1) Keep it Lean - Did you know that almost 60% of the cats in America are obese? Being overweight is very dangerous for your cat. Obesity can cause diabetes, joint pain, and skin disease. We all love our cats, but we need to stop loving them through food. I recommend that you measure out your cat's daily food. If your cat is eating dry food only, it likely needs about ½ cup per day. You can discuss this with your vet. Stay away from the “all day buffet.” Feeding small portions of food many times during the day is better than putting it all out at once. In the wild cats would be hunting for food up to 20 times a day. Even better yet would be to find a way to have your cat hunt for their food in the house.
2) Love your cat through active play - Every cat is different, but they all need active play. I recommend that you play with your cat for at least 5 minutes every day. Find out what your cat likes to play. It may take some trial and error. You can try fishing pole toys, balls, even crumpled up paper! I also suggest that you put the toys away at the end of the session; it keeps those toys special for the two of you.
3) Make your annual appointment to see the vet - Yes, even if your cat never goes outside. Your vet will check their heart, lungs, teeth and abdomen. Cats are very good at hiding problems and don't easily show they are in pain. Please, don't wait until your cat is sick to seek care. Every cat, indoor and out, should see the vet once a year.
4) Make friends with your cat carrier - If your cat only associates the cat carrier with traumatic events, it makes getting them inside on travel day a trauma of its own. The panic starts as soon as that carrier gets dragged out of the basement/closet/from under the bed. Instead, find a place to leave the carrier out in the open all of the time. Put a cozy bed inside so your cat to snuggle up and rest. Feed treats in the carrier. When your cat sees the carrier as a friendly place full of rewards and comfort, travel day starts with peace and love...not panic and scratched hands.
5) Remember those cats that are less fortunate than your own - Take a trip through the laundry room to find the blankets and towels that are too tired for home use. Pack them up and donate them to your local animal shelter. While you are at it, send along some spare change as well. The good folks at the shelters are making do with very limited resources all of the time. Every little bit helps.
I wish you and your cats a wonderful 2016!
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