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Dogs and cats are creatures of habit and do best…
March 28 is Respect Your Cat Day. If you tell your cat though, he or she will think you’re not serious as cats believe (rightly so!) they should be respected each and every day! We agree with that sentiment. All our pets should be respected each day for the simple reason that they give us unconditional love – and the occasional hairball in our shoe!
To celebrate this day, give your feline family member a few extra snuggles, a couple extra shakes of catnip on her cat tree and an extra treat or two. What else can you do on Respect Your Cat Day and year-round to respect the cats with whom you share your life?
We have seven suggestions and ways to respect your cat.
Pet your cat the “right” way. If you’ve ever pet a cat the “wrong” way, chances are you have the war wounds to show for it. Cats prefer to be stroked around their head, neck and ears. Few cats like belly rubs. A cat’s belly is one of her most vulnerable places so if you have a cat who lets you rub her belly, consider yourself loved, and lucky. Pay attention to your cat’s body language when you’re petting her, she will give definite signs when your attention has become unwelcome.
Keep a clean litter box. Cats are fastidious. If their litter box is not kept clean they may have litter box avoidance issues; this is one of the main reasons cats are surrendered to shelters. Scoop the litter box daily. Find a litter box your cat likes – some cats like covered boxes, others don’t. The rule of thumb is to have one litter box per cat; some cat owners keep an additional litter box, just in case.
Let him scratch. Cats have a natural instinct to scratch. They may be indiscriminate scratchers – your couch, the carpet, the door jamb. You can definitely “train” your cat to scratch appropriate items like a scratching post. If your cat is scratching the furniture, put a scratching post next to it and when your cat starts to scratch the couch, gently put his paws onto the scratching post. Praise him when he scratches the post. Give him treats when he scratches the post.
Try out several types of scratching posts. Some cats prefer vertical posts, others like horizontal posts. Try sisal rope posts, corrugated cardboard styles, carpeted posts or even an actual tree limb or log. Find the type of scratcher your cat likes and place them around the house.
Bring out his inner tiger. Indoor cats need to pounce, hunt and climb. Indoor cats also need to breathe fresh air. If you don’t have space to build a catio, open a window and let the fresh air in. You may want to reinforce the screen in the window to prevent your cat from falling out. Give your cats feather toys, catnip mice or other toys that let them give into their instinctual need to chase and pounce.
Don’t worry if your cat climbs to the top of the bookcase or refrigerator. Cats love heights and many prefer to watch the world from above. Look for puzzle toys you can put food or treats into and hide. Your cat will be motivated to find the hidden treats and wrestle with the toy to release the treat.
Keep your cat healthy. Cats are masters of disguise when it comes to their health. Schedule an annual check up at your veterinarian for your feline friends. An annual check up will give you and your vet a baseline for your cat’s overall health – his teeth, his weight and his bloodwork results. If you notice your cat is not acting like himself, you will want to call your veterinarian and let him or her know and decide whether he needs an appointment.
A cat health insurance policy will help defray the expenses of veterinarian care. These policies also provide cat parents peace of mind that if their cat suffers a medical emergency that they won’t have to worry about whether they can afford the best care for their beloved cat. Whether you’re adopting a senior cat or a kitten you can invest in a cat health policy.
Watch your cat’s weight – don’t overfeed; this is easy to do when your cat ages and isn’t as active as he once was. Your vet will let you know if your cat is a healthy weight and how to safely cut back on his food.
Cats also need continual access to clean water. Make sure there is a water bowl, but keep in mind that many cats like to drink from running water. Turn on the tap and let him drink from there or invest in a waterbowl that has circulating water.
Consistent meal times. Cats are creatures of habit. I truly don’t know how my cats can tell time, but they will start bumping around my legs about five minutes before their dinner time. If I stand up they will try to herd me toward the food bowls. If you live in an area of the country that has Daylight Saving Time, you will want to slowly ease your cat into the new dinner time because your pets are impacted by the time change, just as you are.
When you feed your cats, don’t feed them so their backs are to the door. This is a vulnerable position for them. Put their dishes so they can get behind them and see the doors. If you have a picky eater, you may want to put his or her dish on an elevated area so she can eat alone.
If you treat your cat with respect you can rest assured that your cat will give you love and affection. Contrary to popular belief, cats DO like their humans and they DO crave attention and affection. Yes, they may crave attention and affection on their own terms, but when your cat snuggles into your lap or “allows” you to pick her up, you’ll know you’ve earned his respect as well!
Protect your feline friends with Pet Insurance from PetFirst. Cats are curious by nature and can get into trouble from time to time. Get a cat insurance quote for your cat in less than two minutes here.
Robbi Hess is a full-time pet blogger and multi-published author. She shares her life with a diva Poodle, a goofy Goldendoodle, two Devon Rex, a senior ginger kitty and three reptiles!