Mental stimulation keeps your cat healthy, happy and maybe even out of trouble.

Fun Ways To Provide Mental Stimulation For Your Cat

Cats, like people, get bored. Some cats express it by causing mischief, tipping over glasses and scratching furniture, and will stop acting up if provided with proper mental stimulation. Of course, some cats are mischievous with or without stimulation because, well, they’re cats. But most cats are happier when their environment is entertaining.

How To Get Your Cat To Play

It can take some trial and error before you find the right toy and playing style that gets your cat’s attention. Some cats like feathery toys, others like springs, while some will only play with catnip infused mice. Others still have a penchant for rolled up socks or toilet paper rolls.

Your cat may be stimulated by slow back and forth movements, while others will chase a fast moving object. You can also try tossing a toy between you and a friend or family member. Some cats only want what they think they cannot have.

Mental Stimulation Puzzles That Your Cat Can Use Alone

Not all cats will play with their owners, and you may want to provide toys that your cat can play with when you’re not home.

Food puzzle toys are great for this. You can use dry food or treats to fill puzzle toys, either homemade or store-bought. A paper towel roll, with one side stapled closed and the other filled with kibble, can be batted across the floor like a mouse to dispense food.

By prompting your cat to work for their food, you’ll stave off boredom eating and encourage exercise, which can prevent obesity. In the United States, 58% of cats are obese, though this is preventable because you control the cat’s food intake and exercise.

Environmental Enrichment For Bored Cats

You can turn your home into a kitty wonderland without sacrificing your deposit. A few cat trees will provide your cat with high places to perch, nap and watch over your home. The surfaces will give your cat a scratch-worthy alternative to furniture legs. Some cats prefer scratching posts made of a carpet-like material, others like sisal rope. Some cats will be happiest if they have different surfaces available to suit their moods.

Tunnels, shelves and caves are all fun, cat-friendly additions to your decor. Shy cats appreciate having safe spaces to hide when you have guests over. Some cats feel safer when they can nap in high places.

You can even set up a bird-feeder or birdbath outside your window to give your cat something to watch during the day. For a cat, bird-watching is addictive, it’s their version of reality TV!

Get A Pet Sitter

If you often leave your cat for the whole weekend, or for even longer, an enriched environment and fun toys won’t provide the mental stimulation and socialization they need to be happy. It’s good to have a reliable, professional pet sitter in your contacts that you can call whenever you’re going to be away from home for an extended period of time.

Set up a free consultation with A Better Way Pet Sitting so you’ll always have a familiar, readily-available sitter for your cat. Our sitters will take the time to feed, play and brush your cat, plus provide you with updates each day so you always know that your cat is loved when you’re away. Call or contact us today!

When Should Your Cat Go To The Vet? #Cat2VetDay

When Should Your Cat Go To The Vet? #Cat2VetDay

You hate taking your cat to the vet, and your cat hates it even more. From trying to squeeze your cat into their carrier to the long, nervous wait in the vet’s office, checkups are no picnic for you and your feline. Though it’s not easy, it’s oh-so-necessary to helping your cat live a long, healthy life. August 22nd has been named National Take Your Cat To The Vet Day by the American Association of Feline Practitioners because over half of all pet cats in America do not get annual checkups. If your cat is one of them, don’t feel guilty – but please do pick up the phone and schedule an appointment as soon as possible.

Why All Cats Need Annual Vet Checkups

Cats may be more independent than dogs, but they still need the same regular medical care. Our feline family members are less likely to appear in pain, and may only show very subtle signs of discomfort, if any at all, when they are sick or injured. Regular checkups allow you to catch minor illnesses before they become serious.

Kidney failure is the leading cause of death in cats. Symptoms include increased thirst and urination, weakness and weight loss. However, by the time these symptoms appear, your cat is already suffering from severe kidney damage and your cat’s life expectancy has already been greatly reduced, even with treatment. Yearly blood tests, twice-yearly for senior cats, is the best way to catch kidney disease in its early stages.

What Your Vet Should Check For Each Year

When you get to your vet’s office, be prepared with any questions about your cat’s health and behavior – you may want to write them down so you do not forget to ask during your visit.

Your vet will weigh your cat and palpate their torso to determine if they are overweight. They may check your cat’s ears and eyes, and examine their mouth to see if your cat has signs of dental disease.

You can also expect your vet to check your cat’s vaccination history and give your cat any needed shots so they stay up-to-date. Even indoor cats need vaccinations, plus a vet-prescribed heartworm/intestinal parasite preventative, usually in the form of a chewable pill, administered monthly at home.

How To Make Vet Visits Less Stressful

Your cat’s carrier should be left out at all times, not suddenly dug out of the closet the morning of your vet appointment.

Fill your cat’s carrier with a thick blanket, catnip, toys and treats – anything to help your kitty see it as a sanctuary. Don’t place your cat inside; allow them to explore it on their own, preferably at least a few weeks before their appointment.

Practice handling your cat, looking inside their mouth, and massaging their paws, ears and stomach while you pet them. Don’t push your cat’s limits, simply get them used to gentle handling that they’ll likely experience at the vet’s office. You can also practice wrapping your cat in a towel so they won’t mind being swaddled for examinations, vaccines and bloodwork.

Keep in touch for more cat care tips from A Better Way Pet Sitting. Like us on Facebook so you won’t miss our updates!

Use these tips for leaving your cat at home while you're away.

How To Prepare For Leaving Your Cat At Home When You’re On Vacation

While they may not show it the same way dogs do, cats really do miss us when we’re not home. It’s tough to totally relax on vacation if you’re worried about your cat. Are they safe? Are they happy? Are they lonely?

Here’s some ways you can prepare before you leave your cat at home for vacation.

Provide Multiple Water Sources

A single water bowl could evaporate, get tipped over or contaminated. Provide multiple water bowls in your cat’s preferred areas of your home, and a cat water fountain, if possible. If you’ve ever had your cat drink out of the sink faucet, you know how much they love to drink moving water.

Create An Enriching Environment

There’s many ways to entertain your cat when you’re not home.

Leave blinds open and install a bird feeder just outside your window to create opportunities for bird-watching.

Puzzle feeder toys, purchased at a pet store or made from household items, allow your cat to “hunt” for their food. Something as simple as a toilet paper roll with one end stapled shut, or a shoebox with holes cut out of the sides, can be filled with dry food. Get creative with materials, but take care that your cat cannot choke or get caught on the components.

If you want to go high-tech, you can watch your pet on your phone with a Petcube pet camera. The Petcube Play has a built-in laser so you can play with your cat while you’re on vacation.

Separate Housemates That Don’t Get Along

If you have dogs, or multiple cats that don’t always get along, you can keep your animals in separate rooms, or use baby gates to section off your home.

Create A Cat-Proof Environment

Before you leave, check for any hazards that your cat could get into while you’re away. These might not normally be too tempting for your cat when you’re home, but the change in routine could prompt your cat to be more mischievous than usual.

Make sure your counter and tabletops are clear of glassware, food, houseplants, and anything else your cat could mess with. If your cat can open cabinets and drawers, install some child safety locks.

Get A Pet Sitter

A daily visit from a professional pet sitter ensures that your cat is safe, healthy and happy while you are away. Your pet sitter from A Better Way will clean and refill food and water bowls, freshen the litter box, administer medications, and spend some time socializing with your cat.
Daily pet sitter visits are also a good way to make sure your home is safe and secure in your absence. Should a pipe burst, your basement flood, or any other disaster occur, your pet sitter can alert you and prevent further damage. Your sitter can also bring in the mail and newspapers and alternate lights and curtains to prevent burglary.

Planning your vacation? Contact us to set up a consultation. We’ll have a pet sitter available to keep your cat safe and happy while you enjoy your trip.