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tips for keeping kitty happy at home

  • Dr. Kim
  • Posted by Dr. Kim Smyth on
    Staff Veterinarian and Pet Health Writer of Petplan

September is Happy Cat Month – the perfect time to celebrate happy cats everywhere!  It’s hard to imagine that a creature who sleeps up to 20 hours a day (or more!) has anything to be unhappy about, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t go the extra mile to make sure our house is purrfect for our feline friends.  After all, a happy home makes a happy cat!


If you’re a new cat owner or just looking for ideas to make your home a cat-castle, here are a few must-haves and feline-friendly amenities:


Must haves:

  • Food and water.  This is a no-brainer, right?  Allow free access to fresh water at all times, and feed the appropriate amount of a good quality food.  Most cats don’t temper themselves well when left with dry food all day.  Feed twice a day to maintain a good waistline in these kitties.
  • A space of their own.  Cats do seek solitude sometimes and appreciate a quiet place to hang out.
  • Litter boxes.  The basic rule for litter boxes is one box per cat PLUS one extra box.  Be sure to scoop the box daily to provide a clean place for your kitty to do his business.
  • Scratching post, or some other appropriate place to scratch.  It is built into your cat’s genetic makeup to scratch on vertical and horizontal surfaces.  Unless you want your carpets and/or woodwork to be the target, providing an acceptable place and teaching your cat to use it will save you lots of heartache.
  • Regular check-ups.  Your young cat should see the veterinarian once a year, regardless of whether or not he is due for vaccines.  If your cat is over seven years old, he should be seen twice a year.  These exams help us catch potential problems before they get out of hand.


Good to have:

  • Perches.  Cats love to survey their land from a top a high place.  Think about your home and how you can incorporate some perches to enrich your cat’s environment.  Bonus points if you can place a perch in a window, so they can watch the world go by.
  • Positive attention.  Cats do NOT respond to force, but they can learn by being rewarded for good behavior.  With the right positive attention, you can curb bad habits and even teach your kitty new tricks!
  • Plenty of time to sleep.  I know it is frustrating when you cat pounces on your toes in the middle of the night, but try not to get back at him by doing the same when he is sleeping.  Wild cats sleep often in order to be ready for frequent hunts during the day, and your kitty needs to do the same.
  • As I just mentioned, wild cats hunt often through the day.  Your cat probably enjoys hunting, too.  Consider what you think his prey preference is when you are buying toys.  Does he like to hunt birds (feathers on a stick) or small rodents (toy mice are fun!)?  Engage him with these toys to enrich his body and mind.


One last consideration? Cat insurance from Petplan. Curious kitties can find their way into all sorts of accidents (just ask fetch! magazine Associate Petitor, Jethro, who took a tumble from a high story window and lived to tell his tail), and illnesses such as renal failure are fairly common in cats. Protect your feline family member with Petplan for the ultimate peace of mind.

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Posted by virginia tucker
on September 04 2015 10:36

I have 3 cats.Two are brothers (at least that's what the Vet stated when I adopted them) they are mixed bred but 1 looks very much domestic shorthair and the other definetly has tuxedo cat ) he looks like a little panda bear and does not act like a cat)the last #3 is a stray who found us...she was starving and showed up on our deck .We tried for 2 weeks to find the owner to no avail. Sooooo needless to say we kept her to find out she is a Pixie-bob

Posted by Gay Mason
on September 01 2015 18:00

Cats are more finicky about food . For a month they will gobble a certain quality food and the next, it sits in their dish for a day and you have throw it out. I found mixing 2 dry foods( one is a dental) guarantees will eat one or both. Can food face it, they act like a picky 2 year old.

Posted by Angela Steffen
on September 01 2015 17:56

All my 5 cats are on Pet plan They are fun and each one is a trip They do like to sleep either on you or near you

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Visit your vet at least once a year to keep your pet protected from preventable diseases.