PET FRIENDLY: New Year’s Resolutions for Cat Lovers

| January 8, 2014 | 0 Comments | Pet Friendly

If you’re like me, the 2013 holiday season now seems like a blur with many new happy family memories generated and saved for future reflection. Our 14-year-old Lab, Pepper, was again an important part of our celebrations. This year she was reunited with her full “pack” of human siblings and demonstrated great precision and joy in opening gifts wrapped just for her. After years of togetherness, we can’t even imagine spending our holidays without her participation and I’m sure many of you share those feelings.

As a cat, dog or other pet owner, the New Year presents us with an ideal opportunity to pause and consider how we can further build our relationship with these important family members. I recently read an article listing New Year’s resolutions to enhance your relationship with a dog. Several of these resolutions also are applicable to our relationships with cats.

Virginia has an even mix of cat and dog owners, one of about 8-10 States that do. So I’ll devote my first Pet Friendly article in 2014 to how cat owners can enhance the quality of their pet’s life or welcome a newly adopted cat to their home.

When adopting, mature and senior (ages 11-14) offer the benefits of greater predictability and a more sedate (some would say “sophisticated”) set of interactive behaviors that are equally satisfying, though quite distinct from what we would enjoy with a kitten or younger cat living in our home. Many mature cats remain playful, particularly if there are other cats around or if you reach out to them with interesting toys when they are in a receptive mood. And many indoor cats will live into their late teens or even to 20 years of age, so adoption of a mature or senior cat still offers us many years of enjoyment.

A mature cat is less likely to get into things and areas of our home that are “off-limits.” Such cats generally are well trained in use of litter boxes and many know how to use a scratching post as an alternative to your favorite chair or couch to keep their claws sharp. While healthy mature pets should see their vet at least once or twice annually, they typically require less medical attention and vaccinations than a kitten or young cat that is still growing. Perhaps best of all, mature cats often enjoy taking naps and may share their space with us on the couch or nearby where we can admire them as they sleep.

There are many ways to enhance your relationship with your cat, regardless of age, starting with giving them more of your time and attention. Many cats enjoy interactive play and your local pet store offers lots of inexpensive toys to keep your cat’s mind sharp and body in good physical shape. If you have been less than regular in taking your cat to a veterinarian, early 2014 is a good time to schedule a catch-up visit. It’s easy for cats, like dogs, to become overweight, so talk with your vet to make sure the food and any treats you now feed to your cat are healthy and offered in the right amounts.

Last but not least, consider ways to help out other cats that are less fortunate than yours. You can donate your time or money to a local pet shelter or other animal charities whose work you support, or even foster a cat on a short-term basis. In short, you can make a positive difference in your cat’s life and improve the lives of other cats or animals in 2014. Why not start or go to the next level today?

Chris Bates is the founder of Top Choice Pet Care LLC (, which provides affordable, loving and reliable dog walking, pet sitting and other pet services to the Bristow, Gainesville, Haymarket, Manassas and Nokesville communities. A farmer’s son, life-long animal lover and pet owner, Chris is a Certified Professional Pet Sitter (CPPS) through Pet Sitters International and is PetSaver™ trained in pet first aid and CPR.


© 2014, Bristow Beat. All rights reserved.

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