Now that the holidays are upon us, we are busy getting ready to figure out how we will celebrate in this year of the pandemic. We will strive to be merry in spite of this crazy year. However, do you know if your cat is happy—or not? Obviously, cat happiness is different from our own. Also, since felines are usually pretty forthcoming about they’re contentment or discontent, you should be able to tell if they’re happy—as long as you know what to look for.
This is happy: Since cats sleep from 10-16 hours per day, they should wake up bright and alert. They seek breakfast and attention from you. They interact well with other humans and cats in the family. They play and rest until around midday. Then, they cat nap until late afternoon becomes early evening. This is followed by another flurry of increased activity with another mealtime and another play time. All activities are engaged in with interest and joy. Their tails are held high and their eyes are bright. As the evening wears on, they enjoy the company of others in the home, and they may even seek out their special favorites for company. They may look for cuddling or a session of brushing. They will purr, and soon they are ready to snuggle down for the night.
This is not happy: These cats have been impacted by adverse life experiences. There are a number of contributing factors such as inconsistent interactions, activities leading to unstable routines, inappropriate socialization which makes them afraid of people or other animals, and by not having the opportunity to use their instincts to hunt by means of play. As humans, we have much to keep us occupied, but cats rely on us to provide those distractions that will keep them interested.
When they have no sense of comfort or no routine, the “unhappy cat syndrome” can develop. They may become bored and sleep even more than usual, or they may sleep fitfully. They can develop behavioral problems such as destructiveness or overeating. They may ignore their owners and become increasingly aloof. Their eyes don’t shine and their posture is poor. They become less alert and curious. They can become anti-social and begin to act out their negative feelings.
How We Can Create Happy: Attention to the basics can often help turn unhappy cats into happy cats. The following may seem easy enough, but if any of the parts are out of whack it could make a world of difference in Kitty’s overall state of wellbeing. Let’s look at the following list of sure-fire things to check to find ways you might help alleviate any issues that can cause displeasure.
- 1.Routine. First and foremost, cats must be allowed to have consistent routines. They are happiest when they can do the same things in the same ways at the same times every single day. They thrive on knowing what they will do next and what will come after that. This is how they feel secure. They do not want their routine changed or altered in any way. This is unlike humans who often want a change-of-pace from our daily routines. Not so for cats!
- 2.Exercise. Remember the history of cats in the wild. Your house cat is not so far removed from the ancient cats in instinct. They need to stretch and run, hunt and play, and they need to do these things regularly. There are hundreds of toys on the market that can help you assist in their play time. Exercise is the great reliever of stress in felines—as well as in humans.
- 3.Diet. Food should be healthy and supplied on a regular basis. If you cat does not free feed, they will rely on you to provide their meals at regular times consistently throughout the day. A hungry cat is not a happy cat. There is disagreement about changing their foods. Some say that changing flavors prevents boredom. Others say that once they have acclimated to their favorite flavor, they may not want to deviate. If your cat is like this, consider cat treats as a wonderful supplement to vary taste and texture. As with people, treats are usually quite happy-making!
- 4.Medical. Make sure your cat goes to the vet on a regular basis. Cats are notorious for disguising any discomforts and hiding physical conditions. This, too, comes from their days in the wild when showing vulnerability could put their lives in jeopardy. Your vet can often detect issues that we may not see. The vet can check for parasites, illnesses, and allergies. If you are in pain or itching, your discomfort will lead to ill feelings. Same with your cat.
- 5.Social. Sometimes there are issues that cause a cat to become withdrawn. Are there new people or animals Kitty needs to become accustomed to? Or, is something else the issue? They should be coaxed to come out and should be rewarded whenever they do. Encouraging involvement and activities can help the shy and scaredy cats. You can offer wand toys and laser pointers to help entice them to come out running!
By making just a few adjustments from the above list, your cat can become a well-adjusted and happy little feline being. They should sleep better at night and enjoy their daily doses of play and entertainment. The goal is to cut down on aggressiveness by quelling any fears. Once the cat is happier, she will appreciate her owner that much more and you will have a better and more rewarding relationship with her as well.
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