Cats are fascinating creatures. They have an air about them, often times a mysterious one. And while cats can be quite independent, they also depend on us for quality care and a safe home. Contrary to popular belief, they are far from a low maintenance, “get it and forget it” pet.
Food, water and litter have long been universal pieces in caring for cats. Now, there’s a new way to think about the health of your cat and what it means to be a responsible owner.
Life with your cat is really a series of smaller routines throughout the day. The times you cross paths with each other may be predictable or unexpected. However, each interaction affords you the opportunity to check in, both on the health of your cat as well as to get feedback from your cat about how you’re doing. Collectively, these routines create the relationship you share.
Here are some examples of opportunities for relationship building through routines:
PROVIDING FOOD & WATER
Do you serve kibble and let your cat forage throughout the day? D0 you feed wet food religiously or merely as the occasional indulgence? Do you have a cat fountain available or do you replenish a water dish with regularity?
The types of food, sources of water, times of day and locations within your home all play a role in the feeding routine you share.
While many of your decisions may revolve around your schedule on a typical day, there likely will be some give and take as your cat expresses its own preferences and desires. For instance, you may get a nudge from your cat when you’re in the kitchen, or hear a meow in the vicinity of where you store the food. These little behaviors are what make a basic routine into a meaningful ritual.
Around the litter box, good habits beget good habits. So your discipline with your cleaning schedule can have an impact on your cat’s use of the litter box. Another benefit of this regular maintenance? It helps you keep tabs on output. Too much or too little waste can be a sign your cat isn’t feeling his or her best.
This routine is part health and part social. If you stay on top of grooming, you can do much more than keep your cat looking its best, you can also help keep your cat feeling it’s best, too. Spending a little time attending to these tasks can help avoid potential problems as well as provide some extra togetherness time.
To dig deeper into this topic, check out Build a Smart Grooming Routine with Your Cat.
EXERCISE AND PLAY
Whether you provide diversions that allow your cat to play solo, or book time throughout the week to play together, these sessions are really important to your cat’s overall well-being. The physical activity helps maintain muscle tone, alleviate stress and burn off excess energy – not to mention receive a good dose of mental stimulation - all of which are vital for long-term health and vitality.
The best part of playing together with your cat? You get to share a positive experience together. This can lift spirits and that’s good for both of you. When your cat is in good spirits, it’s less likely to exhibit less desirable behaviors.
Get some great ideas on the topic from the Solo Play and Playing Together Activities in the Purina ONE Cat Journal.
It’s the purring you hear while petting your cat. Or that little nestle while watching TV together. The time you spend in each other’s presence says a lot about the bond your share. But if you also think of these moments as check-ins, each affords you another opportunity to take inventory of your cat’s health and get feedback on how you’re doing as an owner.
On the flip side, there will be plenty of time throughout the day when your cat is doing his or her thing. It may be spent getting a little down time on a favorite perch, in a secluded hideout or solo play. It’s perfectly natural for your cat to spend stretches of time apart from you. And observing your cat’s personal routines is a part of your bigger routine of providing responsible care.
LEARNING AND GROWING
As you can see, there are many facets to life with your cat. In the coming days, try paying closer attention to your interactions. What types of feedback are you getting from your cat that says you’re doing a good job? See what patterns emerge, be it timing around specific events like when you get up in the morning and when you arrive home. And ask yourself if there are opportunities to make small adjustments that can lead to an even stronger relationship.
Keep checking back to PurinaONE.com as we dig deeper into these routines and what they can mean to your relationship with your cat.
Want to build your skills as a cat owner? Try the Activities in the Purina ONE® Cat Journal to learn ways you can evolve the routines you share with your cat.
Do you have an interesting routine with your cat? Share your story with Purina ONE Cats community on Facebook, a community of devoted cat owners like you.