Can I prepare my cat for medical examinations? What can I do if my cat constantly chases young birds? And what should I bear in mind if children live in the same house? Here you will find tips and tricks about living with a cat.
Although cats are very independent and can keep themselves busy, they often accept activity by humans very well. Especially young cats are very playful and curious. There are several ways to keep cats active.
Playing with other cats
Besides playing with other cats, they like hunting games. For these to be fun, the toy should behave like a prey animal. Therefore, one should always move the toy away from the cat. It is also quite common to hide prey, for example, under a carpet.
Cats can get a part of their daily food ration through feeding toys. There are various boards or balls available in stores, which can be filled with dry food. However, one can also create such a toy out of cardboard boxes and tubes.
Variety for cats
If the cat is kept indoors, it can quickly get bored. To provide variety into the everyday life of apartment cats, one can bring a box full of things from the outside – depending on the season: leaves, hay, herbs, flowers, pine cones, or snow. However, cats also curiously examine fur from other animals.
Cats can be kept busy with the help of a clicker. The focus is not necessarily on learning tricks, but it strengthens the cat's self-confidence and its bond with the owner. At the same time, it offers variety and can be used for medical training.
Medical check-ups or care measures do not have to be a struggle. Cats can be accustomed to these treatments. Possible goals for medical training:
- getting into the transport box (voluntarily)
- lying still on the scale
- carrying the cat
- keeping still while grooming, removing ticks, or checking ears
- opening the mouth and having the teeth checked
- allowing palpation on the body
- applying eye drops
- measuring blood sugar and injecting insulin (for diabetes)
Cats and vacation
The majority of cats are very stressed by changes in locations. Therefore, a vacation might be anything but relaxing for them or the owner. We highly recommend getting someone who can care for your cat at home during your vacation. Ideally, the cat should be cared for at least twice a day (feeding, changing the water, cleaning the litter box) and checked regularly for possible health problems. Especially apartment cats need interaction and are happy to be stroked and kept busy. If there is no one to look after the cat in its home or familiar environment, catteries will take care of the cat. Be aware: catteries might be quickly booked out during school holidays. Make sure to find a place for your pet in advance.
Cats and wildlife
As excellent hunters, cats catch numerous small animals during their forays. Not only do sick and injured animals become their victims, but cats also hunt inexperienced young animals. It is not possible to keep all cats confined. Nevertheless, measures can be taken to reduce the impact of cats on biodiversity:
- neutering: fewer (feral) cats prey on wildlife
- feeding: well-fed cats hunt less
- keeping them active: cats will search less for prey if their need for hunting games is satisfied
- a bell or safety collar: if wildlife recognizes danger earlier, they have a better chance of escaping
- creating hiding places: if wildlife can get to safety, the cat is less likely to succeed
- growing plants: if wild animals find enough food, they are fitter – therefore, the cat has less success.
- confinement: if there are young birds in the garden, the cat should stay inside for a few days until the young birds can fly properly.
Cats and kids
Most children are incredibly fascinated by cats. They could play with each other for hours and then fall asleep together after a cuddle session. For the relationship between a cat and a child to be harmonious, there are a few things to keep in mind:
- never leave cats and small children together unsupervised
- also observe older children and cats: intervene if necessary
- get to know the expressive behavior and stress signals of cats
- explain the cat language to the child (especially if the cat is not in a good mood)
- set up a place of retreat for the cat (the kid needs to respect it)
- set up rules (not to wake up the cat, not to disturb)
- explain the rules to the kids and show them why they are important
- immediately disinfect and observe scratches
- consult a doctor in case of bites and infected scratches
Preventing obesity in cats
Obesity is a big problem these days. Especially cats which are mainly fed with dry food and indoor cats tend to become too fat. That can harm the cat's health. Follow these tips to prevent your cat from being overweight:
- read the information on the daily amount of food on the packaging
- keep in mind: the recommended daily amount is a little too high
- do not forget to include treats and snacks in the daily food ration
- check your cat regularly: the ribs should not be visible but easily felt (the cat is overweight if the ribs can only be felt when applying pressure)
- weigh the cat regularly
- reduce the amount of food if your cat gains weight
- ask your vet's practice for advice if your cat suffers from obesity