The new year brings about an opportunity to do all sorts of life-changing things. However, it’s not just about you and what you want to do to better your life — it’s also about your cat! If you’ve got a feline in your life that you want to treat better this year, take some time to look through these top five groups of tips for your cat’s health and happiness.
Below, you’ll find five categories where you can help your cat live their best life. A holistic approach will offer multifaceted support and protection in each part of your cat’s life — both short-term and long-term.
Diet and nutrition
Your cat putting their best paw forward can start with a proper approach to diet and nutrition. A cat with a balanced diet will be a happy cat, after all. The top considerations include the following:
- Make room for taurine: One key ingredient to learn about is taurine. This is an amino acid that is good for your cat’s heart and eyes, along with other body functions. When you’re shopping for cat food, take a look at the ingredients and see if they mention taurine. Your properly balanced food choices should have this listed, so this can help make the search for high-quality cat food easier, too.
- Remember the 10% rule: This will be a hard one for most, but do your best to keep treats at no more than 10% of your cat’s daily diet. While you want to treat your cat throughout the day, try to keep a close eye on just how many you’re giving them so that you don’t accidentally overdo it. Did you have a day when you forgot and went overboard? That’s okay! Just make a note to tone it down a bit in the days to come.
- Stick to cat-friendly foods: If your cat prefers wet food to dry food, you might find that the cost of the wet food can add up pretty quickly. It’s tempting to want to go with baby food, which is generally more affordable. The thing is, a lot of pureed foods and baby foods, in particular, have ingredients that aren’t cat-friendly.
Grooming and care
Next, you can learn all about your cat’s best habits for grooming and care so that they look and feel their best. Top features include:
- Brushing for hairball control: Even if your cat is short-haired, try to groom them once a week to help keep their first sleek, well-oiled, and free of loose fur that can cause hairballs in your cat. Cats are very good at keeping themselves clean. They naturally know how to self-groom, and rarely need bathing. However, during self-grooming, they can swallow loose hair – and this leads to a cat hairball. Most cats get hairballs from time to time and it’s usually nothing to worry about. Most individual hairs will pass through the cat’s digestive system as normal, but sometimes they can form clumps which begin to accumulate in the stomach. Cats try and vomit them up to prevent them going into the intestine and causing a blockage. Don’t be worried if you see your cat stretch their neck, dry retch (their mouth opening wide) and expel a hairball before calmly walking away. It can be distressing to watch this, but don’t worry – it’s normal
- Wash bedding and blankets properly: Cats want and deserve a clean place to snuggle in for a nap or two. Try to throw your cat’s bedding and blankets in the laundry once a week. If that’s not possible, shake them out (the bedding/blankets, not the cat!) outside to free them of debris, loose fur, etc.
- Keep bowls and litter clean: You probably already know that cats are fastidious! However, you can help by manually cleaning your cat’s bowls and washing out their litter box every couple of litter changes. Provide fresh water and food daily. Scoop the litter box daily and aim to empty and clean out weekly.
Play and instinctive care
Cats love to play, even if “playing” sometimes means that you end up with scratches or your curtains are in ribbons. Here’s how to save yourself and your house without compromising your cat’s health:
- Invest in a scratching post: Whether you go with sisal or burlap, or classic cardboard, a scratching post or panel is a great choice for your cat! Cats will instinctively scratch no matter how much you deter it, and scratching is good for their claws and joints!
- Give your cat some height: Since cats are naturally prowlers, they often will hide and gain height from what they are watching. You can help them feel safe and protected by getting them a cat tree or specialized furniture that helps them get up high and survey things from a distance.
- Play with them: Don’t forget to consider interactive toys like wands, balls, and other kinds of toys. These help you play directly with your cat, which will help you bond with them.
Medical and health
There are also some medical and health-related areas that you can focus on to support your cat’s best interests. Firstly, try to bring your cat in for regular check-ups with your veterinary doctor. Even if it’s just to get their shots and have them looked over by a vet once or twice a year, this helps the trained experts catch anything that might be happening under the surface. These check-ups are much more important than most people think!
Secondly, you can watch out for attitude changes that might mean there is an underlying health issue. For example, loss of appetite, not using the litter box, becoming more withdrawn or more clingy, etc.
Out and about
Cats don’t have to be indoor cats! If you have a cat that just wants to get out that door as soon as you open it, you can do it safely by simply taking a different approach to how your cat accesses the outdoors.
You can go with a comfortable cat carrier, or you can choose to try out a good harness and leash that will help your cat feel like their feral selves without you having to worry about them getting into trouble. A Cat patio or ‘catio’ is another great option to allow safe access to the outdoors.
Taking proper care of your cat doesn’t have to be a long list of to-dos or even mean a huge change in your life together! It’s more about understanding what facets go into helping your cat feel their best and making the changes that you can to support their better health.
By taking a broad and innovative approach to your cat’s health, you can enjoy a better bond with your cat, and the knowledge that you know how to take care of your feline properly to give them the best life possible.