Posts Tagged: cat enrichment
Questions From Your Cat
January 22nd is Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day
You are probably wondering what kind of questions cats would ask. We have a few in mind and we will even provide the answers! It is a great time to learn more about the favorite cat in your life as well as cats in general.
Let’s start with some questions that may seem obvious. What may not seem so obvious are the answers. Our goal is to provide you with some light hearted fun while hopefully telling you some things you don’t already know.
One of the Most Popular Questions
Question 1 from your kitty is “Why can’t I scratch the big thing in the living room you call a sofa?” Everyone but kitty knows why he can’t scratch the sofa. The real question isn’t why he can’t scratch the sofa, but rather why does he want to scratch the sofa?
Yes, it can be frustrating when your cat scratches things he shouldn’t. However, it is important to know that scratching is NORMAL behavior for cats. Scratching serves important functions for cats as well.
- Scratching helps kitty maintain the use of and motion of his claws. This motion is used in climbing and hunting. Scratching also is a great way for kitty to stretch.
- Scratching also provides a way for cats to mark their territory. Scratching leaves visible marks and deposits scent allowing cats to communicate with each other.
- Lastly, scratching helps cats keep their nails groomed.
If you want kitty to stop scratching your furniture or carpet get him a scratcher or condo (keep reading before you decide on which condo to buy). You can attract your cat to the scratcher with pheromone sprays or catnip.
Some Cats Want This Answered More Than Others
Question 2 from your kitty is “Why can’t I have human food?” Best practice is to feed your cat a balanced diet made for cats and one that contains the right nutrients. One such nutrient is Taurine. Taurine is an amino acid that is found exclusively in animal-based proteins. This ingredient is essential for normal vision, digestion, heart muscle function and to maintain a healthy immune system.
In addition there are also ingredients that are dangerous for your cat. These foods include onions, garlic, raw eggs or meat, chocolate, raisins, grapes, alcohol or anything containing xylitol.
Something else to consider is how you feed your cat. While many people think cats are “easy” pets to keep, you may not realize that cats have instinctual preferences for feeding that we humans should consider. Please visit catfriendly.com to learn more about this important topic.
Hill Country Animal Hospital is a Cat Friendly Hospital. The American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) accredits our hospital with this designation because we meet certain requirements and work to ensure low stress visits for your cat. The AAFP developed a website devoted to cat owners called Catfriendly.com. The information on this website is there to help you provide a low stress and enriched environment for your cat to thrive in! Low stress isn’t just for vet visits.
This Question Seems Obvious
Question 3 is “Why can’t I drink all the milk?” This one is pretty easy. Cats cannot have milk because most cats are lactose intolerant. Giving your cat cow’s milk can cause GI upset. You can buy specially formulated milk for cats if you want to give your cat a special treat now and then.
All Cats Want To Know
Question 4 from your cat is “Why do you pet me places I don’t like?” Cats love attention and petting. However, not all petting spots are equal. Consider location.
If you think cats are finicky, you would be correct. Cats are pretty picky when it comes to where they like to be touched and petted. Below we will list locations and let you know what your cat thinks of these locations.
- The top of your cat’s head is a yes.
- Cheeks and chin are a big yes!! The more pets in these locations the better!
- The chest and back are usually ok as long you provide gentle strokes.
- The tail, the belly and the limbs are generally off limits. Most cats do not love to be touched or petted in these areas.
The reason chins and cheeks are popular petting spots is because cats have scent glands on the top of their head, chin, cheeks (and at the base of their tails). Part of marking territory is leaving their scent on things, even on you! Always watch your cat’s body language to see if he likes how you are petting him.
You’ve Wondered This But Probably Haven’t Asked
Question 5 that your cat wants answered is “Why do you get mad when I jump to high places?” Your answer to this question may be another question: “Why do cats always want to be in a high place?
Cats instinctually want to be in high places because they want to protect themselves. Hanging out or sleeping on a high perch or position gives them an aerial advantage for safety and for spotting potential dangers. Cats frequently use high perches or landings to escape housemate dogs or other cats.
This is why if you are choosing condos for your cat, you may want to consider at least one tall condo or cat tree. If you don’t have a condo, you could clear out a space on a shelf in your closet or whatever high spot your cat already likes to go.
The point to some of these questions and answers is that cats have needs that if met, will make them feel safe and secure. Meeting their needs for enrichment will make happier and healthier cats. Cat behavior has come a long way and to learn more about the Five Pillars of a Healthy Feline Environment please visit https://catfriendly.com/ This website has a wealth of information for cat owners to take their cat’s life from living to thriving!
Cat Lovers Unite to Celebrate!
December is National Cat Lover’s Month. How great is it to have an entire month dedicated to those of us who love cats? I am proud to say that I am definitely in this camp. This is a very busy time of year but don’t forget to celebrate your feline friends this month. For this month I am proud to be a crazy cat lady! Who are we kidding, I am a crazy cat lady every month.
How Will You Celebrate?
Celebrate your month of feline fantastic-ness any way your heart desires! There are so many ways to say “I love you” to your cat. Here are a few ideas of what you can do.
Schedule a Wellness Visit with Your Veterinarian
Ok, your cat may not love this idea but good health is definitely a gift at any age. Schedule a visit and bring your cat for an exam and vaccines. Always take advantage and get lab work performed as well. No matter your cat’s age, the best value at your visit is blood work because of the information it gives us! As a young cat it gives us a good base line and as your pet ages, we can detect abnormalities early with blood work.
Give Your Cat A “Spaw” Day
Grooming not only helps your feline look and feel better but it helps provide some great one-on-one time with your feline friend. Give your kitty an extra round of brushing. You can take the opportunity to take notice of any new lumps and bumps that may need to be looked at by the vet. Also take the time to brush your cat’s teeth if you can. Start slowly with a gauze-covered finger and work up to a toothbrush.
Cats need professional dental care too so consider scheduling a dental cleaning with your veterinarian. Dental health is so important and your cat will feel so much better getting any painful areas dealt with sooner rather than later.
Buy Some New Cat Toys
Did you know that your cat will actually appreciate a toy that allows you to interact with him? Try a toy like “Da Bird”. I can tell you from experience that all my cats come running when they hear this toy come out! Cats love toys that simulate prey activity that they miss out on while living indoors.
Other great toys include food puzzles, balls to chase, toys to bat around and anything containing catnip.
Try Furniture Made for Cats
I’m sure some people might think that cat furniture is going overboard but it really helps meet the need of enrichment for our feline friends. Cats instinctively love to seek out a high spot in their environment to perch. This allows them to see all while remaining safe in their environment. This makes cat trees a great idea, especially if your kitty is not the only pet in the house. If you also have a dog he doesn’t love or even other cats, try getting a cat tree. It gives your feline friend his own space and gives him a place to retreat to thus cutting down on his stress.
Another piece of “furniture” that I have had great success with is a lounger. Find these loungers at Amazon and provide a place for your kitties to relax or scratch. This particular product and those like it are great because once one side gets worn out you can turn it over and extend it’s life. Then after both sides have been scratched, you can use a saw to cut it in half, then turn each half over to the new side and now you have two new half-loungers! You can extend the life of your lounger with a little DIY.
Scratching is a good thing
Another item you can add to your home that will bring much joy and enrichment for your cats are items for them to scratch. As much as many humans dislike for cats to scratch, scratching is a very natural part of a cat’s life.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money on scratchers but do provide an acceptable place for your little tiger to scratch. The important thing about scratchers is that they are sturdy enough to withstand intense scratching.
Some cats like scratching carpet while others like sisal (a rope like material). Once you know what your cats like you can either buy or make a scratching area. Store bought or hand-made, something as simple as putting some carpet on a piece of cardboard and attaching it to your wall or the back of a door with some nails or adhesive of some kind. Make it tall enough for your cat to stretch up and scratch. Some people even put a cute painted picture frame around it to finish it off. What a simple way to provide enrichment for your cat!
Can You Teach a Cat a Trick?
You sure can! You can teach cats trick by finding a treat that they love!! Try freeze dried chicken, shrimp or salmon. Then shape your cat’s behavior by simply waiting until he does the desired behavior to reward him. This can provide you with great bonding time with your feline companion as well as some entertainment.
Make Your Celebration Last All Year
No matter how you choose to spend time with your ball of fluff, make sure you give your cat a little extra attention for the month of December. Then maybe make it a habit for every month of the year. After all, what is a better way to celebrate National Cat Lover’s month than by giving your cat extra love year round?