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Happy Cat Month

black and white cat sleeping

“Happiness is dozing in sunshine…” Image copr. “Olive Eyes” via Flickr

As September draws to a close, it’s a good time to reflect on how YOU celebrated National Happy Cat Month. Oh, you didn’t know? Well here at the Shojai household, every month–nay, every HOUR is designed with cat happiness in mind.

Seren On Stairs

“They built the stairs for me…now if they’d train the sun to stay there!”

Just ask Seren. She’ll tell you. 🙂

I’ve spent the last month blogging on cat happiness over at Chewy.com on such things as How Cats Show Happiness (in some pretty interesting and unexpected ways!), as well as Weird Ways Cats Show Love. You’ll find some other fun topics at my Kitty’s Korner blog, too.

What makes your cat happy? Is it food that starts that purr-rumble? Or a particular game or toy? Seren is partial to sparkle-balls (yes, go figure MY cat would love bling). She’s always been a play-kitty and a reluctant lap-sitter, but over the past 6 months or so she’s demanded lap time.

I think that’s a symptom of her increasing age (along with the more piercing me-wows late at night). I’ve been referring to my own tips in the aging cat book these days.

Today we had a rousing game of chase-the-sheets as together we made the bed. It was as if Seren reverted to kittenhood! I know she’s happy as long as she engages in these games. Play therapy also builds confidence in shy cats and so can help keep them healthier (and slim and trim!).

I am Only Borrowing it..

“I am only borrowing it,” says Bella, “It makes me happy because it smells soooo good–like YOU.” Image copr. “KrazyBoutCats” via Flickr

Does your feline friend have any unique fun foibles that tell you s/he’s happy? Please share! They may end up in a future ASK AMY video or on the Kitty Korner blog . . . or even in the next thriller. Macy (the Maine Coon in LOST AND FOUND) loves his stuffed Mickey Mouse toy and plays fetch, for example. It’s always more fun to include REAL cat and dog experience but of course it’s legal for fiction authors to make schtuff up, too.

Fair warning. You know a writer’s brain fully caffeinated can be a scary, dangerous thing!

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my  THRILLERS WITH BITE!

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Feline Friday: Happy Cat Month

Kisa

"Get spiffed up for Happy Cat Month!" Copr. Maria Magnus

The CATalyst Council declared September to be Happy Cat Month, dedicated to finding ways to keep kitty companions happy, healthy and purring all year long. They suggest these top 10 ways cat owners can promote feline happiness–and I’ve added a few additional links for detailed how-to, further info or just play furry fun. Enjoy! Oh, and please feel free to add your own tips to the list (I have *s*).

1.        Visit the veterinarian. Healthy cats are happy cats. Many owners dread vet trips with cats, even though a good number now work hard to be cat friendly or have doctors who specialize in cats. Sterilizing your cat helps keeps cats healthy by preventing behavior problems and some types of cancer.  Here are reasons why cats hate the vet and how you can change that purr-ception.

2.       Microchip your cat. In addition to a collar and identification tag, owners should ask their veterinarian about microchipping their feline friend. If a cat ever escapes or gets lost, having this type of permanent ID will make a reunion between cat and owner much more likely. I’ve blogged about lost pets before . Learn more about pet ID in this puppies article (works for cats, too!).

seren scratching 1

Seren's office chair shows her artistry.

3.       Go outside (appropriately). Yes!  There are ways owners can safely take their cats outside to allow them to broaden their horizons. Teach your cats how to walk on a leash so they can periodically and safely experience the world outside their windows.

4.       Scratch the surface. Cats need to scratch for physical and emotional health.  Figure out what your cat likes to scratch–vertical, horizontal or angled position–and what kind of surface, and provide it. Giving legal scratch options keeps the furniture safe.

5.       Provide preventive medications. No one likes fleas, ticks, mites or heartworms, especially your cat. Even indoor cats are at risk. Magical-Dawg goes outside and can bring creepy crawlies inside to Seren-kitty so she gets prevention just like he does.

6.       Train together. Cats can be trained to do fun tricks just like dogs, and the mental and physical stimulation is great for felines. Clicker training can boost the confidence of shy cats, too. Teaching your cat to sit, for example, is easy, and training your cat to sit on stools instead of counters will make you and your cat much happier. Training also helps you connect and strengthens your bond with the cat–she’ll finally believe YOU are smart when you can communicate with her!

7.       Work for food. Feline obesity is a huge problem in this country, and one way to combat it is for owners to make their cats work for their food. I love offering cats their meals inside puzzle toys or hiding it around the house on small bowls to stimulate kitty’s innate hunting instinct. That keeps the cat’s brain exercised, too.

8.       Get your cat acclimated to the carrier. Many cat owners find that the worst part about taking their cats anywhere is getting cats into their carriers. Owners should work with their cat on making their carrier a safe, secure, and inviting place to be prior to veterinary visits or family vacations.  Visit www.catalystcouncil.org to view Cats and Carriers: Friends not Foes for tips on how to get cats to love their carriers. You can also find tips in this article about ways owners HISS OFF their cats (and how to avoid that!).

9.       Provide prey toys. One of the easiest ways to make a cat happy is with a new prey toy. Cats love to play and turn wads of paper into pretend prey so you can give kitty “cheap thrills” to keep her happy. Here are some tips how to get the prey-play kitty games going!  And one of my previous blogs included some very kewl kitty toys.

10.   Think about getting another cat. Cats are social animals, and owners should consider adopting two cats or kittens at once to keep them company. Just be sure to properly introduce your newcomer cats to resident felines.  Here are tips how to care for your new kitten–and you can also always refer to Complete Kitten Care for even more help including proper introduction tips!

During Happy Cat Month, CATalyst Council encourages people to adopt a kitty–or to spoil the cats you already love with these tips. And just for fun, channel your “inner kitty” and answer this question–

Do cats have ESP? Can your cats see ghosts? Why do cats STARE for hours at a time at stuff you can’t see? The ASK AMY below attempts to answer the question but–all kitties are different so what do your cats tell you? Please share!

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with pet book give-aways!