4. Maintain Veterinary Care
The cat you rescued from the side of the road needs the same quality veterinary care as the expensive purebred purchased from the most high-end breeder. Your cat should see the veterinarian annually until he’s a senior and then visits should be twice yearly. Cats are very good at masking pain and illness, and often the only way cat parents know something is wrong is when there’s a change in behavior. If your cat shows a change in either behavior, appetite, water intake or litter box routine, it could indicate an underlying medical problem. Never skip that veterinary appointment because doing so could cause your cat to suffer.
5. Create the Right Litter Box Set-Up
It’s not about what’s appealing for you, it’s about what works for your cat. Too many times, people try to hide the litter box in a remote location in the house where it gets forgotten so it doesn’t get cleaned enough. The litter box should be easy for the cat to get to, the right size, filled with a soft litter that your cat likes and he should feel safe when he’s in there.
If you have a multicat household then there should be an adequate number of boxes scattered throughout the house. Having one more box than you have cats is a good way to ensure each kitty will be able to find a secure place to potty. And, here’s an overlooked aspect of kitty happiness when it comes to the litter box: make sure you scoop the box at least twice a day.
6. Make Time for Play
Interactive playtime is one of the best ways to build trust and bond with your cat. Being a hunter, your cat was born to move and use his incredible skill to stalk and capture prey. Engage in interactive play sessions at least twice a day with your cat. Sessions should last at least 15 minutes each. These play sessions are so important to a cat who has spent all day waiting for you to come home from work. No matter what type of personality your cat has, those interactive play sessions can double as fun and as training time.
To really increase the quality of your cat’s daily life, provide opportunities for him to play when he’s alone during the day or night. A little environmental enrichment can go a long way in terms of his happiness. Food-dispensing toys, puzzle toys, cat trees, tunnels, cat shelving and other cat structures can turn a boring, ho-hum environment into a kitty playground. Providing play opportunities doesn’t have to break the budget either. Some of the best puzzle feeders or climbing structures are the ones that are homemade.
For older cats or ones with limited mobility, give them the option to play within their physical ability and create easy access to favorite elevated locations through the use of pet stairs or ramps. Your senior cat may require more sleep and enjoy more time just lounging by the sunny window but he’ll still appreciate the opportunity to stretch those muscles and have some fun through age-appropriate playtime.
7. Pay Attention to What Your Cat is Saying
Cats are master communicators. Pay attention to your cat’s body language and observe whether he’s giving you the signal to come closer or he’s saying he’d rather be left alone. If you respect the signals he gives and don’t force the issue, your cat’s trust will increase and he’ll probably seek you out more often. There are times when we all want to be left alone, are in a bad mood or we really need to be close to the ones we love. Get to know what your cat’s body is saying and then respect those signals.