Some cats are quite expressive, making it easy to know when they are ecstatic or grumpy or anywhere in between. Other cats have completely mastered the art of the poker face.
But even if you have one of those stoic, I’ll-never-let-on-that-I’m-happy cats, there are a few things that are sure to brighten his or her day. It may not involve cuddling and affection, but if you want to know the fast-track to a happy cat, just follow these tips!
Basking in the Sunshine
Cats are known for napping, and 9 times out of 10 they’ll choose a very warm and cozy place to get their beauty sleep. And if it’s in a patch of sun, all the better! The sun not only feels heavenly on their fur, but also helps them maintain their body temperature without using up too much energy to do so. Unlike people, cats can get all the vitamin D they need from their diets, so sitting in the sunshine isn’t a strict health necessity; it just feels good!
Cats love to stalk their prey, and for an indoor cat, this can be a little tricky. Try to set up cat-friendly perches, chairs or shelves in front of as many windows as possible to help your cat get a good look outside at the squirrels, chipmunks and birds that frolic outside. If your cat makes a chattering noise with her teeth, you’ll know she’s really getting into it! Try playing with her with a feather toy to help her expend some of that pent up energy.
My cats actually love watching for the skinks that sunbathe on the brick windowsills. These small lizards will also crawl on the window screens, making perfect targets for pouncing. If you don’t have a lot of wildlife where you live, try setting out a bird feeder. You’ll be surprised to see all the critters that come out of hiding when there’s free food! Your cat will love the show.
Having Some Companionship
Cats have a reputation for being loners, but that doesn’t mean they like being isolated. They enjoy companionship just as much as we do; otherwise, they’d make distinctly lousy pets!
You don’t necessarily have to have a second cat in your home, although it’s not a bad idea to try. Dogs and cats can get along well in the right circumstances too. Even your own presence is better than nothing, so try to make each room as inviting as possible with beds, perches and food dishes.
It’s tempting for some cat owners to set up automatic feeders and waterers, plus a couple extra litter boxes, and to leave their cats home alone while they go on a short vacation. But to keep your cat’s health and happiness in mind, find a personal pet minder before you make your vacation plans. That way, your cat will always have the luxury of companionship and will be less prone to anxiety from being left alone or boarded in a cattery.
Getting a Bird’s-eye View
Cats are incredibly observant, and they like to have a safe place from which to watch the world. Give your cat the opportunity to have a bird’s-eye view of your home by setting up tall cat trees, installing shelves in a step-wise pattern on the wall, or clearing away space on top of your kitchen cabinets or fridge.
Your cat will appreciate the ability choose new vantage points to explore and to nap in. Being up high also lends a feeling of security, since your cat’s instincts tell him it’s more difficult to be ambushed from up high. (But it’s also easier for your cat to do the ambushing from up above, so don’t be too surprised if you suddenly get pounced on by a playful kitty!)
Feeling the Breeze
With warmer weather comes the desire to throw open the windows and freshen the house with a soft breeze. Many cats will come running at the sound of a window being opened; it offers them an entirely new way to observe the outside world through their sense of smell.
Take safety precautions when you open a window for your cat to get better acquainted with the outdoors, however. If the screen is not securely attached, your cat could push it out and fall out of the window. Even if the fall is not very high, cats can become disoriented and lost. Although cats like to be up high, they don’t have a fantastic perception of height and its dangers, which means that letting your cat out onto a balcony, for example, may not be very wise. Your cat could try to leap to the ground from too great of a height and get hurt.
Nevertheless, connecting with the outdoors is important for the health and happiness of an indoor cat, so be sure to give your cat plenty of safe opportunities to feel the breeze when the weather gets nice.
What are some of life’s simple pleasures that bring your cat joy? Let us know in the comments below!
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