Show how much you love your felines during Happy Cat Month.
There’s an old saying that goes something like this: “Happy wife, happy life.” But as most cat owners know, one of those words can easily be swapped out to give the phrase even more meaning. After all, if you have a happy cat, you are bound to have a happy life.
Each September for the last several years, the CATalyst Council has celebrated Happy Cat Month as a means to help educate and inform cat owners about ways to make sure their pet cats are happy—and healthy. The organization created the event to counteract stereotypes that depict cats as being “self-reliant, aloof and less in need of medical care than dogs,” according to the group’s website. “The aim of this event is to…ensure cats are well cared for, enriched, and receive the preventive care they require.”
Local animal shelters and pet welfare organizations are encouraged to participate in the event, which in the past has focused on several cat health and welfare topics: feline health, cat life enrichment, multiple cat households, and ensuring cats are valued as companions. Can’t find an official Happy Cat Month event near you? Hold your own month-long event with the ideas listed below—and then continue to help your cat live his happiest life throughout the rest of the year!
Healthy Cat Tips
- Schedule your cat’s annual health exam with your veterinarian.
- Make sure your cat is up to date on his vaccinations.
- Be aware of any changes in your cat’s behavior—they may indicate a health issue.
- Feed your cat a high-quality food formulated specifically for a cat’s nutritional needs.
- Provide plenty of fresh water for your cat every day.
Cat Life Enrichment Tips
- Consider keeping your cat exclusively indoors to protect him from wildlife, other cats, cars and insect-borne diseases.
- Make sure your cat gets plenty of exercise. While cat toys will definitely encourage your pet to play, the best way to make sure your cat moves around is to play with him yourself. Wand toys that feature feathers or other dangling toys are great for interactive play between cats and their owners.
- Place cat beds or cat trees near sunny windows so your cat can have a safe view of the outdoors.
- Brush or comb your cat regularly. The grooming sessions will help you identify any medical issues concerning your cat’s skin, and the time together will help you strengthen your bond with your cat.
- Grow a small pot of catnip so your cat can experience fresh catnip now and then.
Multi-Cat Household Tips
- Have room in your house for one more? Consider adopting a new cat from your local animal shelter. If you work long hours away from home, a new cat may be just the companion your cat needs.
- Encourage continued appropriate use of the litterbox by providing multiple boxes for your cats. A general rule of thumb is to provide one box for each cat, plus one more. In other words, if you have three cats, make sure to provide four litter boxes.
- Likewise, make sure each cat has his own food bowl, and provide plenty of water bowls, too.
- And still again—provide multiple scratching posts with the goal of providing one post for each cat. Cats scratch, in part, to mark their territory, so each cat in your home will want his own post to mark.
Lastly, you can help other people appreciate the value of cats as companions and pets by sharing the scientific benefits of being cat owners. Some of those include:
- Petting a cat is shown to help reduce stress and even lower blood pressure.
- Several studies have shown that people report sleeping better when they sleep with their cat.
- One study showed that small children (under a year of age) who were exposed to cats were less likely to develop all types of allergies—not just pet allergies.
Share your wonderful experiences with your cat with your friends, and help dispel myths about cat ownership. When others see how happy you are as a cat owner, they may want to spend their lives with cats, too—which will lead to more happy cats!
About the Author: Stacy N. Hackett is an award-winning writer with more than 25 years’ experience in the pet industry. She is the former editor of Pet Product News and a former staff editor with Cat Fancy, Cats USA, Critters USA and Ferrets USA. To learn more about her work, visit stacynhackett.vpweb.com.