Cats make awesome pets. They’re cute and cuddly, relatively simple to look after and easy to bond with.
Unlike dogs, cats are independent ‘thinkers’ that are not minded to follow orders. They love getting your attention – just on their own terms. That’s why cats are often misunderstood. Put yourself in their ‘paws’ and it all makes purr-fect sense.
Far from being solitary and aloof animals, cats actually thrive on company. Whether they choose to purr away on your lap while you watch TV or play games with you, our feline friends need interaction. In fact, a cat that keeps to himself is usually not a happy pet, and the lack of communication may well be a sign of illness.
Luckily, showing Kitty your love and affection is pretty straightforward. All you have to do is to ensure that her basic needs are met and you will have a life-long friend.
According to cats, cleanliness is next to godliness, and they spend a significant part of their day grooming and washing themselves. Have you noticed that healthy, happy cats don’t smell (bad)? Clean toileting is the most important thing, and cats can be unbelievably fussy about their litterbox – its location, the absence (or otherwise) of odour and the feel of the cat litter under’paw’. Make sure the indoor box is placed in a safe and quiet place so business can be attended to without disturbance, and clean it every day.
Giving Kitty some proper pampering attention always goes down well. From snuggles to massages, to daily grooming with a brush (owners of long-haired felines, take note), you will quickly learn what your cat does and doesn’t like. Cats have likes and dislikes, just like you and me, so while Tiddles may like his back rubbed (never against the grain!), Kitty may prefer neck tickles. Just do more of what elicits deep purring and you will be loved forever.
Cats can sleep as much as 16 hours per day, and this tends to increase with age. Whether you provide a cat basket with a snuggly cushion or blanket, ideally perched higher up for extra feline peace of mind, or offer your purry pal free choice of your home’s soft furnishings, a safe, warm and comfy place to sleep is a must. Of course, Kitty may have her own ideas of where it’s nicest to curl up – she may decide to sleep on your bed, your lap, your favourite armchair or even in your laundry basket!
Cats have a reputation for being fussy eaters – a bit like children. This doesn’t have to be a problem, especially if listen to what Kitty is telling you. Cats are really not keen on change, so try to stick to the same catfood, once you’ve established her favourite kind. If you must change your brand of catfood for whatever reason, introduce the new food gradually over a few days to allow your cat to get used to it. Treats and titbits are no problem, as long as they are occasional and fit for purpose. Bits of leftover roast chicken once a week is fine and will be hugely appreciated, but pieces of processed meats are not the right thing to give your cat.
When it’s not sleeping time or feeding time, it must be play time! Cats love to play or hunt – same thing. That’s why being out in the garden is so exciting – there’s just so much to play with! You will see Kitty’s tail twitching as she watches a bird in the garden in the same way that a kitten will playfully pounce on your ankles. Why not play tease your cat with a piece of string, a ping pong ball or a shop bough feathery cat toy, ideally one that’s been impregnated with catnip? There’s hours of fun to be had, and you’ll soon see signs of youthful glee even in the most geriatric of pussycats!
Sara Bryant, an independent content writer working alongside a selection of companies including Vale Veterinary Clinic, who were consulted over this post.