The characteristic aloofness of cats may lead some to believe they don’t need or want anything from us pitiful humans. However, while cats may appear more independent than most pets, they still need certain creature comforts that only their human slave (or guardian, as we prefer to call ourselves) can provide. Comfort isn’t all they need, however, so find out what else makes for happy cats.
What do happy cats need?
The first thing to do to set the foundation for a happy cat is to prepare your home before they arrive. Be sure to purchase as many cat accessories as you can in advance and have them positioned in suitable locations around the home, particularly the cat room, which is where your cat will stay for the first few weeks in your home. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) recommends you also take care of the following:
- Make sure that everyone else in the home is ready and willing to accept their share of responsibility for taking care of a cat.
- Essential cat accessories, such as the litter box, scratching post, bed and grooming tools, should be ready in advance so the cat can immediately make herself at home.
- Cat-proof the home by removing any items that might be harmful if the cat attempts to chew or swallow them, such as toilet paper, tissues, pens or pencils.
- Get an ID tag or microchip, so as to ensure the cat will be safely returned if she gets lost whilst exploring the boundaries of her new kingdom.
- Find a spot in the home that is quiet and out of the way of gallivanting children, and set up a cat bed and some toys there. A timid cat needs somewhere he can retreat to if things get too much.
Games and toys for happy cats
Taking care of a cat includes making sure she is entertained. An important thing to remember about cats is that they’re hunters; they need to feel the thrill of the chase.
Wendy C. Fries (Pets.WebMD) recommends scratching posts so the cat can stretch and take out some aggression, as well as toys that allow them to tap into their predatory instincts.
Be sure to replace and rotate the toys regularly so the cat doesn’t lose interest in them. Other cat care tips for keeping your cat happy include:
- Lots of pot plants and sunny areas in the home. A house cat needs to feel like it’s in the great outdoors.
- Make sure there are lots of good resting spots next to windows, so that they can get their time in the sun and keep an eye on all the juicy birds in the garden.
- Video footage of wildlife, or recordings of outdoor sounds such as birds, can be quite mesmerising for cats.
- One thing your cat really needs though is to spend time with you. Cats are usually happy to spend time alone, but you need to set aside time each day to play them. This improves your bond, and it’s fun to boot. There are plenty of creative cat games that you’ll both enjoy.
- A bowl of water with some toys in it appeals to your cat’s curiosity and fishing/predatory instinct.
- Ping pong balls in a bathtub keep kitty engaged as they fly out from under her paws whenever she grabs them. It’s a great way to burn excess energy.
- Some cat games require nothing more than a string. Tie an object to the string and wriggle it to engage your cat’s predatory instinct. Simple, yet effective.
Healthy cats are happy cats
Taking care of a cat means keeping him in good health. This entails a nutritious diet of vet-recommended cat food, and regular checkups with your veterinarian. They’ll be able to advise you regarding any other questions you may have about cats and their needs.