Five New Years Resolutions To Make Your Cat Happy and Healthy

White and black cat lying on it's back on the floor looking relaxed

It’s not uncommon for us to start the New Year by making resolutions, but how many of us make them for our cats? The New Year is a great opportunity to re-evaluate our old habits and create some new ones for our feline friends.

Here are five resolutions which, if you maintain them, you’ll be helping to keep your cats happy and healthy not just for a few weeks, but for the rest of their lives.

1. Re-evaluate Your Cat’s Diet

Cat crouching over a food bowl licking it's lips

As we all know, good nutrition is the basis of good health. Cats are obligate carnivores and they need meat to survive. So, a good quality ‘complete’ diet which is high in protein, low in carbohydrates and appropriate for the cat’s life stage will provide them with all the vitamins and minerals they need to thrive throughout their life. Following the guidelines on the packet with respect to the amount of food that should be given daily and avoiding giving too many treats should also help keep your cat trim!

2. Regular Veterinary Check Ups

Photo showing the front of a veterinary clinic

All cats should be seen by a vet at least one a year so they can have their booster vaccinations and a physical examination which includes checking their ears, eyes, heart and teeth for any problems. It’s a good idea for elderly cats to be taken more regularly so that the vet can additionally keep a check on their organ function, blood pressure and urine output. Remember, as solitary survivalists cats tend not to show pain so by the time symptoms are noticed a disease may have already progressed to the point where treatment will be more complicated and more expensive, or even too late. Getting to know our cats’ routines and habits may help us spot the signs early.

3. Enrich Your Cat’s Environment

Tabby cat lying in a cardboard box playing with a stick toy

Cats are relatively young in evolutionary terms and are still very much wild at heart! So, although we’ve brought them into a domestic setting, we can nevertheless give them the opportunity to engage their wild instincts by providing them with an environment that keeps them stimulated. We can do this by:

  • Giving them toys for solo play including those that contain catnip, valerian or ,tatarian honeysuckle.
  • Scheduling regular interactive play sessions with them using fishing rod-type toys.
  • Providing opportunities for scratching, both horizontally and vertically!
  • Feeding cats in separate areas and offering food in puzzle feeders.
  • Providing places where they can hide and places where they can be up high.
  • Providing an appropriate number of litter trays in discreet locations.

4. Physical Contact – Leave Them Wanting More!

Cat lying next to a cream fur rug being ticked under the chin by owner

Some cats love nothing more than a warm lap and a cuddle, but there are those for whom physical contact with humans can be stressful. If your cat turns his head away from you or backs off if you approach him, he may fall into this category. In such cases it’s a good idea to allow him to initiate all the physical interactions. If you do and keep contact to a brief tickle around the ears and under the chin the chances are your cat will be left wanting more and will seek contact with you more often!

5. Understand More About Cat Health and Behaviour

Cat approaching owner sitting on the floor reading a book

If your cat is stressed the more likely it is that the stress will manifest itself in behavioural issues such as house soiling; urine-spraying; over-grooming and aggression toward other cats and/or humans. Stress can also play a significant role in the development of chronic health conditions such as cystitis. The more you know about your cat as a species, the more likely you are to be able to keep him as happy and healthy as possible.

Clare Hemington

Clare has worked in the field of cat behaviour for sixteen years. She is an accredited Cat Behaviourist and respected member of the COAPE Association of Pet Behaviourists and Trainers. Clare believes that understanding cat behaviour is key to their overall welfare. Through consultation and education her aim is to share information with owners that enables them to give their cat a life that is as happy as it possibly can be. Clare is also founder and owner of Honeysuckle cat toys. Toys made from Tatarian honeysuckle wood which provide wonderful natural enrichment for cats.

2 thoughts on “Five New Years Resolutions To Make Your Cat Happy and Healthy

  1. Happy new year to you and Billy.
    That is very good advice you have given which is what I already follow.
    Going to try again to transision Dylan to some wet food as he will only take dry and although not much difference in weight between himself and Dougal Dylan is looking a bit on the tubby side. Vets were not too concerned as he has such a thick coat. On the other hand as Dougal has suspect ibd and he just looks skinny.
    Our Dougal this year was stressed by the fireworks. I was dreading the new
    year but luckily there were very few.
    Best wishes
    Val

    1. Hi Val. I’m so sorry not to have responded to your comment from January, it’s only just popped up on my blog site! I hope the rest of 2024 is kind to you and that Dylan’s transition to wet food is going according to plan!
      Best wishes
      Clare x

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