How to Have a Happy Cat (or Dog!)
Pets bring us an unparalleled amount of love and affection, and ask for so little in return, but when our pets are miserable it can really take its toll on our emotional health and wellbeing.
Whilst dogs are relatively easy to please and you can almost be guaranteed that you’ll get a wagging tail upon returning home, cats are a little more mercurial, in that they tend to want things much more on their terms.
In a similar vein, training a dog is relatively simple as dogs are by nature complaint to their owner’s requests, yet cats are a little more ignorant, and independent to the point of being fiercely independent. Indeed, cats tend to like things on their terms to the point that often we can feel subservient to our cats and sometimes it can feel as if we are living our lives to placate them – which can be a difficult job.
We often feel responsible for our pets happiness and when our pets are feeling a bit blue it affects our own sense of self esteem and levels of contentment, as we deeply care about our pets, but also if you’re greeted each day to a cat that’s miserable and meowing at you insatiably, where it can feel like no matter what you do it’s not good enough – it can really take its toll on you.
That’s why, in this article, we’re going to look at three ways to ensure your cat is happy within your home environment as having a happy cat is required to have a happy home.
Affection & Engagement
Cats are known for being fiercely independent yet they also have a strong emotional need for stability and affection. Cats don’t tend to respond well to sudden change as they value routine. Just like a child they need to know they have a warm, safe, and comfortable home environment to come back to after their little adventures out on the prowl; and a large part of this comes down to having a reliable source of comfort and tactile affection.
Cats unlike dogs, tend to want affection when they feel like it, and tend to require you to come to them rather than them to come to you… but that doesn’t mean they don’t appreciate a good cuddle and stroking session.
The benefits of petting your cat, of course, extend to improvements in your own wellbeing. Stroking your pet, whether it’s a cat or a dog, has been shown to reduce blood pressure, lower stress, improve depression and elevate mood in both humans and your pets. WebMD has more information about the health benefits of petting animals.
Diet and Nutrition
With such a wide array of cat food options the most important advice is to look beyond the marketing hype and focus on the ingredient list; as this way you can determine the nutritional value of the product.
Cats have specific nutritional requirements as they are “obligate carnivores” meaning they need animal proteins to stay healthy. It’s therefore important they have food comprising predominantly of meat proteins.
One thing you may notice is that some cats will eat grass, which may seem alarming, at first, but just like how dogs eat grass when they need to settle their stomach, cats eat grass to help their digestion in a similar way. If you have an indoor cut it can be good to invest in some cat grass, as cat grass can help with common ailments like constipation and hairballs.
Equally important to food is hydration – your cats need water – they might not lap it up in the same way as a dog does, but it’s vitally important you supply them with a fresh supply of clean water each day. Of course, some cats will be thirstier than others and if your cat doesn’t tend to drink much fresh water it’s important to remember they are consuming water within their food (if it’s wet food) and therefore don’t require so much.
The most obvious sign that your cat has fleas is when they start itching a lot. If you have a flea infestation in your home, whether this is from a cat or a dog, neither you or your pet will be happy in your home environment. Prevention is, of course, much better than cure when it comes to fleas, as treating an infestation, particularly if the fleas start hatching within your home can be a nightmare.
It’s important to note that around 95% of fleas and flea eggs are likely to be in your home rather than on your cat.
Therefore in addition to treating your cat, you need rid your home of fleas, and this process can be a lot more involved than you first thing; requiring several rounds of elimination to ensure any dormant eggs that didn’t get treated the first time around and have since hatched are now taken care of.
In summary, having a happy cat (or dog for that matter) is a relatively simple recipe – you just need to make sure they get plenty of love and affection, stability, adequate nutrition and hydration plus a good prophylactic flea prevention treatment each month.