September is Happy Cat Month, a time to reflect on what makes our feline friends purr with contentment and ensure that we are meeting their needs. While cats may have a reputation for being mysterious and aloof creatures, understanding their happiness isn’t so different from our own.
Companionship, play and activity, good food, proper care, and an interesting environment are all important factors in a cat’s happiness. Contrary to popular belief, most cats enjoy spending time with their owners and seek out human company. It is essential to prioritize quality time with your cat, whether that involves lap time or engaging in play with their favorite toys.
Cats can also find companionship with other animals, including dogs. The idea that cats and dogs are sworn enemies is a myth, as many households have witnessed countless cat-and-dog friendships. When adopting a kitten, it is advised to consider getting two from the same litter, as they can become lifelong friends.
Playtime is essential for cats, and watching them engage in their playful antics can be more entertaining than any television show. Simple items such as boxes, wadded-up paper, or paper bags can provide endless amusement for felines. In fact, cats may prefer paper or cardboard toys that can be shredded, as it mimics the experience of catching prey.
Variety and novelty are also important to cats, so it is recommended to rotate their toys regularly. By reintroducing toys after a few weeks, they become new and exciting again for your curious feline friend.
Proper nutrition is crucial for a cat’s well-being. Cats are obligate carnivores, meaning they require a meat-based diet. They lack certain enzymes and have specific dietary needs that must be met. Opt for cat food that is complete and balanced and has undergone feline feeding trials.
Grooming is another important aspect of cat care. While cats are known for their self-cleaning habits, regular brushing helps remove dead hair, distributes skin oils, and prevents matting in medium and longhaired cats. Most cats enjoy the sensation of being brushed and see it as a bonding experience with their owners.
Creating an interesting environment for your cat involves providing opportunities for perching, hiding, and exploring. Accessible potted plants, stimulating toys, a scratching post, and even a small fountain can enhance their environment and provide mental and physical stimulation.
In conclusion, understanding what makes your cat happy is essential for their overall well-being. By prioritizing companionship, play, proper nutrition, grooming, and environmental enrichment, you can ensure a healthy and contented feline friend.
– Oregon State University’s Human-Animal Interaction lab study – 2017
– Zazie Todd, author of “Purr: The Science of Making Your Cat Happy”
– 2019 study on cat dietary preferences