Christmas is around the corner and the New Year is quickly approaching.  You might be thinking about some new year’s resolutions to start off 2019. Here are a few tips and ideas to make your cat happier. Of course, your cats will be happy if you start implementing some of these New Year’s resolutions immediately!

Make your cat happier at Christmas

Place large ceramic water bowls or fountains in areas your cat socializes and sleeps, away from litter and food. Your cat will drink more.

Think vertically! Add shelving, cat condos, surfaces and platforms so your cat can easily be up high and climb. Make sure platforms are large and accessible for your cat and there are multiple ways up and down.

Switch smaller litter boxes or pet-store bought litter pans to large, open and shallow sweater or storage boxes. Fill themup regularly with clean, unscented litter — be good about scooping. The more often, the better! The size of the box should be the length of your cat (at a minimum) and so that, if your cat turns around, all four paws can easily stay in the box.

Find time to play — in the preferred way for your cat. Often we dangle toys above our cat’s head or chase, follow, and tease our cats with feather wands and pole toys. Cats can get bored, and even irritated, when we play this way.  Get small toys for your cat, and play with your cat in a way that mimics the act of hunting. Prey animals tend to be small and quiver, move, dart, run away, and hide from the cat. Cats tend to sit, wait, and ambush when they hunt.

The fun part of ‘play’ for a cat will tend to be stalking, waiting and watching the toy  (which can be rather boring for us). Cats will then pounce, stalk, wait, and watch again. Rethink playing with your cat as a good game of ‘Hide the Critter’ or ‘Hide and Seek’ (the toy hides, and your cat watches, stalks, and then catches or pounces on it). After your cat catches the toy a few times, end the play session with treats, which can easily transition your cat to another activity.

If your cat seems ravenous and is raiding the refrigerator or jumping on counters for food, consider feeding your cat more. Cats naturally eat 10-20 small meals a day, and most cats are healthier behaviorally and better behaved when they are free-fed.

© 2018 Alana Stevenson.

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