Want to help keep your cat purring for years to come? Take time out to focus on their wellness routine. Even a few simple things can improve their quality of life.
Relax Your Cat
Cats may be masters of chilling out, but you can help up their relaxation game with some innovative ideas. For instance:
- Play soothing music. Put on some classical music, soft rock tunes, or even a calming guided meditation and watch your cat relax a little deeper than usual.
- Set up a cozy spot. Invite your cat to curl up in a pile of warm towels just out of the dryer, some soft blankets, a few floppy pillows, or—what might be their favorite place—your lap.
- Give them a massage. Yes, like people, many cats love a good massage. But you don’t want to just knead away at them. There is a technique to massaging a cat. Read on to learn how to massage your cat properly.
How to Massage a Cat
First off, choose the right time to massage your cat. Your cat should be calm and receptive to physical contact when you start.
Avoid massaging them right after a meal since it could upset their tummy, when they’re in a deep sleep so you don’t startle them, or when they’re in a spirited mood. If your cat is feeling lively, they may take your overtures as an invitation to swat at your hands and play.
You can use these recommendations to guide your massage:
- Gently pet your cat to kick things off. You can talk to them in a soft voice or even sing a calming song to help relax them.
- Begin stroking your cat slowly in a favorite spot, such as behind their ears or on their back.
- As your cat gets familiar with the feeling of a massage, you can vary the amount of pressure to see what they like and move to other areas of their body. If your cat seems uncomfortable or begins to wiggle away, you should stop the massage.
- We often pet our cats with our fingertips. Use your full hand to massage them. You can even use both hands to work on different areas at once.
- Pay attention to your cat’s responses as you massage them. Some cats are very sensitive and can get overstimulated easily, which can lead to scratching or biting.
- Massage your cat’s head and face with small circular motions. Use gentle pressure and be careful not to touch their eyes.
- Vary the massage as you go. For instance, stroke your cat from head to tail a few times then focus on different parts of the body. Stay longer on and revisit the ones your cat seems to enjoy the most.
Read the Ingredient Lists
Do you know how much unhealthy fat and sugar are in your cat’s favorite treats? Read the labels to help ensure you’re making healthy choices for your cat.
Cats are prone to gaining weight, especially as they age, which can cause a host of health issues from joint pain to diabetes. Also, keep in mind treats should make up only 5% or less or your cat’s daily caloric intake.
Learn about the top trends in cat food, including easier to read ingredient lists and personalized meals.
Offer Them New Activities
Cats need physical and mental stimulation for lots of reasons. Engaging activities help them maintain a good weight, prevent boredom and the unwanted behaviors that can come with it, and boost their overall health. But cats can get bored of the same old toys so be sure to swap them out from time to time.
Some fun toy choices for cats are ones that play on their instinctual desires to chase and pounce on their prey, such as plush mice or wand toys. Treat-filled puzzle toys or boxes can also keep your cat busy for a good spell. And you don’t have to break the bank on toys. A few ping pong balls lying around the house or an obstacle course made out of cardboard boxes and paper bags make entertaining ways to play for cats. Just make sure any toys or activities are safe for your cat.
Not sure what your cat might enjoy? Here are some tips on choosing the best toys and treats for your feline friend.
Why Do Cats Need a Scratching Post?
Another great way to provide your cat with activity is to give them a scratching post or mat. Scratching is a natural activity for cats, and providing them with a scratching post helps:
- Remove the outer layer of their nails to keep them healthy.
- Give them a release for negative emotions, like stress or frustration.
- Prevent damage to cabinets, door frames, carpets, furniture, and other things your cat might scratch if they didn’t have a post.
- Stretch out their paws and bodies, which feels pretty darn good to them.
There are all sorts of scratching posts and mats that you can try out. Change them up and occasionally dust them with catnip to engage your cat.
Have a Cat Spa Day
Cats are typically great at grooming themselves, but they can need—and even enjoy—a little help now and then. For instance, brushing your cat’s coat can feel wonderful to them. It can also reduce shedding and cut down on those nasty hairballs, which are no fun for anyone.
You may want to consider giving your cat a bath, which can be a bonding experience (or maybe just a horror show depending on your kitty).
As part of your spa day, you can clip their nails if they need it. Senior cats or cats with health issues may have trouble keeping their nails neatly trimmed. Be careful not to cut the quick, which is the blood supply to the nail. This can be painful for your cat and cause quite a bit of bleeding. If you’re not sure how to safely cut your cat’s nails, talk with your veterinarian or a professional groomer.
Make Them Breakfast
Whip up a special morning meal for your cat, such as scrambled eggs cooked all the way through and sprinkled with cheese. Cats may also like chopped up hard-boiled eggs, which is a great source of protein. Add a little tuna water to juice it up.
You can also make some homemade treats, such as tasty tuna crackers or cheesy cat treats. Just be sure to introduce new foods to your cat gradually in case they have an allergic reaction or get an upset tummy.
Cat Proof Your Home
When’s the last time you checked around your house for things that could harm your cat? If it’s been a while, take a good look and address potential dangers. For instance:
- Make sure your cat can’t swat at and knock over fragile items, like vases, glass picture frames, or pottery. If they break, your cat could cut themselves.
- Secure your window screens so your cat can’t push them open and fall out.
- Pick up little things that could be swallowed or choked on, such as rubber bands, hair ties, paper clips, and bits of ribbon.
Get more tips for cat-proofing every room of your home.
Visit the Veterinarian Regularly
Cats are so self-sufficient, it can be easy to forget to make appointments for their annual check-ups. Plus, getting a cat into a cat carrier and handling them in the veterinary clinic can be a stressful experience for you and your cat. However, it is really important for your cat’s well-being that you visit your veterinarian regularly.
They can help your veterinarian detect health issues early before they become a bigger and more painful problem. They also help ensure your cat maintains a healthy weight and stays up-to-date on their vaccines. In addition, they give you a chance to ask for advice on things like your cat’s diet and any behavioral issues, such as going outside of the litterbox.
Vaccinate Your Cat
Vaccines are also relatively painless for your cat. They are just a quick pinch and typically don’t cause major side effects. Your veterinarian will recommend a schedule for vaccinating your cat.
Consider Pet Insurance
Some people think cats don’t need pet insurance, especially if they are indoor only cats. But even cats who stay inside can get hurt. They can swallow something they shouldn’t, fall off a high perch, or slip outside and get injured. They can also suffer from illnesses, such as skin conditions and cancer. Pet insurance can help make sure you can give your cat the very best medical care when they need it. Start now with a free quote.
The information presented in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute or substitute for the advice of your veterinarian.