When you bring your new cat home I’m sure you have a picture of what life will be like with that furry family member. For most people that dream includes companionship, affection, playtime and fun. All-too-often though, some people expect the cat to be the one to do all the work. It comes from the misconception that cats are low maintenance and that they come pre-trained. Many cats end up in shelters because people misunderstand the motivation behind behaviors or they never really understood what cats need in the first place.
To have the relationship with your cat you’ve always wanted it will take education and awareness on your part. Here is my list of 9 things that will help you strengthen the bond you share with your cat and increase his level of health and happiness. Although there are many other things needed when it comes to helping your cat live a full, happy life, these 9 tips will get you started in the right direction.
If you’re starting off with a youngster, now is the time to gently expose him to the things he’ll come across in his life. Get him comfortable with being held and touched so medicating and grooming him later won’t involve the need for bandaging your hand afterward. Expose him to other people, sounds, traveling in his carrier, visits to the veterinary clinic and so on. If done safely and gently, it may make a big difference in how your cat adjusts to changes and new experiences as he grows.
2. Feed Good Quality Food
Good nutrition plays a big role in your cat’s health. Feed good quality food that’s appropriate for your cat’s stage of life and health condition. This is not the place to opt for convenience over quality. If you’re unsure what food to feed your cat or even how much you should be feeding, talk with your veterinarian.
Don’t allow your cat to become obese and don’t get in the trap of feeding one food exclusively. If you want to avoid the risk of having your cat develop a fixed food preference, feed a variety of appropriate foods so he learns to accept various tastes and flavors. Whether you decide to feed commercial cat food, raw or homemade, get educated on what your cat specifically needs.
3. Train With Love
Don’t assume your cat automatically knows the rules of the house. Cats need training and surprisingly, they’re easy to train. Use force-free methods that create a successful roadmap for your cat toward the behavior you want. Use kindness always. Never use punishment because that can severely compromise the relationship as well as actually making the cat afraid of you. Punishment can also increase the intensity of the behavior. For example, if you punish a cat for being aggressive, chances are there will be an increase in the aggressive behavior as he will now feel more threatened. When it comes to training, there’s no room for hitting, yelling, squirting with water or any other punitive method. Cats don’t intentionally “misbehave” so there’s no reason to punish. When a cat displays a behavior you don’t like, keep in mind, to the cat the behavior is normal. It’s your job to provide an alternative for him that will satisfy both of you. To do that, determine the cause of the behavior so you can supply a more appealing option.