Cats are living longer these days because of developments in diet and healthcare. Pet insurance is widely available now, making higher standards of Veterinary care more affordable for more owners.
Understanding what makes your cat a cat and what your cat can and can’t cope with will help in expectations of your relationship with your feline companion.
UNDERSTANDING YOUR CAT!
Your cat is:
- A hunter – the cat has evolved physically and behaviourally to be an expert hunter motivated and determined by the sight and sound of prey. To be a successful hunter, the cat’s natural pace coincides when its prey (small creatures) is active; usually dawn and dusk.
- Emotionally sensitive – cats can feel pleasure, fear and frustration similar to you. Changes in routine behaviour can happen as a result of emotional change or can also indicate health issues.
- Territorial – cats would normally hunt, petrol and defend their area and are very attached to the territory more than the owner. Cats don’t usually leave their territory so owners need to be sensitive to their needs.
- Scent sensitive – cats are highly sensitive to smells, sounds and vibrations unobserved by humans. Cats use their scent and sense of smell as a method of communication with one another and to define their territory. Changes to an unfamiliar environment will cause anxiety, fear and stress.
- Agile – cats are physiologically designed to hunt silently and to escape danger through their flexibility and strength, they are physically adapted for short frequent spurts of activity rather than lengthy periods.
- Self-reliant and likes being in charge – cats are mostly lone hunters, independent soles and must remain in control at all times. Cats will hide and run away if they feel they’re in danger. They are also brilliant at hiding pain or signs of illness, they tend to stay silent so not to attract unnecessary attention, hence why pain and illness is difficult to detect and monitor in cats.
- Highly aware – being a single hunter, cats are highly reactive and always alert to dangers. They are more susceptible to stress from sounds, sights, smells and the unaccustomed, they may react quickly or defensively if frightened or disturbed.
GUIDELINES TO MAXIMISE THE HUMAN-CAT BOND AND IMPROVE YOUR CAT’S LIFE IN THE MODERN WORLD:
- Maintain predictability and routine in your cat’s life to reduce stress and aid in their overall health & welfare.
- Allow your cat to take charge of social interaction with you and family members – Less is More!
- Provide daily opportunities for play time – cat’s play mimics predatory behaviour.
- Respect your cat’s need and time to become familiar with new places, situations and people.
- Ensure there is sufficient resources within the home environment in sufficient quantities (1.5 litter tray per cat, separate feeding stations, water, scratching surfaces, bedding, vertical space, all resources positioned in diverse locations).
- Allow your cat to have outdoor access via leash walking or outside enclosure.
- Provide safe and suitable cat grass.
- Environmental enrichment – provide toys suitable for lone play and toys that you can use to play with your cat. Toys should be rotated to prevent boredom.
- Stimulate indoor cats by providing a surrounding that enables them to accomplish natural behaviour.
- Keep a suitable number of cats for the size of property and resources within.
- Provide pet drinking fountain to encourage drinking from running water source.
- Offer your cat hiding spaces, give rewards and encourage positive behaviour.
- Provide fresh air and ventilation from an open window that the cat cannot escape or fall through.
- Feed small, frequent meals per day if working part/full time.
- In multi-cat household homes provide several food stations to avoid cats bullying each other.
- Encourage foraging by placing food in different spots – it’s more natural for cats to forage and eat small meals from multiple locations.
- Introduce puzzle feeders to stimulate your cat’s mind and hunting behaviour.
- Inspire socialisation time and physical contact with yourself for those cats who like physical interaction.
- Recognise the value of veterinary care by seeing a vet on regular basis.
- Stay calm and positive – cats can sense your anxiety or frustration.
Worldwide, cat ownership is at all time high, the need to understand your cat has never been more crucial. While you care for their physical health, paying attention to their emotional needs is of great importance!
To discuss your cat care specific needs or learn more about our treatments and services, contact Pet Nurture on 0403 939 202 or Enquiries@PetNurture.com.au
Care, I. C. (n.d.). ISFM Certificate in Feline Nursing. Understanding Feline Behaviour. UK. Retrieved December 20, 2018
Ellis, S. (n.d.). Would you want to be a 21st century cat. Retrieved June 18, 2018, from https://youtu.be/m2HkY2NulWo
Medicine, I. S. (n.d.). ISFM Guide Feline Stress and Health. (D. S. Sparkes, Ed.) Wilshire, Great Britain. Retrieved December 01, 2018
Rodan, I. (2014, 05 28). Human-cat bond – the good, the bad, and the ugly. European Feline Congress, 9-12. Retrieved December 15, 2018
Individual blogs are based upon the opinions of the specific author, who retains full copyright. The material is not intended as medical advice, it’s intended as a sharing of knowledge and information.
We are not veterinarians and do not diagnose any conditions, perform surgery or prescribe medications. We encourage you to make your own pet health care choices in collaboration with a certified pet health care professional.