flea treatments are important throughout your cat’s life and can help to solve any health conditions they develop.

Taking good care of your cat is essential for them to be happy since it shows them how much you love them. Let me know your own tips for taking care of your cats in the comments below, I’d love to hear all about your furry friends and their habits. 🙂

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Cassie Fairy
Cassie is a freelance writer with a Masters degree in lifestyle promotion studies. She loves to 'get the look for less' so regularly shares thrifty fashion posts, DIY interior design ideas and low-cost recipes on her blog.

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