Whether you share your pillow with a kitty or care for feral, stray, or community cats, Be Kind to Animals Week is a great time to consider what that means for cats. We love our cats all year long, but sometimes we lose sight of what cats actually want out of life. Channel your “inner kitty” to learn how to keep the purrs rumbling 24/7.
What Cats Want And Need Out Of Life
Cats love home turf, and whether they live with you in an apartment, a mansion, or a barn, they need their own space. Within that territory, they need protection from the weather or from outside dangers. Feral kitties want and need that for their babies, and humans want and need protection for the cats they love. Even though outside unowned felines are good at keeping a protective distance from perceived dangers, being kind means protecting both owned and unowned cats from bad weather, predators, car accidents, and more. For beloved indoor-only cats, giving kitties enough territory—such as cat trees and tunnels where they can hide—reduces stress and the potential for behavior problems.
Cats are not solitary by choice, and even feral felines develop relationships with other cats. Owned kitties bond closely with their humans, as well as with other companion animals in your home. For instance, my Karma-Kat mourned deeply after his dog-friend passed away and slept with his collar for two weeks. Companionship may not look the same in the “cat world,” but it is no less real. Simply sharing the same room may be your cat’s equivalent of a declaration of adoration.
Listen to what your cat wants, too. Some want cuddle time, and others prefer interactive play. There is no one-size-fits-all, and figuring out what your cats want is true kindness.
Cats rely on humans to provide the best nutrition for them. Many cats also relish treats, although a kitty’s idea of treat (mousies, anyone? Or cricket snacks?) may make humans gag. Remember that cats nibble throughout the day rather than gulp, so a kind way to feed includes mouse-size servings several times daily. Foraging feeds cats the way nature meant them to hunt, a value-added benefit for kitty’s health.
Sadly, it’s the rare cat who loves a vet visit, but all kitties require good health to be happy. A healthy cat can hunt, play, claim territory, and happily interact with humans and other companions. Today, cats live longer, healthier lives because of preventive veterinary care that extends their years and improves the quality of the life—and love—you share.
Fear Free Life
Fear destroys the happiness that the cat-owner bond celebrates. Cats live each day to the fullest, with purrs and trills of delight chasing a feather toy, seeking out puddles of sunshine in which to bask, or pillows to share nose-to-nose time with beloved humans. Every cat (and pet parent) deserves a fear free territory. Only then will relationships bloom, and joy fill your hearts. That’s the purr-fect kindness we can give our cats!
This article was reviewed/edited by board-certified veterinary behaviorist Dr. Kenneth Martin and/or veterinary technician specialist in behavior Debbie Martin, LVT.
Published May 7, 2018