New Year's Resolutions for Your Cat
4th January 2018
Happy New Year! Many of us have resolutions for the new year, but have you considered the feline members of your family? While a new year and a fresh start is often a great motivator for us to take another look at our goals and push them forward, it is actually the perfect time to consider your cats and their health and happiness.
So what resolutions could you consider for them? Take a look at a few of these recommendations and start putting a plan in place for your furry loved ones:
Increase play and enrichment time
One of the key areas that many of us neglect as cat owners is ongoing regular and consistent play and enrichment for our cats. Behavioural enrichment via play and interactive toys really is the key to a happy, healthy life for your cat. While there are many amazing toys, puzzles and games for cats on the market, it is often the simple things that will keep their attention.
Make it your new year’s resolution to interact and play with your cat for at least 10 - 15 minutes once or twice a day, EVERY day. Chase toys, simple balls and play mice work well, or if your kitty is food motivated, you could play ‘chase the biscuit’. Food based toys are fantastic enrichment tools alongside their regular feeding regime, but be sure to use the kibble from your cat’s daily food allowance.
Prevent weight gain
Regular daily play and enrichment keeps your cat busy and happy, and it reduces behavioural issues. It will also help to keep them fit and active. Feline obesity is a very prevalent issue across the world, and as owners we need to do much more to prevent weight gain in our cats.
It is important to keep a close eye on a cat’s body condition score, weight and food intake. Always follow the feeding guide very closely on your cat’s food, and, if you have a cat who likes to steal their furry friend’s food, use a feeding bowl such as the SureFeed Microchip Pet Feeder to stop extra (and excess) calorie intake. If you have a cat who loves food and who seems to beg a lot, try changing from a dry kibble based diet to a wet pouch or canned diet. The moisture content means fewer calories per 100g, and that means greater meal volumes for your cat. A SureFeed bowl will help to keep this wet food fresh and moist if your cat prefers to graze. More information on the SureFeed bowls can be found here.
Helping weight loss for overweight cats
What if your cat is already overweight? And how do you know if they’re overweight? Often it can be hard to tell if your cat is overweight or just fluffy. You can ask your vet to complete a “Body Condition Score”.
A ‘1 to 9’ score helps to gauge whether your cat is underweight (1 - 3), an ideal body weight (4 or 5) or overweight/obese (6 -9).
If your cat is overweight, helping them to lose weight can dramatically improve their life, potentially extend their lifespan and reduce the chance of a number of different diseases.
Reduce stress for your cat
We all want our cats to live long and happy lives, but for many cats their environment is a constant source of stress every day. Take a moment this New Year to consider your home and whether it is ‘feline friendly’ or not. Simple changes such as having sufficient litter trays in your home (one per cat, plus one spare) and ensuring each cat is fed separately from another can have an immediate and dramatic effect on your cat’s day to day life.
Bullying, stealing food and fighting are commonplace in multi-cat homes during morning and evening mealtimes. A simple change from using regular cat bowls to using SureFeed Microchip Pet Feeders can put an end to much of this mealtime stress, almost immediately.
Having a ‘safe space’ for each cat is also very important. For more information on this and on creating a feline friendly home, take a look at our tips on keeping your cat happy here.
Keeping your cat in general good health
Regular vet check-ups for your cat are so important, and it’s not just for your cat’s annual vaccinations. The full consultation and physical examination your cat has with their vet each year helps to highlight any small issues that could potentially turn into more worrying conditions with time. This will include a weight check-up and body condition score, and if your cat is found to be overweight, the veterinary team will suggest a weight loss plan to get them back to a normal body condition score. An oral exam may highlight the need for a dental procedure, and a careful skin check may highlight a skin and coat issue, or even a skin mass. So, always be sure to follow up on any reminders from your local veterinary clinic when it’s time for your cat’s annual check-up.
Initiating a plan for your cat based on some (or all) of the above could have a dramatic impact on your cat’s health, happiness and well-being this year, so start putting a New Year’s Resolution list together for your cat today!