Pondering what to give the cat this year for the
holidays? Anything that improves the quality of cat life is a good gift.
Here are some suggestions:
* Consider taking her to your veterinarian for that
annual health exam you've been putting off. She may not think it is much
fun, but the reward for her and you is a longer and healthier life.
* Most cats seem to like the stimulation provided by
outside views. You can build your cat an outside cage where she can be
outside on nice days but secure from getting lost or injured in the
neighborhood. An alternative is to build or buy an elevated perch where
your cat can sit or lie and look out a window or watch the activities of
the household. Cats seem to like to rest on elevated places.
* Placing a bird feeder outside a window can be
attractive to your cat. There are also videos of birds and small animals
made especially to entertain cats.
* Puzzle toys are often attractive to cats. Boxes or
tracks with balls that can be moved around are fun for lots of cats.
Puzzle balls with food treats inside can also be fun. Feathers on
strings or even string on the end of sticks can be very entertaining for
* Toys or scratching posts with catnip are fun for most
cats. You can grow catnip for your cat or even grow "kitty greens" for
your cat to eat. Think about adding an additional scratching post for
your cat to give her another place to scratch.
* Toys for cats don't have to be expensive. Many cats
enjoy playing in empty boxes or paper bags.
Whatever you buy or make for your cat, think about her
safety. No sharp edges, nothing that can be swallowed (unless it is
food) and nothing that can fall over. Be especially careful of strings,
Christmas tree tinsel and ribbons that cats may try to swallow. They can
cause serious problems.
Probably the best gift that we can give our cats is the
gift of ourselves. Spending quality time with our cats, playing with
them, petting them or just sitting with them will be rewarding for them
and for us. Especially during the busy holiday season, spending a little
extra time with our cats can enrich all our lives.
Suzanne Hetts, Ph.D., and Daniel Estep, Ph.D., are
certified animal behaviorists in Littleton. Send comments or questions
to Animal Behavior Associates Inc., 4994 S. Independence Way, Littleton,
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