10 ways to show your cat you love her
February 11, 2009 1 Comment
It’s Valentine’s Day and love is in the air. For most cat lovers, “I love you” is a regular part of daily interaction. A survey by the American Animal Hospital Association found that 63 percent of pet owners say “I love you” to their pet at least once a day and 79 percent say it once a week.
What is it we love about cats? The most obvious reason is their appearance: large luminous eyes dominating a sweet face and soft fur that begs stroking.However, most cat lovers say it goes deeper.
Carol Andrecs is president of Forgotten Felines, a cats-only shelter based in Westbrook. She has spent more than 10 years rescuing, fostering and placing homeless cats. She offers up a whole list of reasons why she loves cats:
“They give me unconditional love,” she says. “They are happy and satisfied with even just a little attention. They are always happy to see you. They let me cuddle them. They entertain me like no one else can.
“I am happiest when I am with cats,” Andrecs adds. “They help me de-stress and relax. I am happy when I can make a cat happy.”
Jean Hofve is a Colorado-based holistic veterinarian specializing in cats. She says she loves cats because they love you back.
“They show a side of ourselves we might not know otherwise,” she says. “We don’t have that opportunity to express that love – it’s timeless.
“They make me a better person,” she adds.
Rod Meehan, a writer from Branford, has always been a cat person. He is enjoying getting to know Cellot after sharing his life with another feline for some 18 years.
“It’s like finding a whole other finger of God…another consciousness,” he says.
So while celebrating the spiritual connection we have with our cats, here are some ways to demonstrate our love and enhance their well-being.
1. Create a snug winter retreat in a sunny windowsill. Add a heated pad or bed if your kitty is older or arthritic and make sure there is easy access.
2. Spend some time playing with your cats. While it’s all well and good to snuggle on the couch, play helps keep off the pounds and adds the mental stimulation that cats need.
3. Talk to her and use her name. She may not know exactly what you’re saying, but she can tell by the tone of your voice that you are interacting with her in a special way.
4. Set aside a “spa” hour. Indulge her in a kitty massage, by stroking her all over, checking for anything unusual, lumps or bumps or sensitive spots. Press your fingertips gently into the slight indentations along her spine. Use a waterless shampoo if her fur needs freshening; bathing cats is an art form and this probably isn’t the time to do it for the first time. Comb or brush her thoroughly – even short-haired cats benefit from grooming. “The Furminator” (www.furminator.com, also at Petco) is rather expensive, but it gets out a lot of that loose undercoat. If it doesn’t spoil the mood, finish off by clipping her nails. Since we want this to be a relaxing experience, you may want to save that for another time if it stresses her out. Top off the pampering with a special meal or treat.
5. If you haven’t done it in a while, scrub out her litter box or treat her to a new one. Try one of the eco-friendly litters, such as World’s Best, Feline Pine or Yesterday’s News, but mix the old with the new to prevent avoidance issues.
6. While a trip to the veterinarian may not be the most pleasant of experiences, a check-up is recommended if it’s been a while. Despite the close bond we feel with our cats and the fact that cats outnumber dogs 81.7 million to 72 million, the American Veterinary Medical Association reports a recent trend that cats visit the veterinarian less than dogs. This could be reflected in the change from one to three year protocols for vaccinations, increasing veterinary costs, or that inside cats have fewer health issues that inside/outside cats. For older kitties a geriatric blood profile and urinalysis are recommended since kidney disease, diabetes, and hyperthyroidism are not uncommon.
7. It’s never too late to improve your cat’s diet. The pet food recalls are shocking a lot of pet owners into examining what they were feeding and since then many good brands of food have come to the forefront.
8. A good sturdy scratcher is one of the best ways to express your love for your cat. Have you ever observed the look of pleasure on a cat’s face as she is scratching? Give her plenty of options – sisal, cardboard, carpeted, angled, flat. She’ll thank you by not scratching the sofa.
9. For your own education, read up on cat care. A few of the newer books are Whole Health for Happy Cats by Sandy Arora, The Cat Bible by Tracie Hotchner and Your Cat: Simple New Secrets to a Longer, Stronger Life by Elizabeth Hodgkins, DVM.
10. Don’t forget to tell her you love her — every day!