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How to Make Your Cat Feel Special

Jet feels special!!
By Langley Cornwell

Our cat, Jet, got sick recently. This four-year-old guy is an iron-clad warrior; we’ve never seen him truly sick. Yes, we’ve rushed him to the veterinarian many times for what turned out to simply be hairballs, but this was different. We found him in a corner, hunched in a ball and foaming at the mouth. We scooped him up and rushed to the vet where they ran every test possible but couldn’t identify the cause.

Because he was heaving and miserable, the vet gave him a dose of fluids and anti-nausea medicine and then sent him home with us. Seeing our robust, fun-loving kitty uncomfortable broke our hearts. He already gets plenty of attention from me, my husband and our dog. He gets rub downs from us and full facials from the dog (she loves to lick his face and he encourages it). He enjoys laying on us when we watch TV and he sleeps with us in the bed. He has a special cat window perch in the front of the house. We talk to him and play with him a lot. In other words, he’s spoiled rotten. But, not knowing what else to do for him while he was sick, we wanted to make him feel extra special. Here are a few things we did:

Built a nest. When we got home from the vet, he hid under the bed. I know other cats that spend a lot of time under beds but this was the first time he had ever done that and it made me feel bad. So I got a large cardboard box with high sides (typical cat, he loves boxes), put a feather pillow in the bottom and put a wadded up soft blanket over the pillow. I put the box up on a chair in the quietest room in our house and waited. Within the hour Jet made his way out from under the bed and into his new nest. He loved it.  

Kept the cat warm. I prefer our home to be somewhat cool but knew our cat would be more comfortable in a warmer environment, so we set the house temperature to 74 to 75 degrees F during the day. There was no way I could sleep in an overly warm house, though, so I had to figure out what to do about the evenings. I researched those heated cat mats but decided against it and instead put a hot water bottle underneath the wadded up blanket in his cardboard box/nest in the evenings. He seemed to love it and rested comfortably.

Made the indoors interesting. Our cat is usually an indoor/outdoor guy. After a few days of lying around in his nest, it was obvious that he was feeling better. He regained his appetite and started asking to go outside but we didn’t think that was a good idea. He still seemed a bit puny. Since he didn’t have access to his usual source of entertainment, we wanted to make the indoors interesting. Feline behaviorist Sarah Whitehead at the Feline Advisory Bureau says that games based on simulating chasing or capturing prey are the most enjoyable for cats. Therefore, we made a variety of toys available to him and spent time playing hunting games to keep him stimulated.

Got creative with healthy food and treats. We feed our pets premium quality CANIDAE pet food but I wanted to do something different; I wanted to keep him interested and make him feel special while he was regaining his strength. The Feline Advisory Bureau suggests food scattering. If you feed your cat dry food, you can make him do a little “hunting” for it. Rather than filling his dish, try hiding small piles of kibble around the house and encourage your cat to search for it. This activity uses his natural abilities to hunt and his sense of smell to its full advantage, and it makes mealtimes more fun. If your kitty only eats wet food, you can do the same exercise with healthy cat treats, such as FELIDAE TidNips.

Gave him space. All of this was happening during the holidays and there were more people coming in and out of our house than usual. We didn’t want the additional activity to make our cat nervous, so we created a variety of “secret” places for him to hide. Also, we never left him in a room alone with someone he wasn’t familiar with.

Our fierce feline is back to his usual self and now he’s even more spoiled, if that’s possible. What about you? What do you do to make your cat feel special?

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