Are You Meeting Your Cat’s Basic Needs?
Some Necessities for Happy Cats
Rita Reimers was recently asked to be a Guest Blogger for The Pet Tracker. Below is the article she wrote for their website.Cats now outnumber dogs as the number one household pet in the United States. While it is wonderful that more people are discovering the joys of cat ownership and becoming first-time cat parents, there is much more to having a well-adjusted cat than simply giving them food and shelter.
Here is a list of the necessities you should provide to ensure you meet his basic cat needs and he remains a healthy and happy member of your family.
Basic Cat Needs
- Size Appropriate Litter Boxes: Make sure to provide a litter box that is right for the current age and size of your cat. A 3-month old kitten needs a much smaller box than a full grown 20-pound rag doll cat, for example. As your kitty grows, the size of the pan offered will need to change as well. Make sure the litter box can fully accommodate his entire body, so he will not hang over and accidentally go on the floor.
- Cat Trees and Cubby Holes: Sometimes a cat needs to get away from it all and be away from the action of a busy household. Cats feel safe and secure in high places and out of the way corners, so be sure to give your cat a high cat tree for climbing, and a few cubby holes in various places where he can observe uninterrupted.
- Metal Bowls vs. Plastic or Ceramic: Ahh, the porous bowl debate. Pet bowls made from porous materials must be sanitized regularly, since they can harbor bacteria that may cause feline acne. Even worse, they also serve as a breeding ground for any bacteria that likes food, such as E.coli, Salmonella, and Clostridium. While we all know plastic bowls are porous, most people don’t realize that ceramic bowls are also porous. Unless you are dedicated to washing your cat’s bowls after every meal in a hot dishwasher, I recommend using stainless steel pet bowls, and avoid using either ceramic or plastic.
- Scratching Posts and Pads: Providing scratching posts that are vertical, as well as scratching pads and boxes that are horizontal, will give your cat an appropriate outlet for his scratching needs. Not only do cats need to scratch to stretch their toes and maintain nail health, cats are also instinctively driven to scratch in order to mark their territory with the scent glands in their paws. Sprinkle the posts and pads with catnip to attract your cat, and encourage their use by offering praise and treats when he does.
- Toys and More Toys: Cats love to play. It’s how they interact with one another, with their humans, and in the wild it’s how they sharpen their natural hunting instincts. Catnip toys are loved by cats, especially the long plush ones that cats can hug and kick with their back feet. Wand or fishing pole type toys are great for imitating hunting behaviors and are a wonderful way to play with your cat, deepening the bond you have with one another.
By understanding your cat’s nature and meeting his basic physical and emotional needs, you and your cat will enjoy a long lifetime of happiness together.