There aren’t many folks out there who don’t want to be happy and healthy! And, not surprisingly, we want exactly the same for our cats too. In this three-part series, we’re going to look at some of the key ingredients for keeping a cat healthy and happy.
Cats’ needs change a great deal over their lives, so we’re going to get all granular, and focus on three distinct chapters of your toe-beaned troubadour’s life: kitten-hood, adult-life, and senior age.
Since this is Part One, let’s talk kitten! Here are three things you can do to set your kitten up for a happy and healthy life.
Build the Right Relationship
Look we’re just going to come out and say it. Kittens can be a lot of work. For something so tiny and fluffy, a kitten can get itself into a surprising amount of trouble. Sometimes that trouble is entirely innocent and endearing, but certain mishaps aren’t quite so trivial.
Being a sensible human in this relationship can be a challenge! One the one hand, the last thing you’ll likely want to do is to quell that mischievous spirit. On the other hand, as a doting cat parent, it falls to you teach your new kitten boundaries.
How to do that? Well, first up, it’s important to realize though that cats don’t respond well to harsh treatment and physical discipline. In fact, all physical punishment generally does is weaken your bond and cause your cat to withdraw into itself. Not good!
It’s far better to positively reinforce good behavior with treats and attention, gently steering your kitten away from activities or places it should avoid.
Language is a powerful tool here.
Aim to build a consistent language, paying special attention to an abrupt (but not scary) sound of warning as well as a sound of approval. Trust me. They’ll learn fast! All pets are unique. Your cat’s kitten years is a special time for finding your own special cat-human bond.
Start Your Kitten’s Nutrition Right
When it comes to kitten nutrition, aim for variety. Make sure you give your wide-eyed flufferpumpkin plenty of water and a nice broad diet of lean proteins. Now is your golden opportunity to broaden their pallet and keep them guessing, while at the same time learning their favorites.
Oh, and don’t neglect treats!
Of course, treat foods are made for use in moderation, but the occasional “special” food will bring delight to a kitten’s young and innocent life. How can that be a bad thing?
Don’t go overboard, and make sure all the humans in your house keep each other informed about treat times. Otherwise, you may be doubling up! Speaking from hard-won experience, I can guarantee your kitten certainly won’t tell you if that’s happening.
You might also like to consider supplements to make sure your bouncy scritcher is getting all the right vitamins and minerals.
Try Scruffy Paws’ UT Wellness Chews to support your kit’s urinary and general health. One big bonus: Most cats love this stuff! It’s got just the right chew to keep them busy, and just the right meaty deliciousness to have your typical cat mewling hungrily the moment they hear the bag rustle.
(Take a look at the UT Wellness Chews here)
Socialize Your Cat Tribe
This one is especially important if you have cats at different stages of life. Kittens tend to demand a lot from adult cats, and if other cats in your house are a bit long-in-the-fang, that youthful energy may be a bit overwhelming.
Take your time bringing your cats together. It may be necessary to keep your tribe separate for a while, slowly getting your tribe used to one another’s scents.
The Humane Society offers this fantastic guide to cat socialization. Getting yourself familiar with these strategies early on may save you a lot of difficulties further down the line.
Those all-too-short kitten and adolescent years are so precious. Have fun! Take lots of pictures, and always strive to find an extra few seconds to amaze your special new family member with a brand new game or experience.
They’ll love you for it.
In Part Two, we’ll turn our gaze to an adult cat’s happiness. See you there!