My cat William like most cats is quite the character. He and his sister Kate grew up indoors with my dog Sandy so he somehow thinks he is a dog as well. Most of the time he seems happy but every once in a while he gets the grumps and we all jump to figure out what is making him so unhappy. His unhappy moments come with hissing at everything, slapping anyone passing by (including Kate) and standing outside any closed door complaining just because. I did some research and learned that cats need to satisfy their cat instincts in order to be in a happy place. Given that William thinks he is a dog, and by that I mean that never chases anything, he doesn’t jump when we bring out the toys, if we let a fake mouse run around the house he observes it next to Sandy as if it’s none of his business and he rarely purrs, he basically doesn’t get to satisfy any of those basic cat needs. So we came up with a summary of all the ideas we read about and tested them to see if William would activate his cat mode and perhaps get his happy on.
One of my most favorite cat people in the world is Jackson Galaxy. I have learned so much about cat behavior watching his show and like he always says, one has to catify to satisfy, so these were the top 5 things that worked for us:
- Build a catio (Cat Patio)
Given that don’t have the space for a catio, we did the next best thing… we put perches by our windows and even put a kitty condo by one to make sure he gets to observe nature and think of all the things he could hunt.
- Make them hunt
Even though he and the rest of our pets are on a feeding schedule, we figured why not leave a few treats hidden here and there to get him to sniff around and find his prizes. We left a few bites in corners, behind doors, under furniture he can reach under and inside cabinets he can open. It worked like magic. He was all over them looking for and “catching” them! We do this every other day and always in different places.
- Add an extra litter box
This is another suggestion by Jackson Galaxy especially if you have more than one cat. It works! The king needed his own throne. Giving him an option to use another box made happier because he being the alpha needed his own space. The boy likes options.
- Scratching Post and Cat Furniture
Good for them and great for my furniture! We got at least one scratching post on every room and one on each side of the couch. We also have that kitty condo by the window to the backyard that he can scratch away, he gets to stretch, scratch and be happy.
- We play!
I take at least five minutes every day to get a toy and swing it around to get his attention. I can be doing this while relaxing in the couch or watching the news at the end of the day. He takes a little while but after a little teasing, he starts to play. This is our time together and it not just good for him (and Kate) but it also deepens the bond between us.
As a cat and dog person I just want to make sure my babies are happy and healthy. It may take a little work to create a home for us and them but it is totally worth it.