Understand your cat's true nature by accepting its instinctive behavior.
Many cat owners are unaware that a lot of the behaviors our cats display — whether they are living in a high-rise apartment building in New York or in a condo in California — have direct bearing on their true nature in the wild. It’s important to respect your cat’s natural instincts and behaviors and adapt them for a domestic setting. Cats are natural hunters with an innate prey drive, and they appreciate toys that help them hone their hunting and pouncing skills. Similarly, their schedules are dictated by natural instincts as they are on the prowl at dawn. That's why they are looking to wake us up and get us down to the kitchen. Leaving a dry kibble snack out will keep your cat satisfied until you are ready to start your day. Kit out your home to simulate other natural traits. Give your cat a nice tall kitty condo to escape to and a tall scratching post. A cat drinking fountain re-creates fresh running water in the wild, and feeding your cat from a flat plate instead of a tiny bowl is more natural too, because cats naturally eat on flat surfaces.
Engage in play and interaction for mental and physical stimulation.
It’s much safer for cats to lead an indoor lifestyle, but they do miss out on the sights and sounds of nature. Felines are active, energetic animals and if your cat sleeps all day, it's because she’s bored and lonely. Compensate by engaging in short play sessions whenever you can and give your cat toys to keep it busy. Toss around soft, catnip-filled mice and crinkly balls. Place your cat's condo near an open window for “live entertainment,” allowing it to people watch or keep an eye on birds and insects in the garden. Cats enjoy such social interaction and it's a great way to enhance your bond. Your cat will look forward to play time and possibly even bring its toys to you.
Give a cat its own space, especially in multi-cat homes.
Cats need privacy and places to where they can sleep or simply escape from household activities. This is particularly important in multi-cat households, especially if the cats aren't best friends but just tolerate each other. Cats that don't really get along are constantly under stress. A great way to improve their living space is to go vertical and give them overhead walkways and even shelves to sit on. Place scratchers and kitty condos in different rooms, too, preferably where they can look out on a garden or patio.
Reward positive behavior to build a lasting bond.
Cats are not aloof, anti-social creatures as often claimed. Encourage social interaction with games, and reward good behavior and responses with treats. It’s a great way to build your relationship because ultimately, your cat will want to do things that it knows will please you. Set up a routine whereby your cat learns that it gets a treat every evening just before bedtime. Eventually, the cat will learn to wait at the treat jar for a snack and some additional love.
The wellness checkup and daily needs.
Cats are notorious for masking symptoms when they aren't feeling well, whether it's a minor tummy upset or a serious illness such a renal failure, diabetes or heart disease. It's your responsibility as your cat’s primary caregiver to see that it gets an annual wellness visit at the vet’s office — even if the cat “looks fine.” This is probably the most important thing you can do to enhance your human-animal bond. In addition, it’s important to see to needs such as flea and tick prevention. This is now a year-round problem in many parts of the country. Dental checks are extremely important, too. Cats are very good at hiding tooth and gum issues, so check carefully.
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Meet your cat's nutritional and grooming needs.
Just like people, cats have different nutritional needs according to their life stages. Feeding them age-appropriate and even perhaps breed-specific foods can greatly improve their overall health and well being. Cats are carnivores, so protein is important in their daily diet. It’s equally important that they stay properly hydrated. Good nutrition helps keep cats healthy and shows itself in terms of a glossy coat, too. Cats are very efficient self-groomers, but need help, especially if they have long hair or are of advanced age. Consider grooming a wonderful way to spend quality time with your cat.