Most all pet owners love their fur-babies to death. I know that I do! My cats are my world and I’m always striving to make sure they’re happy and well taken care of. I’d rather go without than see my kitties go without.
However, sometimes even the simplest things can have the biggest impact on your cat’s well being and you don’t even realize it! Here are six things my fiancée and I discovered that make our cats miserable and are thus avoided like the plague:
- Not spending enough play-time together.
- This one seems pretty obvious. Cats need to be played with. They need attention, just like any other pet. Many people think that because cats are (mostly) self-sufficient they can entertain themselves. While there’s a small grain of truth in that statement realistically cat’s DO need entertainment from us. They get bored and want to play! They will be happier if you spend time playing with them every single day, whether it’s chasing a string, a feather, or some other toy, plan to give your cat’s the daily attention they crave.
- Not changing the litter box enough.
- How would you like to step into a box filled with your own waste every day and have to add to the pile? It doesn’t sound very appealing to us and you can bet your cat feels the same way. Having a litter box that’s cleaned daily, or at least every other day, ensures that your little loves are not having to step in their own feces to relieve themselves. They’ll be much more satisfied using “clean facilities” much like their human counterparts. My cats have learned to sit by the litter box and meow at me if too long has gone by (and let’s be honest, we all know life is crazy, but I try to never, ever compromise my kitty’s well-being because I’m busy).
- Picking up your cat against their will.
- Cat’s are finicky beings. Most cats have an ‘on-my-terms’ attitude towards pretty much everything, including when they want to be picked up, snuggled, or cuddled. When you pick up a cat that clearly wants nothing more than to be left alone you’re sending them into a nervous, fearful state. They don’t understand that you want to hug them, they just know that they are uncomfortable and unhappy being hoisted up into the air against their wishes. Do your cat a favor and let them hop up into your lap on their own terms and I promise your bond will only deepen.
- Introducing new animals too quickly.
- We learned this the hard way when we brought our younger kitty Aslan home last Thanksgiving weekend. He was barely 3 months old and rescued from the local animal shelter through an unexpected turn of events. I put him and our older girl Ganja into the kitchen together immediately, face to face. She was hissing instantly and ran off yowling, while he began running around, interested in exploring everything in sight. She held a grudge for weeks and wouldn’t even let us pet her to show her displeasure. While there’s no tried and true method to introducing new animals together since all animals have different personalities it’s a good idea to learn specifically about your own cat’s habits. Our girl had been living alone for many months and our previous roommate’s cat did not get along with her. I should have taken this into consideration and kept the two cats separated in the beginning, introducing the new kitten’s scent first, perhaps by using his blanket, to get Ganja used to the idea of having another feline in the house before forcing them to meet each other.
- Locking them out of the bathroom, or bedroom…
- Or basically keeping them out of any room that you’re currently in. While many cats like to hide away during the days they also like to have access to you when you’re in the house. Right now it’s early afternoon and my girl Ganja is laying right next to me on the couch, purring happily as I write. She likes to be in the same vicinity as me. Same with Aslan. When we go to use the bathroom or take showers they’re right there at the door scratching for us to let them in. They cry in protest if we don’t! Your cat loves you. You are their whole world. They don’t have a job or other friends to keep them busy. They want to be where you are and keeping them out of rooms that you’re in can make them feel sad and unloved. Sometimes you have to keep a cat out of a specific room because of a project or an allergy or another reason, but do your best to let your cats follow you around the house as they please. I mean, it’s not THAT awkward having a cat stare you down while you pee, is it?
- Loud arguments.
- Our cats are a lot like children to us. We feed them, cuddle them, play with them, talk to them, and otherwise do anything we can to make them feel happy and secure. So what happens when we have a disagreement and the fight get’s heated? Our cats get upset! While we rarely (and I mean rarely) have loud, heated disagreements anymore some of our past fights have sent our cats running for the hills. They don’t like to see mom and dad (or mom and mom, etc) scream at each other any more than a child would. The loud noises make them scared. The angry energy makes them feel unsafe. A loud argument will make your cat unhappy. If you have a disagreement do your best to keep your voices cool and calm so as not to upset your little loves. This is also just practical advice to follow when having a fight with your partner (and yes, if you live together you’ll have fights).
We strive to make sure our cats feel loved, appreciated and happy every single day of our lives. There’s nothing more satisfying then having your kitty give you head bumps and kitty kisses to show their love and affection. The more that you learn about your cats specific needs the easier it will be to keep your companions happy.
After all, isn’t it the goal of any cat parent to have their fur-babies look like this?
As always –
Yours For Happy Writing,
P.S. Please feel free to share your own cat-happiness-killers in the comments below. I’d love to read about what you’ve learned on your cat journey!