Meeting the Needs of Your Cats

What Do Cats Need?

In mid April I had the pleasure of traveling to Atlanta to attend a two day conference of the Cat Division of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC).  Presenters provided information on a wide range of topics including cat nutrition, successful dog – cat interactions, handling aggressive cats, social organization and communication in the cat, compulsive grooming issues, understanding medications veterinarians prescribe and using humane handling and behavior therapy to reduce stress among cats in shelters. In a nutshell, attendees learned about meeting the needs of your cats.

Nibbles

Nibbles

Steve Dale, who delivered the keynote address reminded us that there are more cats in US households than dogs, yet their needs are often overlooked. More cats are given up to shelters than dogs, yet fewer are adopted from the shelters. The most often cited reason for giving up a cat is behavior issues including litter box issues and negative behavior between the cats in a household.

For a long time we humans have believed that cats are independent and non social.  This is just not true. We need to learn to watch for the more subtle cues cats give off when they want to interact and just how they interact.  It’s important for cats of all ages to have toys to play with and to have your home arranged in a welcoming manner for cats.  No, you don’t have to do over your entire home, but consider putting a cat tower in a room, a couple of scratching posts near the furniture you want to protect and some tunnel like areas for your cat to use to satisfy his hunting instinct.

Cat Scratching Post

Cat Scratching Post

When was the last time you took your cat to the vet? Feeling a little uncomfortable with that question?  If you are among the very many cat owners who dread the thoughts of taking your cat to the vet, start thinking like a cat. Instead of only bringing out her carrier when you are going to the vet, leave it out and open so it becomes a part of her every day life. If your cat likes treats, toss a few in the carrier from time to time.  If your cat is stimulated by catnip, place a catnip infused toy inside his carrier.  A trip to the vet will be much easier if you and your cat are not traumatized by the actions necessary to just get in the car.

You might also want to consider using a veterinarian who specializes in the care of cats. If you don’t have a nearby cat specialist, consider using a vet that has a separate entrance and waiting area for cats. All of these steps can ease the stress on you and your cat and go a long way in meeting the needs of your cats.

Curious Cat

Curious Cat

Professionals Who are Interested in Meeting the Needs of Your Cats

Neither Billy nor I have ever lived with a cat, so admittedly we had a great deal to learn when we opened our pet sitting business.  That is the main reason I attended the cat behavior conference  last April.  As we have cared for cats, I have grown increasingly fond of them and have learned a great deal about their needs.  It was time to expand my education and I thoroughly enjoyed doing so.  In addition to continuing education I enjoyed the company of 4 other pet sitters that I regularly “talk with” on line.  We were all interested in learning as much as we can.  These pet sitters know and understand cats and in Rita Reimers’ case, specialize in providing care only for cats.

Rita is also known as The Cat Analyst  and offers cat behavior consultations so look her up if you are experiencing behavior issues with your cat.

Want to Know More about Meeting the Needs of Your Cats?

The IABBC posts a blog that many of you may find helpful.

We also recommend the related articles referenced below.  Happy cat reading!

More from my site

About Beth Harwell

Beth Leatherman Harwell and her husband, Billy Harwell own and operate a local pet sitting business, Dog Walkers & More at Coddle Creek, LLC. Beth and Billy take care of your dogs, cats, birds, fish and small caged pets in the comfort of your own home. Services are provided in Mooresville, Davidson, Cornelius and Mt. Ulla, NC.
Beth is a retired clinical social worker turned business owner. She blogs about pet care needs and the human animal bond.
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Comments

  1. Thanks for going over what I need to know to meet my cat’s needs. I’m adopting a cat in a couple of weeks, so I feel like I should be prepared with what he would need before I take him home. Having treats available for her seems like a must to help her feel more comfortable with her environment. That’s a great tip for the occasional visit to the vet. I can imagine that my new cat would feel nervous about going to the vet for the first few times, so I’ll make sure to have treats available to keep him calm, and to use for rewarding good behavior.

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