Your home is a place where your cat should feel safe and happy at all times. However, there are some domestic cats who face depression, anxiety, and fear in their own home for reasons unknown to their pet parents.
While it’s important to maintain the physical well-being of your cat, it’s also important that you take care of their mental health. A cat’s surroundings play a strong role in maintaining its mental health. Many domestic cats face physical and mental health problems due to their sedentary lifestyle. Cats are natural predators and hunters, a home environment that does not provide any stimulation or physical activity can make them dull, lazy, and prey to a number of health problems.
It is important to provide a space that makes them feel safe, comfortable, and happy. Here’s how you can do that:
Make sure they are safe
While it’s important that you keep them active, you also need to eliminate the chance of unfortunate accidents. Do a thorough risk assessment of the house to remove potential dangers. Some things you should look out for:
Open washing machines: Make sure you don’t leave them open and check that your kitten isn’t hiding inside.
Plants: There are a number of houseplants that are poisonous to cats. A few common ones are- Aloe Vera, Lilies, Chrysanthemum, Crassula, Monstera Deliciosa, Hydrangea, Tomato Plant, and a few others. Remove these plants from your house if you have a cat.
Cleaners and disinfectants: Keep all kinds of disinfectants and cleaning detergents away from the reach of your cat. Opt for a pet-friendly floor cleaner as the regular cleaners can be toxic for your cat. Remember that cats are curious and like to explore, disinfectants and detergents can be poisonous, if ingested, so keep them out of their reach.
Wires: If your cat sees any loose hanging wires, their predatory instincts will kick in and they will want to play with them. Keep these wires tucked away. Cover them with tape if you can. Cats chewing on any wires can be extremely dangerous.
Balconies: If you live on the top floors of a building, make sure your balcony doors are always closed.
Keep them entertained:
Have you ever noticed a cat climbing trees? Or scratching the bark of a tree and being extremely thrilled in the process? Outdoor experiences are great to stimulate a cat’s natural instincts and keep anxiety and depression at bay. While indoors, you can get them cat shelves, scratching posts, and cat trees to avoid lethargy and encourage exercise.
Do not make sudden noises:
Cats do not like to be surprised. Even when you’re playing with them, do not make any sudden noises or moves that will scare them. These sudden moves can lead to problems relating to anxiety. Your cat will always be on her toes around you and always wonder what’s coming next. This is not good for your cat especially if they are spending most of their time with you.
Me time is essential:
Cats love to have their own space, a little bed, a little nook or space that is all theirs with zero disturbance and a whole lot of personal space. Make a small space in your house with a comfy bed and blankets, you can DIY with a cardboard box. Or get them a cat cocoon they can use as a hide-away whenever they need some time to themselves.
Offer food in a cat-friendly way:
Apart from giving them nutritious food, you need to give them their food in the right bowl. Do not opt for plastic bowls, their odor can be off-putting for your cat. Choose ceramic, glass, or steel bowls. If your cat has a flat face, get a more shallow bowl for them.
Do not forget about hydration:
If you already have a cat, you know how picky cats are when it comes to drinking water. One way to make sure your cat isn’t dehydrated is by keeping multiple bowls of water throughout the house and cleaning these bowls regularly. You must change the water in their bowl at least once a day. Consider getting a water fountain, the movement of water can stimulate the need for drinking water. As a cat parent, you have to make an extra effort to ensure your cat is hydrated at all times.
The size of the litter box should depend on the size of your cat. Keep a litter box big enough for them to walk around, scrape and do their business in. Always keep the litter box in a place that is discreet and where your cat doesn't feel vulnerable. Cats should feel safe when they are doing their business. Keep the litter box clean at all times, if the litter box is dirty, your cat is not going to use it.
Last but not the least, remember that cats are naturally independent and like to keep to themselves. You need to give your cat their space and let them learn to love you in their own time. And once they do start to love you, your bond with them is going to be unlike any other.
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