The end of February is here, which means we’re also near the end of our great Canadian winter! But that doesn’t mean the warmer weather is upon us quite yet! Personally I’ve been in hibernation mode with all these record breaking cold temps and the cats have been happy to join me in staying all snuggly and warm.
We love to make the most of our time together – they cuddle up to me while I work and make things so much more fun. Whether they’re a long-standing family member or recently adopted, your cat may need some extra love and care this time of year too– and what better time than in the season of love?
Sadly, according to the Ontario SPCA, nearly one-fifth of cats were returned to shelters in Ontario in 2013, post-holiday. The top three reasons included cats conflicting with other pets in the home, allergic reactions, or facing behavioural problems, including litter box issues. I really like how our local Animal Control tries to head off some of these potential issues. They have a little room where you meet with the cat you’re going to potentially adopt and spend time with them to make sure it’s a good fit. Then, if you have other pets, you bring them in and they all get a chance to meet and see if they’re going to get along before you take the cat home and THEN find out it’s not going to work out.
Treat their tummies: Make sure your cats maintain a healthy and balanced diet. This may require consulting your veterinarian. Just like humans, cats have different nutritional needs depending on their age and health. Otherwise, stick to quality food and fresh, clean water. Despite popular belief, milk shouldn’t be their main source of hydration and may actually cause stomach discomfort. All of our cats are on different foods because each is unique and each has different health conditions.
Set the stage: Just like we want to curl up during the cold winter, so do our cats! That’s why it’s important to make sure your cats are comfortable. Cats are naturally very clean so an untidy litter box won’t do. Try Arm & Hammer™ Clump & Seal™ Complete Odour Sealing Cat Litter, the only litter that forms a tight seal around their mess and destroys it with unique odour eliminators and Arm & Hammer™ Baking Soda. Let me tell you – I didn’t think there was ANYTHING that would work to keep the odour from our cats’ litter boxes from permeating our whole house BUT Arm & Hammer™ Clump & Seal™ Complete Odour Sealing Cat Litter REALLY REALLY WORKS!
Also, place litter boxes far from food areas and use the North and South, East and West rule. Putting food and litter at opposite ends of your home encourages proper practices. Do you know how many litter boxes you need to have? The basic rule is one per cat and then one extra. So, we currently have two cats and three litter boxes.
Toy with trinkets: Cats are incredibly curious about their surroundings. They’ll pounce on anything that moves, rolls or sways. Pair a scratching post with a ball of string, a feather teaser stick, or even a stuffed mouse – any of these will do the trick! Just be sure the items you bring are safe for your cat and cannot be swallowed or easily torn apart. I currently have a fishing pole toy that is hanging down from my desk so that the cats can play and still be near me like they want to be while I’m working in my office. I have baskets of toys in several rooms around the house so that there’s something nearby at all times for them to play with. One of our cats is getting older (and fatter) and we’re trying to encourage her to stay active!
For more tips and information on taking care of your pets, visit OntarioSPCA.ca.