As independent as cats are, they’re a long way off from their big cat cousins and wild ancestors. They’ve grown accustomed to a life of luxury, and they rely on humans for more than you might think. As a result, living with cats comes with more than a few rules. These rules are things that are meant to protect your cat’s health, safety, and happiness. They also ensure your human-feline relationship stays as strong as it can be. If you live with a cat, you’ll want to take note of the following life rules.
#1. Dedicate time every day to offering attention.
Even shy or timid cats should get at least a few minutes of your undivided attention every day. It’s vital if you want to build a real friendship and bond. How you go about doing this will depend on your cat’s personality. Do the things your cat enjoys and is comfortable with. The important part is that you show them that they’re a big part of your life. Put down your phone and show your cat just how much you care.
#2. Don’t force your affection.
While giving attention is important, you never want to force your affection onto a cat that isn’t comfortable with it. Cats can have a wide range of personalities. Some are huge cuddle bugs, and others prefer to keep their distance. If your cat doesn’t want your hugs and kisses, don’t force them into your arms while they struggle to get away. This overbearing kind of attention will only hurt your relationship. When you live with a cat, you need to take things at their pace.
#3. Clean the litter box at least every other day.
Different people have different standards when it comes to litter box cleanliness, but your cat will be a lot happier, and your house will smell a lot better, if you commit to cleaning out the litter at least every other day. Every day will be even better. If you let the litter box sit for too long, your cat will get fed up with the mess. They’ll start peeing and pooping in other areas of your house, and you can’t blame them.
#4. Don’t scare them just for your amusement.
When you live with a cat, you know they get spooked easily. And we have to admit that sometimes their reactions are downright funny. Scaring cats with cucumbers was a big trend a few years ago, and there are countless videos of cats jumping into the air and sprinting to safety. But no matter how amusing, scaring your cat isn’t nice. Cats shouldn’t have to walk around their homes feeling nervous. Scaring your cat just for the fun of it can damage their confidence and hurt your relationship.
#5. Feed a healthy combination of dry and wet food.
Cats need a lot of water to stay properly hydrated. The problem is, they’re not big drinkers. Most cats don’t drink nearly as much as they should. Their bodies are designed to make up the difference by absorbing water in the food they eat. When they’re out in the wild and eat a diet of fresh meat, this isn’t a problem. But most of our cats aren’t hunting for their own food. Dry food is good for cats (as long as you choose the right kind), but they also need wet food to help them stay hydrated.
#6. Don’t let them play with inappropriate or dangerous toys.
One of the best things about cats is that you don’t need to spend a ton of money on their toys. They’ll no doubt appreciate a feather wand or two, but they’re also perfectly capable of turning ordinary objects into the best toys ever. You have to be careful, however, because their chosen toys aren’t always safe or appropriate. Hair ties, for example, are popular with cats, but they’re actually pretty dangerous. The same goes for yarn and any kind of string.
If you decide to put a collar on your cat, know that not all collars are the same. Breakaway collars are the best choice for all cats, whether they’re inside or outside. These types of collars come unclasped in the event your cat gets it stuck and can’t get free. They keep cats safe from choking and neck injuries that could otherwise be fatal situations. Also, you need to make sure the collar fits appropriately. You should be able to easily slip your finger between the collar and your cat’s neck.
#8. Never punish a cat.
Cats aren’t perfect, and they will undoubtedly scratch your furniture, attack your ankles, or knock your favorite coffee cup off the table. It’s tempting to dole out punishment, but punishment is never a good idea if you want to peacefully live with a cat. Cats don’t understand punishment the way humans do, and all you’ll do is hurt your relationship. It’s much better to think about why your cat is misbehaving and take steps to resolve that problem. It could be boredom, stress, fear, or pain, but they always have a reason.
#9. Make sure your house is cat-proof.
Cats are curious creatures, and they like to get into trouble. If you’re not careful, some of that trouble could end up causing serious injury or illness. Make sure there are no toxic plants around the house and keep things like cleaning chemicals far out of their reach. You should also be careful with cords and wires your cat might want to chew on and play with. When you live with a cat, cat-proofing your house is a necessity.
#10. Don’t put off vet visits.
Even healthy cats should see the vet for regular checkups. They need to stay updated with their vaccines, and only your vet can properly advise you on preventative care. And if you suspect there’s something wrong with your cat’s health, there’s little chance the problem will disappear on its own. The sooner you tell a vet about your concerns, the better chance your cat has of living a long and healthy life.