by Nomi Berger
Charles Dickens famously said: “What greater gift than the love of a cat.”
While cat lovers everywhere couldn’t agree more, did you know there’s a month dedicated purr-ticularly to the health and happiness of our wondrous, whiskered and whimsical feline friends?
And that month is September. In fact “Happy Cat Month” is now an annual event presented by the CATalyst Council, a national initiative whose aim is to further educate the public and increase awareness about the lifelong health and welfare of companion cats.
To ensure YOUR kitty is living her happiest paws-ible life, they’ve revealed – with a tip of the proverbial hat to former talk show host David Letterman — this year’s top ten list:
1) Provide her with toys: One of the easiest ways to make and keep your kitty happy is gifting her with a new toy. While store bought items are fine and fun, so are simple household items such as wadded up paper, paper sacks, and that all time favorite – empty cartons.
2) Train her: As bright as she is food-oriented, she can easily be taught new “tricks.” Not only does this stimulate her mentally and physically, training her also strengthens the bond between you.
3) Make her “work” for her food: With feline obesity on the rise, one way to combat it is having your kitty “work” for her food. Food toys that release small amounts of kibble as she plays with it are one option while another is to hide her food in different places so that she has to “seek” it out.
4) Acclimate her to the dreaded carrier: Set aside some time each day to work, slowly and patiently, with your cat on making the carrier feel like a safe place not a scary one. Praise and high value treats work wonders as she progresses, paw step by paw step, towards ultimate acquiescence and acceptance.
5) Visit your vet: Because a healthy cat is a happy cat, ensure that you schedule an annual wellness visit with your vet so that any issues you yourself may have missed are caught early.
6) Have her microchipped: In addition to her collar and identification tags, microchipping your cherished cat provides a permanent form of identification should she ever go missing.
7) Take her outdoors: To literally broaden her horizons, take your indoor kitty for occasional, brief walks outside using a leash with a harness, thereby enabling her to safely experience the wonders of the world beyond your windows.
8) Supply her with a proper scratching post: Since scratching is so important for cats, allowing them to both stretch and care for their claws, keep your kitty happy by providing her with a long, sturdy scratching post in a vertical, horizontal or angled position.
9) Provide her with preventive medications: A cat free of fleas and ticks, mites and heartworms is an especially happy cat. To maintain her health as well as your own, consult your vet about the best preventive measures to take and the best products to use.
10) Adopt another cat: If yours is a single-cat household, you might consider providing your kitty with a companion and playmate. Being such social creatures, cats are often happiest when they have a compatible feline friend with whom to frisk and frolic fur-ever.