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10 Essential Ways to Keep Your Cat Happy

books by author Pam Johnson-Bennett and a quote from Winn Feline Foundation

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Set up enrichment activities for your cat so he can enjoy playtime on his own as well. Don’t just pile toys up in a corner, but instead, strategically place them in locations that will spark your cat’s interest. A fuzzy mouse perched on the edge of a cat tree or peeking out from a paper bag that has been placed on its side, can be hard for a cat to resist. Puzzle feeders are another way to integrate playtime in a way cats truly understand. Place treats inside a puzzle feeder so your cat gets a reward for activity. Puzzle feeders are easily found in pet supply stores and online. You can also make homemade ones for both dry or wet food. Here’s more information on introducing your cat to a puzzle feeder.

How to Introduce Your Cat to Puzzle Feeders

Make good use of the environment to create places for your cat to climb, jump, hide and have fun. Cat tunnels, cat trees, perches, cardboard boxes, open paper bags, etc., create added entertainment in a cat’s daily life.

4. Do a Mealtime Check-Up

How is your cat’s nutritional program? Is he eating food that’s appropriate for his age, health, and activity level? If you have doubts, talk to your veterinarian about what might need to be changed. If your cat has gained weight, your veterinarian can make recommendations on how to set-up a weight-reduction plan that can be done safely. It’s important that cats lose weight gradually to prevent liver problems.

In addition to what your cat eats, take a look at the bowl you’re using to feed him and the location in which he has his meals. Cats don’t like to have their whiskers squished. Make sure the bowl you use is shallow and wide to create whisker comfort. Also, place the bowl in a location that creates security and peace during mealtime.

If there’s tension in your multicat family, set up multiple feeding stations to ensure no one gets nosed out of their own food bowl.

Don’t place the water bowl right next to the food. Cats like a little distance between food and water. Keep the water bowl clean and fill it with fresh water every day. It’s a good idea to set up multiple water stations around the house.

5. Set up Hiding Places

Cats like to hide and the ability to do so can be a valuable stress reducer. Locate hiding places in social hubs in your house to encourage a timid or fearful cat to stay in the room. The hiding place lets the cat feel invisible and gives him time to calm down and gauge the situation. Hiding places can be created by using high-sided beds, cave-style beds, boxes on their sides, or open paper bags.

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6. Increase Vertical Territory

This can be as simple as placing cat trees near windows or you can really take advantage of unused wall space and install cat shelves, cat skywalks, and wall-mounted stairways. There are many companies online that sell shelves and walkways for you to design a vertical world for your cat. Just be sure the pieces are sturdy and that you space them well so a cat doesn’t have to make a giant leap from one wall perch to another. It’s also important that you not create a dead end perch where a cat could be ambushed by another cat. Always have more than one on/off ramp.

7. Be Consistent and Predictable

Cats take comfort in familiarity and having a predictable schedule. Maintain consistency in when your cat is fed, when the litter box is changed, your interaction with your cat, playtime, and so on. Understandably, changes in life happen but they can be made far less stressful if you ease your cat through them.

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