5 Steps to a Healthy and Happy Cat

5 Steps to a Healthy and Happy Cat - A Hassan.- healthy and happy cat

First off, it is important to prepare your home ahead of time. To do this thoroughly, do your research or read this post to learn what steps you can take to cat proof your home. Next, as much as you and your family may be excited to welcome your new pet, their comfort and safety should be your main consideration. With that in mind, consider the following steps to ensure that you have a healthy and happy cat.


Step 1: Give them a Small Safe Space

Cats don’t like change and coming into a new home with new people will cause them unease and stress. Giving them access to the whole home right from the start is stressful and dangerous. Its is best to give your cat a small blocked off area to call their own for the first few days or weeks. A laundry room, small room, or a sizable cage for a kitten works well. In an emergency situation, a bathtub can work until you can prepare a better space. Furnish the space with cat amenities, such as food, water, and a litter box. You can also include a few toys for them to play with. 

Cats feel safe in small places, and you can provide one for your new cat in “their” room. They’ll come in a cat carrier, this might be a good choice. You can also make one by cutting a doorway into the end of a box. If you prefer, you can buy a covered cat bed at a pet supply store. In either case, make sure the space is big enough for them to stand up and turn around in. They might stay in this for large periods of time and this is okay! They might also just need only a day, let your cat decide.

Step 2: Introduce them to Your Home Slowly

You’ll be able to gauge when the cat is ready for full house access. It’s best to do this once they are comfortable with the whole family. At this point, they will also feel safer and ready to explore. It’s best to give them full home access on or right before a weekend so that you can keep an eye on them for their safety. They WILL find a spot that you didn’t think to cat proof and get up to mischief. 

Be careful with the front door and making sure that it’s not left open for cats to run out. Make sure other pets or family members won’t scare them while they gradually explore. Let them choose where to go and what to do. They may be ready to play, so you can furnish some toys around the house. 

If you move their food or litter box once they have access to the whole house, make sure that they know where it is, to avoid accidents. Even after the full home introduction, they might still want to spend most of their time in “their” room. This is okay. They just need some more time before the whole home becomes “their” home.

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Step 3: Keep Your Cat Indoors

Some people believe that cats aren’t meant to live only indoors and that they miss out on the many adventures that come with exploring the outdoors. In reality, what your indoor cat miss out on is getting hit by a car; being attacked by wild animals; fatal diseases and infections; poisonous food; animal traps; cat fights; fleas and parasites; getting lost or stolen; dangerous weather conditions; and random acts of human cruelty.

Some people believe that their cat will be safe outdoors due to living in areas that are rural or relatively low traffic areas. But though the dangers may be reduced in these areas, they are not eliminated. 

Keeping cats indoors actually results in better health and reduced vet bills since many diseases and infections are spread through contact with unhealthy cats. Outdoor cats can have a short life span due to the many dangers mentioned above. On the other hand, indoor cats can live up to 15 years or more. Overall, the financial and health benefits of keeping a cat indoors far outweighs the alternative.

Step 4: Enrich Your Home Safely

Cats enjoy fresh air, sun, and an outdoor view. You can provide enrichment by installing cat beds or shelves near windows. Cats also love high spaces so taller cat towers with multiple perches are best. If your cat likes window time, you can install hanging bird feeders in trees to make it more engaging for your cat, as well as beneficial for wildlife. NOTE: Do not leave screened windows open for cats unless the screens are tear-proof and securely locked. Cats can also slide these open or tear large holes and get out. 

Outdoor cats tend to chew on plants and grass to aid their digestion. You can provide some snack plants for your cat by planting wheat or oat grass in small pots. Make sure that the seeds and soil are cat safe. NOTE: Common plants such as lilies, tulips, and daffodils are poisonous for cats. Please research possible poisonous plants for cats and remove them from your home. 

Scratching is a natural behaviour for cats and indoor cats have less of an outlet for this due to furniture or walls being off limits. You can install both vertical and horizontal scratch posts and scratch trees to see which they like. Cats can be trained to use these easily through redirection, using toys, catnip, and treats. You can read more about preventing common behaviour issues like scratching from this post

Provide your cats with a variety of toys. There are many options in stores and even cheap versions that you can make at home. You can also enrich basic cat toys by adding catnip to them. Whether you have one cat or more, cats still love to play with their humans. It’s best to take at least 15 minutes twice a day to play with your cat. This ensures necessary exercise and can help expel some energy before bed time. Consider also adding a cat exercise wheel if you have a very energetic cat. 


Step 5: Allow Controlled Outdoor Access

If you have the time, you can always let your cat enjoy the best of both worlds by taking them on walks on a leash. Of course, it’s a good idea to start this early to create a habit and it may not be possible with older cats who aren’t used to wearing collars or harnesses. 

Another option, if you have the funds and the space, is to build them a catio.  It is exactly what it sounds like. A cat patio! This is an outdoor enclosure for a cat that lets in all the elements of the outside world and none of the dangers. These can be built to provide direct access from inside the home or separate from your actual home. The most amazing ones include everything from grass, plants, and trees, to the usual additions such as tunnels, cat towers, scratching posts etc. A quick Google or Pinterest search will show you that the sky, aka your budget, is the limit. 

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