Nothing signifies bliss better than a happy purr. In their own dignified way, cats enhance our lives. Listed here are ways to celebrate your partnership with your feline pal, to enhance your life and theirs. These are just a few of the hundreds of tips for bonding found in Arden Moore's Happy Cat, Happy You.
TREAT YOUR CAT LIKE A CEO: CAT EXTRA-ORDINAIRE. Your cat has been loyal to you since kittenhood, now is the time to increase pampering. One easy way is to warm a small blanket in the clothes dryer for 5 to 10 minutes, then drape it on your cat during chilly nights. You can do the same for an arthritic cat to help improve blood flow and ease muscle aches.
SCHEDULE PLAY SESSIONS. Kittens, and cats young at heart, are most active at dawn and dusk. That's because they are crepuscular, wired genetically to do their best hunting and play stalking during those hours.
BUY A HANDFUL OF PEACOCK FEATHERS and attach them to a flexible pole. Feathers are usually too much temptation to resist. In no time, your cat will be running, jumping, and performing amazing body twists and turns to snag those moving feathers. Check out our Catty Corner for a variety of interactive toys.
CRAZY FOR CATNIP. One out of two cats craves catnip, the fragrant herb from the mint family. The plant's buds contain an essential oil called nepetalactone that evokes such feline antics as chin and cheek rubbing, rolling and kicking, and even leaping into the air. Opt for organic, it's the most potent.
EMBRACE THE POWER OF PETTING. Scientists report that people who pet their cats experience an increase in Theta waves, a brain wave pattern that shows a reduction in feelings of anxiety. Petting your cat for just a few minutes releases a healthy amount of positive biochemicals, those "feel-good" hormones such as dopamine, oxytocin, prolactin, and serotonin. Research shows that the good feelings work both ways, meaning your cat benefits as well.
IF YOU'RE CAT CRAZY, think about installing a catwalk on brackets along a wall of your family room or bedroom. It should be 6 to 12 inches wide, and hang about 2 feet below the ceiling. Provide access with a couple of perches from which to scale the heights. Most cats adore the opportunity to explore the upper strata. You can also provide cat trees with multiple levels and scratching surfaces.
WARM AND COZY. Position your cat's bed near a source of warmth - near a sunny window, by the fireplace or next to a heat vent. Grab your comforter and a good book, and spend some time with your snoozing friend while you pamper yourself with quiet time as well.
CATS VALUE SOLITUDE. Most cats don't stick to you like Velcro every minute of the day. For many people, spending time alone is highly underrated, yet it is vital to recharge. Treat yourself to five minutes of solitude each day. If your cat wants to join you, that's fine, but no phones or other human distractions.
A CAT'S TAIL = MOOD BAROMETER! When it's held loosely upright while the cat is walking, it signals confidence. A tail that flicks toward you means, "Hello, my friend." Whipping the tail from side to side or thumping it on the floor signifies agitation. A lightly twitching tail conveys relaxed alertness. A puffed-up tail indicates total fright, although some cats will puff-up their tail during play sessions.
HEAD-TO-TAIL CHECKUP. Devote a hands-on petting session weekly to scrutinize your cat's entire body, looking for lumps, bumps, sore spots, or changes in fur and skin. Don't forget to check the eyes, ears, nails and mouth. Your observations may help to catch a medical problem in its early stages.
LITTER BOX SUCCESS. Fill the box to a depth of three inches, and don't use perfumed litters (most cats hate flowery scents). Clean out deposits at least every day, and wash the litter box once a month with warm soapy water, letting it dry completely. Never place the litter box near your cats food or water bowls: cats dont like to eat near their bathroom spot. They also prefer a spot that gives them a little privacy.
AS A CARNIVORE, your cat fares best when real meat tops the list of ingredients that fills the food bowl. Select premium brands of cat food that list a real protein such as turkey, chicken, or lamb as the first ingredient and avoid brands that list cornmeal or other grains first.
POST THIS IMPORTANT PHONE NUMBER in a highly visible place: 888-426-4435. This is the toll-free number for the ASPCA's Animal Poison Control Center. Forty veterinary professionals are available day and night for advice. A consultation fee is charged, but its well worth it, considering the prompt and knowledgeable attention the center provides. Check out our emergency links so you can be prepared before an emergency strikes.
Tips from a brochure provided by Catnip: The newsletter of caring cat owners.