Sunday, September 30, 2012

Is Your Cat Content?

How do we know that our purring pets are pleased?  It is not as difficult as you may think.  A few items to be aware of and provide for can keep our companions happy and healthy all year long.

There are many ways to tell if your cat is content.  Just listening will often give a good indication.  Kittens will be the most vocal in letting you know if they are happy or not.  While purrs can indicate contentment, they may not always be a definitive sign of pleasure.  

Peaceful cats often rest with front paws tucked and with ears and whiskers slightly forward.  Tense cats will hold whiskers closer to the face and flatten the ears.  Consider it threatening when a cat stares, however, slow blinks are considered a sign of affection. 

A joyful cat's tail will stand straight up with just the tip crooked, signaling a pleasant greeting to anyone he deems a friend.  When a dog wags his tail, he is letting you know he is happy.  When a cat wags his tail, he is not!  Tail lashing, those large back and forth swishing movements, indicate the cat is distressed and is warning you to back off or suffer!

Felines who feel fine about themselves stay well groomed.  Grooming other cats is also a good sign.  Scratching is also an important aspect of fit behavior.  Providing a sturdy scratching post allows cats to stretch and care for their claws.  Not to mention it will also help in protecting your furniture and drapes.

Kittens play nonstop.  As cats mature, play activity will diminish.  Nevertheless, any amount of play indicates feline happiness.  Cats play with other animals that they like and trust.  If your cat isolates itself and hides from the world, something is definitely wrong.  One of the easiest ways to make a cat happy is with a new toy.  Cats are natural hunters and love chasing, pouncing, and stalking prey.  Cheerful cats will show interest in their environment.  Walking cats on a leash with a harness or keeping them confined in a special outdoor area allows them to experience safely the world outside their window.  



Happy cats have strong appetites.  Any decrease in appetite indicates something amiss.  Working for food can also make a cat happy because it too channels those natural hunting instincts.  One option is to hide food in different places so your cat has to “hunt” for it.  Owners with overweight cats can throw pieces of kibble around, one at a time, to help their hefty feline get some additional exercise and mental stimulation.

When cats remain faithful to the litter box, all is right in their domain.  Spraying or inappropriate elimination such as urinating outside the box may indicate stress in your kitty’s world.

Healthy cats are happy cats.  Visit your veterinarian.  Talk with him/her about the best preventive plan for your cat.  Even if the cat is strictly an indoor feline, pesky parasites can still attack.  Be sure to spay or neuter, a very important step in helping prevent aggression and decreasing the risk of cancer, not to mention avoiding unwanted litters.  While there, also microchip.  If your feline ever gets lost, this permanent ID will help reunite you and your pet.  In addition, it is not a bad idea to get your cat accustomed to the carrier before a trip to the vet, you will both be much happier as a result.

Cats are social animals and a playmate can assist in adding joy to their life.  Therefore, consider adopting another feline from the local Animal Care Center.  Many wonderful cats are sitting in the shelter just waiting for someone to give them a loving home with a new furry best friend.


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