"And now we welcome the new year, full of things that have never been." ― Rainer Maria Rilke.
Happy New Year, dear hoomans. We hope you all had meowgical and cozy holidays filled with laughter, joy and purrs. As we gear up for the New Year, the timing is now as purrfect as ever to reflect on your kitty's last year's lifestyle, health, wellness and care. To help you support your kitty to step, hop and jump into the New Year on the right paw, we have a few tips you won't want to miss.
1. A road to a healthier life through a better diet
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” - Hippocrates, a Greek physician and The Father of Western medicine.
One of the main factors that influences and shapes the health of all cats is nutrition. It's important to remember though that every cat is unique. There is no such thing as a “one size fits all” approach when it comes to choosing your cat’s diet. Here are a few ways in which you can adjust your kitty's diet to be beneficial in the long run.
a) Have a chat with a vet and get professional help finding the right food for your kitty according to its age, size, health status and activity. It is important that what your cat eats fully addresses all its nutritional needs.
b) If your cat is a kitten, it is highly important to get it used to different types of food from day one. “Cats are very opinionated about food, and a lot of their food preferences are formed in the first year.” - explained Julie A. Churchill, DVM, PhD, associate professor of nutrition at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine in St. Paul. By adjusting your kitten to a diverse range of foods, they are less likely to be picky later in life which allows you to address their nutritional needs more efficiently.
c) Learn to read cat food label. Make sure that the food you’re buying is well balanced. Richard Hill, PhD, associate professor at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine in Gainesville, says: “With so much advertising, people tend to focus on ingredients, but the nutrients are more important, namely protein and fat”. People are often fixated on carbs, which can actually be useful in cat food if dosed in acceptable amounts. This is why the balance of food ingredients is crucial and that is what you should be looking for. Try to look for a statement from Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) on the package, which will state that the food is well balanced. If your cat’s diet is well balanced, you won’t need to worry about vitamins and other supplements, because the food will contain it all.
d) Dose the meals appropriately and enrich the diet with special treats. Aside from choosing the right food, t is equally important to dose the meals correctly according the cat’s needs too. You can also occasionally treat your kitty with delicacies such as small bits of cooked tuna, fish or chicken.
With the development of young fields of nutrigenetics and nutrigenomics, the science world is hoping to be able to develop efficient personalized diets for cats too. This would allow you to tailor your cat's diet according to their unique genomes. Read more about the peculiar filed of Personalized diet.
2. Keep your kitty active
Exercising is very important for the health of every cat. To ensure your cat gets enough physical activity, try to commit yourself to finding new ways to stimulate your cat to remain active, healthy and happy. Here are a few ideas to help get you started on this journey.
a) Stimulate exercise through playing. Playing is an important aspect of every cat's life. It helps them learn and maintain their health and overall well-being. A few sessions of playing a day can do wonders for your cat's health and it will certainly strengthen your bond with them. Learn more about how to play with cats to stimulate exercise please refer to our guide How Should I Play With My Kitty.
b) Make Meal Time Fun. Hill's guide for keeping your cat active during winter recommends introducing fun to the feeding routine. For example, by hiding smaller portions of the your cat's regular meal around the house, you are stimulating them to eat multiple small meals a day. You are also giving them an opportunity to search and "hunt", thus satisfying their hunting instincts. When it comes to treats, you can use your cat's favorite treats as rewards in games or training sessions. Treats, if chosen and applied correctly, can be both nutritional and stimulating.
3. Keep the coat shiny and teeth sparkly
It is a known fact that cats take good care of their own coat and claws. However, easier said than done, you should still definitely make it a goal to regularly groom your cat. Invest in a good comb and groom your feline at least weekly. Regular grooming will make your cat's coat shinier and stronger, but it will also help tone the muscles and reduce the chance of developing hairballs. Also, when you groom your cat, you have the purrfect opportunity to keep an eye for fleas, ticks and other parasites, as well as signs of allergies, lumps, swellings and skin disorders.
To get your cat used to the routine faster, make the grooming experience enjoyable for the both of you. Groom your cat only when you are both relaxed and keep the first grooming sessions as short as 5 to 10 minutes long. Be patient and give your kitty some time to get used to being handled before you can start with longer sessions. Some shampooing and trimming may come in handy every once in a while too.
Additionally, to help maintain your cat's dental hygiene too, you may want to consider brushing your cat's teeth. It is important to use only toothpaste specifically designed for cats, as human toothpaste is toxic to cats. Additionally, there are diverse available cat treats too which can help clean your cat's teeth and help prevent plaque formation.
4. Teach your cat a few tricks
One of the most remarkable feline characteristics must be their notorious independence. Cats know what they want, when they want it and how to get it. And we admire them for this! Their canine rivals, on the other side, enjoy a much better reputation in regard to their trainability. So, why don't you prove your dog lover friends wrong and teach your cat a new trick? This may sound like a very difficult task that requires a lot of patience, but do not get discouraged just yet. You can start off with the simplest tricks such as high five, sit, stay or fetch (that’s right, cats can fetch too!). Many cats are also very successful at finding treats and toys. To help you get started, we prepared a How To Train A Cat guide for you. Remember, training your cat will also help them be more social, less anxious and overall more content. You can use the tips from our guide to correct the inappropriate behavior of your cat too.
Kaiser The Amazing Bengal is a skilled skateboarder
5. Spoil your cat with a ton of cuddles and snuggles
What is the one thing no kitty can ever get enough on? Your love, of course! Make sure to give your furry friend all the cuddles it could ever possibly need. If it doesn’t really like to snuggle, but prefers napping alone, then why not get it a brand-new bedding as a holiday gift? It will love having a new place to snuggle up in.
Us, mere hoomans, do our best to provide our kitties with the best lives possible. It is in our nature to continuously seek opportunities to improve and better ourselves though. New beginnings are usually purrfect timings to reflect on old way and implant new ones. We hope that these few tips will help you contemplate on your kitty's overall lifestyle and wellness and seek for new ways to improve it. Happy New Year!