Why should you worry about how to support the well-being of your cat? Cats have quite a history with humans. While cat experts say “the process and timing of cat domestication has been terribly difficult to document,” cats have been a large part of human existence for at least 4,000 years. They were kept as pets in ancient Egypt. Some people, however, think cats could have an even longer history with humans. In 2004, a wild cat was discovered buried with a human…dating back some 9,500 years ago.
Whether you already have a cat or you’re adding a new feline friend to the family, you’re not alone. Cats are the most popular house pet in the U.S. According to a 2017 national pet owners survey, there were approximately 94.2 million cats living in houses throughout the country.
If you’re a cat owner, there’s no doubt you want to take the best care of your pet that you possibly can. For many, cats are more than just pets, they’re a part of the family. If you’re interested in how to best support your cat’s well-being, we salute you. Following are some ideas to keep your feline feeling fine.
Easy Ways to Support Your Cat’s Well-Being
Keeping your cat as smitten as a kitten is easy when you know what to do. From feeding them the best foods to ensuring their emotional needs are met, there’s plenty you can do to make sure your cats are living the best of their nine lives.
Support Your Cat’s Digestive Health
One of the best things you can do to support your cat’s well-being is feed them a diet that’s ideal for their personal needs. The dietary needs of a new kitten are going to be much different compared to a senior cat or one that suffers from digestive issues.
Not all cat food is created equal. Ensuring you’re purchasing the best food you can afford goes a long way when it comes to keeping your cat healthy. Cats have unique nutritional needs to help maintain optimal digestive health. They need plenty of protein, fiber and probiotics to keep their system running smoothly.
Also, keep in mind that some foods are toxic to cats. Some of these include dark chocolate, raw eggs, grapes, raisins, onions and garlic. As tempting as it might be to give them milk (what kitty doesn’t like to lap up milk from a saucer?) cats build up an intolerance to lactose after they’re weaned that may cause them to experience severe digestive upset.
You’ll definitely want to look out for other things that might disrupt the delicate balance of your cat’s digestive health. Parasites are one of the most common problems that can trigger feline digestive issues. Hairballs are also a big deal, especially for indoor cats or less active cats that groom themselves all day.
Take Good Care of Their Skin and Coat
Skin conditions in cats are common so it’s important to take good care of their skin and coat. Just like dogs need regular grooming to maintain healthy skin and a shiny coat, you should also pay special attention to these areas with cats.
One of the biggest issues cats run into is fleas. Not only do these annoying creatures cause your cat to itch and scratch, but they can also lead to your cat developing hairballs more easily from trying to groom herself to relieve the itch.
Remember when we mentioned that cats need plenty of protein? Their hair is 95% protein and any deficiency can result in reduced skin and coat quality. Lack of protein in your pet’s diet could lead to increased shedding, poor sheen, a dull coat and even color loss.
Feeding your cat a well-balanced diet that fits their unique nutritional needs is the best way to keep their skin and coat as healthy as possible. If you think your cat might be suffering from a serious problem with their skin or coat, it’s best to take them to the vet.
If your cat hasn’t been acting quite the same lately, it could be due to stress. Just like humans, cats aren’t strangers to stress. A number of things can trigger a stress response in your cat and recognizing this stress when it arises is paramount for supporting your cat’s well-being.
How can you tell your cat is stressed out? Maybe she has started hiding when houseguests stop by. Perhaps your cat has begun to act aggressively towards other animals or people. It could be that your kitty has decided to stop using the litter box. Licking excessively is another good indication of stress.
Wondering why your cat might be stressed? It helps to try to see things from your cat’s point of view. Disruption in routine is a huge cause of cat stress. Maybe you changed jobs and are working a different schedule. If you recently had a baby or got a new pet, this could be the reason your cat is acting out of sorts. Even smells from new people in the house can send some cats over the edge.
What Can You Do to Relieve Your Cat’s Stress?
Do your best to reduce your cat’s exposure to situations they might find unpleasant. If you notice your cat doesn’t take well to new people in the house, think about keeping them in a separate room when you know you’ll have guests over or give them somewhere to hide where they’ll feel safe.
You might want to try to desensitize them by gradually training them to be more comfortable around others and in different circumstances. Some say playing classical music helps relieve cat stress, which is a technique used by several shelters.
Then there are the cat owners who swear by CBD. Animals, after all, have an endocannabinoid system much like humans and there are several anecdotal reports of people using CBD oil pet tinctures to help their kitty stay calm.
If your cat’s stress is severe, talk to your vet. If they can’t help, they may be able to refer you to an animal behavioral specialist who can.
Keep Your Cat Entertained
As independent as some cats might be, they still need stimulation to keep from getting bored. In addition to giving your cats the emotional support they need, it’s vital they have something to keep them mentally and physically stimulated throughout the day.
When it comes to cat toys, your feline friend is easy to please. Consider a catnip-filled mouse toy, balls with bells or feather wands. If you want to keep your cats happy, it’s important to give them a variety of toys that you rotate out on a regular basis. Cats also go crazy for laser wands, which can offer hours and hours of entertainment. Toys with treats hidden in them are another great way to keep your cat occupied.
Anyone interested in supporting their cat’s well-being should consider getting a scratching post. Not only does it save your furniture but it gives your cats the outlet they need to satisfy their natural scratching instincts.
How Your Cat Can Support Your Personal Well-Being
Support your cat’s well-being and they’ll return the favor by supporting yours. The power cats have to improve their owner’s mental and physical health is unprecedented.
We’re sure you’re aware that your cat is awesome for offering you the emotional support you need. Whether snuggled up with you on the couch in the evenings or rubbing around your feet and purring with happiness when you get home from work each day, cats offer the unconditional love humans need.
It’s also suggested that a cat’s purr helps with dyspnea, or difficulty breathing. How? It all comes down to the way their soothing purr imitates a smooth and slow inhalation and exhalation. Who would have thought that a purring cat could help us become more mindful?
Another study found that having a cat could support heart health. One study found that over the period of 10 years, cat owners were 30% less likely to die from a heart attack or stroke than people who didn’t own cats. It’s believed this is because of the ability cats have to lower stress and reduce blood pressure.
Give Your Feline Friend the Care They Deserve
For some people, having a cat is one of the biggest joys in the world. They’re awesome companions with colorful personalities and many lives wouldn’t be the same without them. If you’re one of the millions of people who own a cat, supporting their well-being is vital.
We couldn’t imagine life without our kitties and are sure many of you feel the same. Taking the best care possible of your cat is important. Don’t forget all they give back to you. A little support for your cat can go a long way.
Sigmund Freud once said, “time spent with cats is never wasted.” We couldn’t agree more. We’re sure your feline friend feels the same about you.
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Todd Smith is Joy Organics Chief Partnerships Officer and Co-founder. Before Joy Organics, he worked in the wellness and nutritional industry for over three decades and helped generate over 1 billion dollars in supplement sales. He has applied that knowledge and experience to empower over 1000 businesses through Joy Organics’ partnership programs. Todd is also the author of a book, podcast, and blog titled Little Things Matter.