All cats need shelter, food, water, litter boxes, and places to sleep. In addition, the Whiskers, Paws and Love team believes that every cat deserves to live in accordance with their nature, and this includes providing them with a comfortable living environment, personal space, play opportunities, and most importantly, love and companionship. In this article, we will explore some practical tips on how to care for your feline friend and meet their needs in the best possible way.
1. Provide your cat with personal territory, possessions, and privacy
Cats require an environment that respects the importance of their sense of smell since they use smell to determine ownership. Make sure they have beds, blankets and scratching posts that will soak up their scents and put those items in places that smell like you. They also have a need to scratch, climb and observe from a safe refuge. A comfortable spot on top of a cabinet or a private refuge on top of a duffel bag under your bed is sufficient.
2. Place your cat’s water bowl far away from their food bowl
Cats instinctively do not drink water that is near a food source because there is a chance that the water could be contaminated. Moving water is also less likely to be contaminated than stagnant water which is why many cats prefer to drink from a faucet or fountain. All you should do is keep the water dish far away from the food dish and change the water with every meal.
3. Do not clean the litter box too thoroughly
The clumps should only be scooped once every day. You can completely empty the box once a month or every six weeks and then simply rinse it with hot water. Pee and poop are symbols of territorial security (no different from cheek or body marking, or scratching on a post), so don’t try to completely eliminate the cat’s smell in the litter box.
4. Make sure your cat has opportunities for play and predatory behavior
Cats have an instinctive need to stalk, attack and kill prey. Patterns of play that imitate those activities, such as a toy to grab and bite, or a treat after playing with a laser will satisfy a cat’s craving for prey. Playing with their owner is much more important than what type of game it is.
5. Do not scare your cat (Fear is the biggest negative for most cats)
Cats evolved not only as predators but also as prey, and they are highly tuned in to signals of a threat. Loud noises can be very upsetting, as can the sight of a cat outside the house. One of the few emotions they will hold in their hearts for years, as we hold anger, is fear. Those who make cat videos that dwell on fear are some of the worst offenders (showing their cat falling off a porch or trapped in a bathtub or running into a box and getting stuck and nobody helping them out, but instead making a video). Think about the experience of the cat in the video.
6. Give your cat love & companionship
Cats have a need for social relationships with other animals (including human ones, and, ideally, other cats). Please remember that love is not essential for life, but it is essential for a GOOD life.
Galaxy, Jackson and Kate Benjamin. Catification: Designing a Happy and Stylish Home for Your Cat (and You!). New York: Jeremy P. Tarcher / Penguin, 2014
Galaxy, Jackson and Mikel Delgado, PhD. Total Cat Mojo. New York: Penguin Random House LLC, 2017
McNamee, Thomas. The Inner Life of Cats: The Science and Secrets of Our Mysterious Feline Companions. New York: Hatchett Books, 2017