Tag Archives: catnip

Can You Help Your Cat Become More Affectionate?


When we think of cats, we imagine soft fur, cuddly rubs and gentle purring sounds. However many cats do not seek out this affection and remain aloof. Some of this is personality, upbringing or breed. In order to optimize the possibility of obtaining that loving interaction from our feline pets, there are several things cat owners can do.

First be sure your cat can depend on you to be her provider of nutritious food, fresh water, a clean litter box and fun toys to engage her. A happy cat will be more open to your attention and affection.

Next you need to spend quality time with your cat. Giving her attention, such as talking to her in a loving way and stroking her fur may lead to her coming to you more often for it. If you do this while you are preparing her food, she will associate this with the positive experience of being fed and cared for. Also, when sharing affection at other times, give your pet a treat. Again this will help your cat associate affectionate behavior with a rewarding experience.

Play with your cat often. Cats prefer to chase than be chased. Dangle a string behind you as you walk so your cat will follow you. Play laser tag with a pointer, but be sure not to shine it in your pet’s eyes. Bat a catnip filled ball back and forth. A little catnip can often help a reluctant cat become more engaged and affectionate towards you.

You can purchase a cat bed or have a special cushion or blanket for your cat. “Mark” the area with your scent by rubbing the bedding on yourself. Your pet will pair your scent with the comfy feeling she gets when she cozies up in her special resting area.

Cats enjoy gentle petting around their cheeks, under their chin, in front of and behind their ears and on their backs. You can often tell if this is giving your cat pleasure when she curls the end of her tail. A straight tail or ears back usually means the cat is not enjoying what you are doing to her. Always put yourself at the cat’s level. Bring your hand in from the side of your cat and work your way up so as not to startle her.

Although your cat may still spend much of her day off to herself, you will be rewarded with more affection and purrs if you keep these simple strategies in mind.

Fat Cat or Cool Cat?

We can all relate to the fat cat named Garfield.  Garfield eats whenever and whatever he can, especially lasagna. We chuckle at his many attempts to shovel food into his capable of becoming enormous jaws.  But being a fat cat is not a cool way to be.

Chubbiness or excess fat on a cat can be a serious health risk. When you look at your cat and cannot make out a visible waist or  can’t feel his ribs when you stroke his sides, chances are your cat is overweight. Cats, by their nature, spend a good part of their day laying around on a soft bed; be it the couch, your bed or a comfy pillow.  This typical lifestyle can lend itself to feline obesity.  In the United States, over 50% of all cats are overweight.  Just as with humans, excess weight can lead to bone and joint problems, diabetes, lung, heart and kidney diseases, among others.  Cats whose diets are too high in sugar store this sugar in their bodies and organs, which creates health problems.  It is important to have your cat examined by a veterinarian if you suspect he has become overweight.

So what do you do when your cat has put on too many pounds? As humans we might hit the treadmill or lift some weights.  Cats are not likely to perform such activities and look to you for their regular exercise.  A cat needs to be engaged in regular activities several times a day. Chasing a laser beam light around the room is a great way to get your cat active.  Dangling a toy on a string or just the string itself dragged behind you will have your cat chasing and pouncing those pounds away.  Provide your cat with a climbing tree which can be sprinkled at the top with catnip.  Scratching posts will allow your cat to stretch and strengthen his arm muscles.  There are many cat towers that have dangling toys and scratching posts to engage your cat and accomplish more than one type of exercise.

The average  10 pound cat needs only about 200 calories per day.  It is key that you choose the right food.  If there is too much sugar in the dry product, cats may become addicted to it.  They may lay around all day waiting for their next sugar fix.  Canned food is higher in protein with small amounts of fat and less carbs.   It has more water in it which is important for a cat’s urinary tract.  For cats who are overweight, 1/4 of a 5.5 ounce can two times per day is usually enough.  The higher level of meat or fish protein in canned food will satiate a cat better than a grain-rich, higher carb dry food. This will result in less begging for food.  You can keep feeding the lesser amount of food until your cat is at its desired weight. Adding a little more canned food or some dry food will help your cat maintain his desired weight.

If your cat only eats dry food, look for one that is labeled “light” or for “less active cats” if your cat is packing on too many pounds.  These tend to be lower in carbohydrates. Remember that dry foods contain only 10% water so be sure your pet gets plenty of water throughout the day.  Often cats have a low thirst drive and cannot make up his water needs with dry food.  Try to slowly introduce some canned food to your finicky dry food lover.  Dry foods tend to be calorie dense so watch those portion sizes.

As your cat loses weight, he will likely become more active and achieve his weight goal more quickly.  The end result will be a happier, healthier and livelier pet.  Isn’t that what we cat lovers want after all?

Cat Condos and Tree Houses

Cats can be bored when kept indoors all day long. Providing them with toys, places to climb, scratch and play are good solutions. Cats need adventure to keep them happy and curb behavior issues such as chewing up your favorite leather purse or belt. Cat condos and tree houses can provide a cat with hours of fun scratching, climbing and resting off of the floor or furniture. Cats feel safer from “predators” at extreme heights and feel they have more control over their “prey” or that catnip mouse on the floor. If you loathe to see your cat on the kitchen counter or top of your refrigerator, then a cat condo or tree house may be very helpful.

Cat condos are multi-leveled and are usually covered in carpet material over plywood. They have places to hide, perch, and when placed by a window, allow them to watch the birds and squirrels outside. They are relatively affordable and come in many shapes and sizes. The act of climbing not only keeps your cat toned but also tires him out in a good and entertaining way. It helps your cat stay lean and his joints flexible. However, some people are not too thrilled with the way carpet covered condos look in their main living space.

Cat tree houses are a good alternative for the person who wants a more natural looking piece of decor. They are made with real trees and have green leaves made of silk that truly resemble a house plant. They simulate the outdoors as well as provide the vertical scratching surface for cats so they can stretch as they claw. They allow your cat to engage in his natural feline instincts. Some have varying perches made of wood and the leaves allow your cat to hide.

Cat condos and tree houses can range from under a hundred dollars to as much as fifteen hundred dollars or more for the realistic tree-like house. The nice thing about these portable play places is that you can change locations in your house if you find that your cat is not using them. Cats love to be up high on a perch and, as mentioned, near a window can be very entertaining as he gazes out onto the world.

Whatever type of condo or tree house you purchase, it is very important to have a secure and solid base. Cats like to leap up and latch onto the carpet or other material so sturdiness is essential to their safety. Bolting to a piece of furniture is another way to keep it from tipping over. Which ever one you choose, know that your cat will be happy and entertained and will save your furniture!