In this blog we talk about what you need to help your cat thrive and live a purrrfect life.
I’m sure at some point in your life you’ve seen ‘the 5 pillars to wellness’ or something similar. Life coaches, mindfulness and meditation are seriously becoming all the rage recently. As our day to day lives get more hectic, we need help to remind us to pause, catch our breath and connect with our inner knowing.
But what about our beloved fur babies? No-one is talking about their needs from a holistic perspective.
Now you know that I can talk about resources all day long, heck I can talk about anything cat related all day long! But what I wanted to share with you today is my wellness plan for our cats.
We’ve called it ‘The four paws to purrfection’ – and when I say we obviously I mean me and Leo. I’m not very creative (I’m too organised and linear in my thinking!) So, when I’m trying to create something to support our cats and give them a voice, I need help – cue my little fur baby Leo.
We will be posting about the 4 paws in the coming weeks so you’re getting a sneak preview here.
Paw 1 – Mental health
Mental health definition according to Wikipedia:
Mental health, defined by the World Health Organization, is “a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community”
Now think about this in terms of our cats. We need to provide for their mental health needs so they can exhibit normal cat behaviours which enable them to cope with the normal stresses of life.
Ok so cats might not work productively or fruitfully but if they don’t have appropriate mental stimulation, they can exhibit anxious behaviours such as overgrooming, excessive scratching, inappropriate toileting and more.
Mental health is linked to resources, it’s about the cat having freedom in its environment (inside or outside) to do what it needs to. To look at the birds or go and eat some grass. To run, chase and play. To sleep without disruption or interference.
Human mental health is about knowing when we need to change – our work habit, our day-to-day activities etc. Take a break, take time out, get help. This all relates to our cats as well. We need to understand what each cat needs in order to have stable mental health.
Paw 2 – Physical health
Mental health definition according to Wikipedia:
Now you may think that this one is obvious – but bear with me. Let’s look at it in a little more detail. Having mice, fish butterflies (the toy kind obvs!) scattered around your house does not mean that you are providing for your cats’ physical needs. They need our help to play.
Play activity is good for cats on sooo many levels.
- Weight control
- Physical condition
- Bonding exercise
- Creates routine
- Mental stimulation (see how this paw is connected to the previous?!)
We NEED to ensure that we are finding or making time to play with our cats. Yes, even those of you that have an outdoor cat.
And let me clarify here … play isn’t watching TV swinging a wand toy from side to side (I’ve been guilty of this one ☹) It means knowing which type of toy your cat is in the mod for. Sometimes Leo will go crazy for a pom pom on the end of a wand toy, other times he wants a little fish thing we have. Just like humans, it depends what type of mood he is in.
Can you try….to set aside 15 minutes a day (minimum) to have interactive play time with your cat? To watch their butt wiggle and the ears go flat. To see them go sideways and puff up like a Halloween cat, yes Leo I’m thinking of you buddy!
Paw 3 – Emotional wellbeing
Now this is where my woo woo side is starting to come in…or is it?! You all know that I believe cats are emotional, sentient beings. And I hope you do too. They aren’t ‘just a cat’. And if you believe that boy are you reading the wrong type of blog!
For me, cats have emotional needs (again) just like humans. When we feel crappy, we need a hug. When we are angry, we lash out. I’m a fire sign so my temper will flare and then quite quickly settle again as I start to problem solve or resolve the situation.
Cats are no different.
Yep, I’m writing it again…cats are no different.
The more clients I work with the more I am sure than ever before that every single cat is unique. The cats I’m working with at the moment: one isn’t fussed about being outside, the other is getting grumpy and being aggressive because he can’t be outside all the time.
I’ve got one cat who doesn’t want any physical touch from their human and another who will sleep on the chest of their human.
How can we support their emotional needs I hear you ask!? By reading them. By taking the time to get to know each of our cats as an individual. Do you have a diva cat? A shy cat? An anxious cat? A chilled cat? A timid cat? An ‘in your face’ cat?
Each of these cats will need different things from us to support their emotional state.
Less physical touch, more physical touch. High levels, places to hide. Centre of attention, hardly any attention on them. And the list goes on.
So you see, in order to provide for their emotional wellbeing we need to know what they need from us to support them. And yes, it might be additional resources, it might be more mental stimulation…see where I’m going with this. This paw is connected to the previous paw.
The hip bones connected to the thigh bone…sorry word association for a moment there!
Paw 4 – Spiritual connection
And finally, the full on woo woo paw.
What comes to mind for you when you read the words ‘spiritual connection’?
For some people that will be zombies from the depths, for others it might bring forward an image of their cat in spirit.
For me – this is the best paw of all.
This is the one where it doesn’t matter that I am a human being and Leo is a cat being. We are all sentient, we are all energy, we are all connected.
I think this is the most important paw of all, it’s the paw that connects all the others. What use is good physical health if we don’t have any connections with others?
If you are uncomfortable with the word spiritual, take it out. Simply look at this paw as connection. If cats don’t have connections with others they will wither. In humans, loneliness is such a problem. This is the same for cats! If cats don’t have interactions with other beings it will affect their mental and emotional wellbeing. Cats (like humans) need to be acknowledged, need to be heard and need to be seen.
And there we have it…an overview of the 4 paws to purrfection. If you meet all of these needs for your cat, they will be well on their way to purrfect happiness.
Let me know if you need help with any of these paws for your cat.
Do you want to connect on a deeper level with your cat?
Do you want to ‘catify’ your home even more?
If so, check out the Naturally Cats services to see how we can help you.
And finally, just before you go, if you have a friend, family member or co-worker who you think would enjoy being part of the Naturally Cats community please share this page with them or tag them on social media so we can connect.
The more we stand together and speak up the more we can continue the mission of #givingcatsavoice
Until next time,
Julie-Anne and Leo xx
All Blogs by Julie-Anne Thorne
In this blog we’ll look at how you can help your cat. It’s not about litter trays, it’s about looking within. It’s about helping you to see that you always have a choice in how you show up for your cat. Let’s look at how your energy affects them both mentally and physically, and why you may need a time out!