September is happy cat month, and the CATalyst Council has some great tips for keeping your cat smiling all year long.
Go to the vet! It’s no secret that cats receive significantly less veterinary care than other pets, in part because it can be such an ordeal to get them there. Cat-friendly practices can share tips with you on making the trip less stressful for you and your cat. See if there is one near you here.
Preventive care. Even cats that stay inside can wind up with parasites that are carried in accidentally by other family members. Work with your veterinarian to come up with a treatment plan.
Get them microchipped. If your cat would get lost, there’s no better way to make sure they get returned to you than to have them microchipped. It’s important to remember to register the microchip with the tracking company once it’s implanted, and be sure to keep your information up to date if you move or your phone number or email address change.
Play! A cat with toys is a happy cat, plus it can help keep them out of trouble. Try more than one type of toy to see which kinds are their favorites.
Get to work. Training your cat basic commands or even a few tricks can be fun and stimulating for your cat, plus your getting to spend some quality time together.
Don’t overfeed. Feline obesity is a growing problem (no pun intended), and having an overweight cat can cause health problems. Consider toys that release small bits of food as the cat plays with it, or moving their food dish so they have to use their hunting instincts to locate it.
Keep the cat carrier out. If your cat only sees the cat carrier when it’s time to go to the veterinarian, they might not look upon it fondly. Keep it out with the door open where the cat can access it at any time. Put a blanket and toys inside to encourage them to spend time in there at their leisure. Hopefully with repeated access, it won’t be so scary when it’s time to travel.
Get some fresh air. Whether you let them roam the yard while you supervise or you invest in a harness and leash for a walk, any cat will benefit from a little fresh air and exercise.
Get a scratching post. Scratch the post, not your furniture! Stretching and scratching are normal behaviors – definitely provide an appropriate place for them to do it.
Get some company. Consider going to a local shelter and adopting a buddy for your cat. Having a playmate can help keep them happy and occupied during the day, and can encouragev exercise if they like to romp around together.
There are lots of great resources available for cat owners. Here are a few that we like.