‘Tis the Season to Address Your Cat’s Quality of Life at Home
As we roll out the red carpet for Santa, it’s easy to feel consumed by the seemingly endless naughty and nice lists. Not only are we distracted by shopping for family meals or neighborhood potlucks, but there are always last minute gifts to purchase, and a million other things to do.
The collective frenzy of the holiday season can cause us to shift our priorities a bit, and we’d be willing to bet that our cats sense it. Luckily, with a few minor adjustments, you can improve your cat’s quality of life for the new year that is just around the corner.
Magnifying Their Environment
Since cats who are allowed to free range their neighborhoods are at risk of accidental injury or exposure to contagious disease, it may make sense to close the door this holiday season. Holiday traffic, cold weather, and the prevalence of winter pet toxins are all good reasons to keep your kitty indoors this season. That said, whether your cat is staying in or going out, he or she should be microchipped, on schedule with parasite prevention, and fully vaccinated.
Up the Ante
Indoor-only cats have the potential to live the longest, healthiest lives, but this lifestyle can be at the expense of overall cat happiness. Sure, some cats are perfectly content to hang around the house, but others may become bored, depressed, lethargic, and prone to weight gain.
It’s a complicated puzzle for cat owners, but there are ways to boost your cat’s quality of life while limiting (or eliminating) their time outside.
- Maximize all vertical space in your home. Having multiple surfaces to climb or jump between not only helps keep the pounds off, but increases physical and mental stimulation. Cats prefer the highest point in any room, and giving them unfettered access to perches (with scratching posts along the way) makes them feel great.
- Add places for them to enjoy a warm sunbath, such as beneath a favorite window. Add visual interest by providing an outdoor bird feeder they can watch throughout the day. Be sure that the window locks and has secure screens.
- Add a fish tank to your cat’s environment to increase visual interest. Be sure that your cat won’t hunt the fish!
- Plant a cat-friendly indoor garden for them to chew on and sample.
- Play with them a few times a day, for about 15-20 minutes at a time. Interactive play helps your cat burn calories, but strengthens the bond between you, as well. Remember to honor your cat’s predatory instincts, and encourage them to hunt, pounce, and ambush.
- Food or treat dispensing toys can increase your cat’s quality of life while you’re not home, and rewards them for staying focused on the task at hand. If you need assistance with portion control, please let us know.
- Training your cat to walk on leash, perform tricks (like high 5’s or fetch), or to seek out and enjoy their crate all add incredible value to their routine.
A Catio for Christmas?
The answer to many possible issues connected to cat ownership may be the installation of a catio (a cat patio). This fully enclosed outdoor space gives cats the best of both worlds, and can positively enhance an indoor-only cat’s quality of life. Set it up directly off a window or door so you cat can freely roam between inside and outside, or in the yard where they can feel the impact of grass and dirt beneath their paws.
Invigorate Your Cat’s Quality of Life
If your gift to them is better overall health, we can help you get started on a dental care routine at their scheduled wellness exam. We can also address lifestyle, diet, nutrition, behavior, parasite prevention, and vaccinations.
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