New Year’s Resolutions for Cat Owners

IMG_0109_edited-1 The first one? Spend time with your cat. Cats really are social critters. They may not all be lap kitties, but they should and can be much more in their owner's life than the creature that vomits hair on the couch. Many cats have favorite games they like to play. It may take a bit of time to find out what your cat likes. Many like chasing a laser light, some like fishing rod toys that allow them to chase the “bait”. About 50% of cats like cat nip toys. Most, not all, cats like to be petted. Make it a goal to figure out your cat’s desired petting/scratching sites. If your kitty does not like her back petted, don’t insist on it, just try rubbing her chin instead. Now’s the time to address a healthy diet for your pet. Talk to your veterinarian about recommendations. If your pet is overweight, work at getting your kitty’s weight down slowly. Increase her exercise with play and control food portions. Canned food is preferred over dry for cats. The increased water content helps prevent bladder disease, helps the cat feel fuller and is easier for portion control. If your portly cat will not eat canned food, use measured portions of dry food and serve in a food toy. It is more fun for the cat to eat this way, engages the kitty brain, and slows the eating process. Catch up on your cat’s medical care. So many owners are reluctant to take their cats to the vet for a check up. All too often I see my Schuylkill County patients arrive with significant dental disease, heart disease, weight loss or gain that could have been much easier and more economically managed if addressed earlier. Many people are concerned about the car ride to the vet hospital. Get your kitty used to a carrier by leaving it out, placing treats and favorite toys in and around it. Put a soft towel in it to make it a comfy bed. If your cat is very stressed, talk to your veterinarian about anti-anxiety medication to make the veterinary visit easier. Indoor cats should have an environment that keeps them stimulated and happy. Most cats love perches set at windows so they can watch birds and outdoor activities. Many cats like towers where they can observe the room or tunnels where they can hide. One of my favorite places for cat furniture is www.angelicalcat.com. Sturdy, functional, and fun. If cat’s could talk, the first thing out of their mouths would probably be….”clean my litter box….please”. They don’t have thumbs. They don’t like to use a dirty box. It‘s your job to keep their box clean, make sure they have enough boxes, litter they find appealing, and have access to them without stress. Cats are wonderful pets. People like me love them so much that they become obsessed with them! It is our duty to be sure the cats in our lives are happy and healthy!     above: Bon Bon photo by RoxAnne Franklin