28 Sep Eat, Pee, Sleep, Repeat – The Basics of Cat Care
Dogs have owners, cats have staff
I’m sure we’ve all heard this phrase at some point, and laughed because we know how true it is! Whether you’re a first time cat owner, or have been owned by a few already, we know they all have their own different personalities and quirks that makes us love them all the more!
But when it comes to the emotional and physical needs of our furbabies, they all require the same basic care to ensure a happy, healthy feline.
Eat, Pee, Sleep, Repeat
Food and water. Felines are very particular animals, they like their resources (i.e. food, water and litter tray) spread out throughout the home. It’s the same as us not wanting to eat our meals beside the toilet – it’s not hygienic. If you have a multi-cat household, you shouldn’t group the food bowls together. This can cause friction between cats.
Food bowls. Have you ever noticed your cat taking their food out of the bowl and eating it on the floor instead? This is called ‘whisker stress’. The bowl is too deep, which irritates them when their whiskers touch the sides of the bowl as they eat. To avoid this, use a shallow, wide bowl, which means your cat can eat happily.
Water. Felines are still in touch with their ancestral instincts. I’ve heard from many a cat owner how their cat won’t drink out the bowl but loves running water from the kitchen or bathroom taps! This harks back to a still water source potentially being stagnant, so many animals prefer to drink running water as there’s a likelihood it will be cleaner. Getting a water fountain can encourage your cat to drink, or you could add water to their wet food to increase their intake.
Litter trays. Last year I wrote a blog post on litter trays – The Big, The Small, and The Stinky detailing our cat’s litter habits. I spoke about how many litter trays are too small for our cats. They need to be a minimum of one and a half times the length of your cat! There’s also a rule of one litter tray per cat, plus an additional one. One cat has two trays, two cats have three trays, and so on…
I feel the need, the need for speed!!!
Exercise. Zoomies, crazy turn, sudden-possession-by-the-devil… Whatever you refer to it as, most cats are prone to their mad half hour (I’ve found it’s often after they’ve gone to the loo – could you imagine if people did that? It would make for good entertainment at a shopping centre or restaurant!). Whether you have an indoor or an outdoor cat, daily exercise is a must. It can be difficult if you don’t have a particularly enthusiastic cat, and as they get older cats tend to sleep more often too. But nature created them as lean, mean hunting machines!
Toys. There are plenty of different toys out there, traditional mouse and ball toys, toys filled with catnip or valerian, feather dangler and teaser toys, Twizlrz… Then there’s roller circuits, remote controlled mice, and cat exercise wheels too!
There may be some trial and error involved – try out different playing styles too. Does your furry friend like their toys to slowly move around the floor, dart about fast, or have the toy ‘fly’ through the air for them to catch?
Look, but don’t touch me – hoomin!
Some kitties love a cuddle, and some prefer you to simply worship from afar. Wherever they sits on the cuddle-o-meter, they all need their own little perch/den to chill out. Take a note of where your cat likes to sleep or watch the world go by throughout the day. If you’ve bought a bed and your cat doesn’t use it, the likelihood is you’ve positioned it somewhere they find uninteresting.
Place cat trees and beds beside windows. Find quieter places in the room for that igloo bed, or put it in cupboards or the bottom of a wardrobe and leave the door slightly open. Experiment with different places near to, or exactly on, the places your cat likes to spend their time.
You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours…
…And maybe the sofa or other soft furnishings too! Cats have a natural need to scratch, it keeps their claws in good condition and helps shed older layers. Cats need something upright to scratch but also something flat too – ever noticed your cat finds the carpet or a specific rug irresistible?
Ensure cat trees and scratch posts are tall enough for your cat to stretch up on their hind legs. To start with, place it beside the furniture your cat likes to scratch. Encourage them to scratch it by using a teaser toy or a bit of string on the cat tree. This will save your furniture and keep you and your cat happy! Large cat trees your feline can perch on kills two birds with one stone – a great snooze spot for some chill time, and a good scratching place too.
For horizontal scratchers, you can get ones made from sisal or cardboard. You can even buy large sisal mats too!
Overall, the above should help to fulfil your cat’s natural needs and instincts. As always, if you have any questions about any of our blog posts please get in touch!