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From The Vet: 5 Ways To Keep Your Kitty Happy

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When we adopt a cat, we take on the responsibility of providing for their needs, both physically and mentally. Cats are, by nature tiny carnivore hunters, and we bring them inside and expect them to conform to our habits and schedules. We love them and they depend on us. It makes us happy when they are happy.  If we think about who our cats really are, we can devise ways to help them flourish. Here are a few tips to help make your kitty feel purr-fectly blissful.

Make your house into a feline habitat.

Cats come from wild felines and they genetically not that far removed from those ancestors. In the wild environment, there are lots of things to see and do. There is prey to chase and trees to climb.  Mimic the natural environment where ever you can.  This is called Environmental Enrichment. All captive animals (which our indoor only cats are) need environmental enrichment whether they live in a zoo, shelter or our home. Add puzzle toys and leave the TV on low for extra enrichment. Be sure that there are safe places for cats to climb and hide and rotate toys and boxes to keep things interesting.

A Separate Peace

In homes where there are multiple cats, owners must realize and respect that cats might not want to be close friends. In fact, cats are typically solitary and territorial.  Provide areas where cats can be alone and allow the cats to stake their claims to preferred areas. Support their choices and never force them to interact or compete for a space or resource. Even the perchs and hiding places should be plentiful so each cat can have their own.

Safety and Security

Cats can feel very vulnerable because of their small size. They are constantly on the alert.  They feel more secure when they can view their surroundings. There are times when they feel the most vulnerable and when they must put their face into a food bowl is one of those times.  It might make your cat feel safer if you provide flatter saucers for her food, so she can see all around while she knibbles.  Keep the water dish filled to the top, so she does not have to obstruct her view to drink.

No One-Stop Shopping

Cats are not built to have the resources provided for them.  In nature they have to catch their food and then find their water.  These two resources would not be side by side on a neat little mat.  Place your food saucer at one place and the water dish somewhere else.  It will feel more natural to him and encourage him to move between the two and movement is natural to him.

Facetime

When we brought these furry friends to live with us, they have become accustomed to our presence. In fact, we are a source of entertainment for them and they need us.  Make sure that you take time for your cat every day. Your cat will really enjoy her toys when you play along with her, tossing them or dragging them. Even if you do not have time to really play, pick her up or hold her on your lap and spend time stroking her.  You know her better than anyone and you know how she likes to interact. The one on one time is good for you both.

If you can think like a cat and simulate a natural habitat for your cat, you can help insure that her needs are being met, physically and mentally. She needs to hunt, climb, hide, and play as much as she needs food and water.

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