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You’re probably getting those New Year’s resolutions dialed in as you read this. But does your goal-setting include your cat? You can establish some new habits this year to also help your furry family member.
Improving your cat’s health and happiness can be as simple as getting a book on cats from the library or picking up up a new toy or grooming tool. So make 2021 the year you give some extra love to your feline companion by embracing a cat-friendly New Year’s resolution or two! Here are some ideas to get you started—plus links to a ton of “how-to” articles and helpful products.
When cats play, they’re actually mimicking their natural instinct to hunt. Not only does playtime allow your cat to express their natural role of fearless predator, but it’s also a great way to keep them fit. Plus, interactive playtime relieves stress, challenges your cat’s mind, and strengthens the bond between the two of you.
OK, we’re sold. After all, setting aside time to play with our fluffy kitties is hardly an imposition. To reap the full benefits of playtime, cat behavior expert Pam Johnson-Bennett of the Cat Behavior Associates recommends committing to one or two 15-minute play sessions per day.
Piggybacking on the previous resolution to play more, we bring you goal number two: Get in shape! Cats are creatures who appreciate a good nap (right on!) but their love of snoozing also makes them prone to gaining weight.
The goal to “get fit” usually heads up most people’s list of resolutions, and it’s an equally smart goal for your cat. Maintaining a healthy weight can extend your cat’s lifespan and reduce their risk for certain diseases. So break out the laser pointers and get your kitty moving! Even better, train your kitty to a harness and leash, and share a hike around the neighborhood.
Banish boredom and reduce the chances of your kitty turning destructive. Resolve to enrich your cat’s space this year. This is especially important for indoor cats, and there are a number of ways to go about it. The easiest way to ward off feline restlessness is by providing opportunities for your cat to carry out their natural instincts. Give him appropriate places to climb, scratch, hide, rest, and play.
Today’s designers are creating more aesthetically pleasing cat furniture that can act as a fun conversation piece while keeping your furry feline content and engaged. We also love these cat-approved scratching posts that keep your kitty’s nails in top condition while preserving your own furniture (and skin!)
Break out your rolling pins and get ready to whip up some healthy and scrumptious homemade feline-friendly snacks. Baking wholesome cat treats from scratch is the perfect winter activity. We’re loving this recipe for Catnip Croutons by The Cookie Rookie, and we have a sneaking suspicion your cat will too. Not a baker? No problem. Treat your kitty to one of our favorite cat treats when they deserve a special reward.
C’mon, be honest: when was the last time you actually brushed your cat’s teeth? Proper dental hygiene is important to your cat’s overall health, and yet it’s a grooming task frequently shirked by cat owners.
Sound familiar? Let this be the year you make an earnest effort to brush your cat’s teeth on a regular basis—aim for a minimum of twice a week, with daily brushing as your ultimate goal. We have some tips for making dental care a bit easier. Plus a list of helpful dental treats that work to reduce plaque.
No one likes a dirty bathroom, least of all your fastidious feline. Get into the routine of scooping waste daily to keep things tidy and prevent offensive odors.
For those of you who don’t relish being on poop scooping duty every day, may we suggest an automatic litter box? These magical contraptions come in a range of styles and prices and just might make 2021 a little more pleasant for your whole household.
Dogs aren’t the only ones who can learn to play fetch. Cats can be trained to perform a number of impressive tricks like high-fiving or coming on command. (Certain breeds are more likely than others to embrace such lessons.)
Here’s something you may not have known: cats can even be trained to walk on a leash. It’s true! It’ll take some patience, but it can be done. (A secure harness helps.) Just have realistic expectations: some cats will enjoy leash walking, while others may never warm to the idea.
Microchipping a pet is quick and relatively inexpensive—as little as $20 if you shop around. If your kitty hasn’t been ‘chipped, call your vet or check with your local shelter or pet store. It’s also smart to get your cat a collar outfitted with a good ID tag if they don’t already have one. Even an indoor cat can slip outside if a guest or contractor opens the door. Microchips and collars vastly increase the chances that your kitty will be returned to you.
Does your cat’s behavior frequently leave you scratching your head? Yeah, us too. Cats are creatures of mystery—it’s what we love about them…and sometimes it’s what we don’t love about them. (“Again with the knocked over water glass?! C’mon!”)
While we can’t possibly understand all the “whys” of our cats’ puzzling behaviors, there’s a lot we can learn about the way they operate. A new year is a perfect opportunity to read up on your kitty’s quirks to better understand them. Check out your local library for cat behavior resources (here’s a list of our favorite books), read studies published online, or peruse the Rover blog—we have plenty of articles that will help you decode your cat’s peculiar habits.
While any of these cat-related resolutions are laudable, our number one goal for this year is to love on our cats as much as possible. Now that’s a New Year’s resolution we can all get behind.
- Do Cats Miss Their Owners? 5 Signs Your Cat Missed You
- How to Figure Out the Best Place for a Litter Box
- 5 Tips to Get Your Cat to Like You
Featured image via Gundula Vogel/Pixabay