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New Year, New You, But What About the Cat?

We all know that in the New Year we generally decide to look at our diet and lifestyle and make resolutions to make changes. To eat better, to exercise more to name but a few. That’s ok for us – if we break them, we only let ourselves down as we are the masters of our own destiny. But what about our feline friends?
 
They don’t have as much control over their environment. When was the last time you looked at your cat and decided that he/she needed some help with resolutions? Here are some ways you can support your feline as we start, not just a new year but a new decade. Read on to learn more about each suggestion:

1. Weight check

The ‘ideal’ weight of a cat is subject to certain considerations i.e. their age, breed and any medical condition. There are general guidelines that you can look at but as always make an informed decision (If you have any doubt or need to seek clarification ask your vet for support). When we look at the weight of a cat, we assess their fat reserves using a body condition score system. I’ve included the body and muscle condition score chart from International Cat Care. Take a few minutes to look at your cat and see if he/she is in the ‘normal’ range (I really don’t like using the word normal!) Seriously though, if you think your cat is looking a little under or overweight please book an appointment with your vet to review.

Naturally Cats does not advocate changing anything in your cats diet without consultation with your veterinary practitioner.

2. Enrichment activities

What do you do for your cat to bring the outside indoors? It doesn’t matter if your furry friend is an indoor or outdoor cat. Its good practice to make sure that you provide enrichment for your cat – what does enrichment mean I hear you ask! Well that is another blog post in itself but in essence its making sure that your cat has something to stimulate him, mentally or physically.

This could be something like a natural log as a scratching post (and no I’m not suggesting you bring half a tree into your home!) Different levels in the house i.e. shelves on the walls around his/her favourite room so they can explore at a different level. One of the most common ways to provide enrichment is to bring the outdoors indoors in the form of growing cat grass or putting down a herb garden for your cat to enjoy. More on herb gardens in another blog. Here is a picture of Leo enjoying some cat grass we grew for him as he isn’t allowed outside yet.

3. Play dates

Now I’m not suggesting you ask your best friend to bring over her cat for a play date – Oh my can you imagine the stress and carnage! No, what I am suggesting here is that you take some time out to play with your cat, or if you regularly do this perhaps its time to add some new games to your playtime. Cats (indoor and outdoor) need constant mental stimulation to reduce the chance of stress related behaviours such as overgrooming.

There are so many games you can play with your furry friends, I even got a book called 101 games to play with your cat for Christmas a few years ago! Look peeps, you don’t need to invent an agility type course (but if you feel like doing so please send me pics on social media as you may inspire others!) For those of us a little less creative you can rotate your cats toys, alternate where you have your playtime. Mix up using balls, toys and wand type toys. Each of these types of toys use different parts of the cats brain keeping him/her mentally stimulated. Also play time a great bonding activity between you and your furry.

4. Review their diet

Have you been giving your cat snippets form your plate? Are they eating the same food they have done for the last few years? Do you want to try something new with them? Firstly, as mentioned above don’t make any significant changes without consultation with your vet. Secondly when making any changes to your cats’ diet, they should be very small and slow incremental changes. Imagine if you went from being a meat eater to plant based overnight – bit of a shock I imagine!

I will be doing a small blog series on feline diets later in the year. For now, I would say perhaps look to improve one element of your cats’ diet – treats. We all have them, we all love them, and cats are no different! I’m not sure if you are aware but most cat treats are coated with sugars, flavourings and additives to make them palatable for cats. Consider giving your cat a more species appropriate diet – freeze dried meat treats. We give Leo freeze dried fish and meat snacks.

Well that’s all I’ll say for this first blog – I’ve got heaps more to share with you but I’m trying not to overload you all with my crazy cat brain! As always if you have anything in particular you want to see a blog about please get in touch – Social Media details are all below or feel fee to email me back. I’d love to hear from you.

Best wishes, with love

Julie-Anne x

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