Whether you share your pillow with a kitty, or care for feral, stray or community cats, always consider what cats want out of life. I’ve written about what makes humans happy, as well as what dogs want out of life, and it’s time for the cats. We love our cats all year long, but sometimes lose sight of what cats need out of life. It’s important to channel your “inner kitty” to learn how to keep the purrs rumbling 24/7 to provide what cats need.
WHAT CATS WANT OUT OF LIFE
Territory: Cats love home turf, and whether they live with you in an apartment, a mansion, or barn, they need to own territory. Within that territory, protection from the weather—or from outside dangers—must be provided. Feral kitties want and need that for their babies, and humans want and need protection for the cats they love. Even though outside unowned felines are very good at keeping a protective distance from perceived dangers, being kind to all cats means protecting both owned and unowned from bad weather, predators, car accidents and more. For beloved indoor-only cats, giving kitties enough territory—like cat trees and tunnels to enrich the environment—reduces stress and the potential for behavior problems.
Companionship: Cats are not solitary by choice, and even feral felines develop relationships with other cats. Owned kitties bond closely with their humans, as well as other companion animals in your home. For instance, my Karma-Kat mourned deeply, and slept with his collar for two weeks, after his dog-friend passed away. Companionship may not look the same in “cat world” but it is no less real. Simply sharing the same room may be your cat’s equivalent of a declaration of adoration. Learn more about how cats love in this post.
What Cats Need
Listen to what your cat wants, too. Some want cuddle time, and others prefer interactive play. There is no one-size-fits-all, and figuring out what your cats want is true kindness.
Food: Cats rely on humans to provide the best nutrition for them. Many cats also relish treats, although a kitty’s idea of treat (mousies anyone? Or cricket snacks?) may make humans gag. Remember that cats nibble throughout the day rather than gulp, so a kind way to feed includes mouse-size servings several times daily. Foraging also feels cats the way nature meant them to hunt, a value-added benefit for kitty’s health.
Health Care: Sadly, it’s the rare cat that loves the vet visit, but all kitties require good health to be happy. A healthy cat can hunt, claim territory, play, and happily interact with humans and other companions. Today, cats live longer, healthier lives because of preventive veterinary care that extends their years and improves the quality of the life—and love—you share.
Fear Free Life: Fear destroys the happiness that the cat-owner bond celebrates. Cats live each day to the fullest, with purrs and trills of delight chasing a feather toy, seeking out puddles of sunshine to bask, or pillows to share nose-to-nose time with beloved humans. Every feline (and pet parent) deserves a fear free territory. Only then will relationships bloom, and joy fill your hearts. That’s the purr-fect kindness we can give our cats!
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Amy Shojai, CABC is a certified cat & dog behavior consultant, a consultant to the pet industry, and the award-winning author of 35+ pet-centric books and Thrillers with Bite! Oh, and she loves bling!