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Happy and Healthy Cat Care: Ways to Keep Your Feline Friend Purring


How do you keep your cat healthy, happy, and purring with contentment?

A healthy feline lives indoors, eats a nutritious diet, and gets regular exercise and mental stimulation through play with safe cat toys that channel their inner cat.

Healthy, Affordable Cat Food

Good pet food isn’t cheap, but you don’t need to buy the most expensive food on the market to provide a healthy diet for your cat.

Fancy foods and supplements aren’t necessary for healthy cats, but some cats have special dietary needs.

Talk to your veterinarian about whether you should be feeding your cat wet food, dry kibble, or a combination of both.

The Importance of Play

Cats love to play and need to channel their hunting instincts by stalking and pouncing. That’s why some love to play with toys like feathers and catnip toys that remind them of creatures they’d hunt in the wild. Toys entertain cats, but you bond with your cat when you play together.

Of course, not everyone is home full-time to entertain their pets. But you can keep indoor cats entertained while you’re away by setting up a “fun zone” with a cat tree and toys.

Cats love to hide and perch. Try creating a “catifying” space by providing vertical levels for them. Think shelves and perches. 

You don’t have to spend a lot of money on a deluxe cat tree. Instructions for building a perch in a window so your cat can watch nature are available online. You can also create a homemade structure for entertaining your indoor cats. Though sometimes doing it yourself is more expensive than simply buying one.

Mealtime Entertainment

Cats’ wild relatives spend most of their time lounging, except when prowling for meals. That’s why it can be good for cats to work a bit to get food.

These experts share tips for making mealtimes fun and engaging for cats. Try out some of these ideas to feed your cat’s inner hunter.

  • Hide little bits of food or treats in several locations.
  • Try a toy that can be stuffed with treats and hidden.
  • Make a homemade, low-tech structure with a shoe box so your cat can work to get the kibbles out.

Scratching Is Essential

Cats need their claws, and they also need surfaces to scratch on. Scratching is a normal behavior that cats need to keep their claws healthy. Some cats like scratching on rope, while others prefer carpet or cardboard. Even cats without front claws will use a scratching surface.

You might want to try different surfaces and see what keeps your cat coming back for more. The scratching surface needs to be heavy or anchored so the cat doesn’t feel unstable.

Safe Munching

Cats are carnivores (this means, they must eat meat to be healthy), but many enjoy munching on plants. Some houseplants are toxic, so knowing which plants are off-limits is important.

Some people grow cat-safe wheat grass or catnip for their kitties to munch on. But catnip toys or dried catnip are readily available at pet stores.

Litter Box Health

By their nature, cats are clean, so it’s important to keep litter boxes in places that are convenient and accessible. Some experts recommend using unscented cat litter in a large, uncovered litter box.

Your cat might have other preferences, but the important thing is that their comfort matters more than your need to keep the litter box out of sight. Keep scooping. Clean litter boxes make cats happy and keep them healthy.

Exercise and Enrichment

“Environmental enrichment” is a fancy term for keeping cats’ minds stimulated. These creatures need to stay physically and mentally active to stay healthy.

Indulging your cat’s need to play and move will help them avoid becoming part of the 25–40% of domesticated cats with obesity. Keeping your cat active helps maintain a healthy weight and reduces the risk of obesity-related health problems such as diabetes and arthritis.

Some cats like store-bought toys, but many are happy climbing into a cardboard box, paper bag, or suitcase. PetHelpful has fun ideas for affordable homemade pet toys, such as string toys, catnip-filled objects, and scratching posts. Though I've gone to 'big box' pet stores and the toys are actually quite inexpensive.

Grooming Time

Healthy cats are self-groomers, but you can help them by keeping their nails trimmed and their fur in good shape. Most cats don’t require professional grooming, but owners of long-haired cats should check for matted fur because dreads or mats can be painful or get infected. Some veterinarians and groomers will do a “sanitary shave,” also known as a lion cut, to help reduce matting.

Not every cat will let its owner clip its nails, but many will if it’s done delicately. Find tips for clipping your cat’s nails here.

The Most Important Ingredient

As long as you’re providing healthy meals and an interesting and stimulating environment, the most important thing to give pets is love and attention.

Relax as your cat curls up and purrs on your lap, or entertain her with silly kitty toys. Both are good for your cat and good for you!

These simple pleasures have kept humans and cats bonding for millennia.

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