How to Keep Your Cat Stress-Free and Happy Jan 26, 2014 14:31:57 GMT -5
Post by Macy on Jan 26, 2014 14:31:57 GMT -5
Once you can check off each of the four main steps below, your cat should be feeling relaxed and pleased with life.
Play with your cat Since physical activity can reduce stress, playing with your cat for 10 to 15 minutes twice a day may help both of you feel more relaxed. Here are some tips:
• Wind down the play in the last couple of minutes so your cat can calm down, and always end by giving your cat a treat or a meal.
• Set aside a couple of special toys for your play time, then put them away for later.
• To keep toys interesting, rotate them every few days.
Experiment with games. Here are a few tried and true ways to play with your cat to get you started:
• Chase The best type of interactive toy is a fishing-rod toy that has a 3-foot rod attached to a 3-foot string that has a couple of feathers at the end of it. Cats love to grab and pounce on these feathers as you move them around. Some cats also enjoy a cat laser light. Cats usually love these toys because they get to chase "prey." When playing with your cat, try to simulate the cats hunting of prey as best as possible. Prey slinks, stops, hides, makes sudden movements, and moves away from the cat.
• Fetch Some cats are like dogs; they love chasing treats or dry food and then returning for more.
• Rolling Other cats adore chasing balls made out of aluminum foil or other material, the rings from beverage bottles, or catnip mice.
• Catnip toys Most adult cats love catnip. Buy some high quality catnip and rub it on the cat’s existing toys or the scratching post, put some on the floor, or stuff some in a sock and tie the end.
Make your home interesting Boredom can cause stress, so give your cat interesting or fun things to do on her own. Try these:
• Scratching posts The best posts are at least 3 feet high, sturdy, and made of sisal (a rope material). Place the post in a prominent location that’s easy to get at. Since cats like to scratch while playing, encourage yours to use the post by playing with her near it. Put some catnip on the post, too.
• Hidden food Cats love to find hidden food. Leave out treat balls, which are plastic balls with holes; once you put treats in and put the ball down, your cat will learn to move the ball to make the treats fall out the holes. You can make your own treat ball by sealing the ends of a paper towel roll and poking holes in it.
• New things to play with and investigate Cats love to play with paper bags (cut off the handles), cardboard boxes, aluminum foil balls, and crinkly wrapping paper.
• Catnip Most adult cats love catnip. Buy some high quality catnip and rub it on the cat’s existing toys or the scratching post, put some on the floor, or stuff some in a sock and tie the end.
Make your home feel safe For a cat, a safe home is essential to feeling happy and calm. The following things will make your home a refuge:
• Hiding places Cats need to have safe hiding spaces throughout the home. Here are a few options: cat carriers, cardboard boxes, space in closets or towels draped over chairs, cat trees, or soft tents (sold in pet-supply stores).
• High resting spaces Cats often seek security in high spaces where they can observe the home environment. Cat trees are the ideal high resting space, but you can also make a safe place for the cat in your home by clearing space on book shelves, desks, windowsills, and maybe adding a cat perch to the wall.
• Calming products Various products release scents in the air (that we can’t smell) or natural chemicals that can calm stressed cats. They include Comfort Zone Feliway Plug-In Diffuser; L-theanine, a chewable supplement that is clinically proven to reduce cats' stress levels; and flower remedies, such as Bach’s Rescue Remedy.
• If it's a multi-cat household, make sure there are enough resources for everyone Provide multiple litter boxes and multiple food and water bowls, many high resting and hiding spaces, as well as individual attention and interactive play time with each cat.
Maintain the Routine A change in your cat’s eating, resting, or play routine caused by something like a new work schedule, a vacation, or a new baby in the home can really make your cat nervous and insecure. If you must change your cat’s routine, try these three tips to make it easier on her:
• If you know your cat’s routine is going to be changed, help your cat adjust by gradually shifting to the new schedule beforehand.
• Make sure your cat has lots of play time and interesting things to do as she gets used to the new schedule.
• If the change is short-term, such as a vacation, jump back to the old schedule as soon as possible when you return.
• If the change is long-term, make sure the new routine is consistent so your cat can rely on it. If it’s work-related, try to leave and return home at the same time. If your new baby’s needs make the old play time impossible, schedule the new play time at the same time every day.