8 Healthy Ways to Spoil Your Cat

We love our feline friends. But turning your kitty into a fat cat by showering them with treats isn’t doing them any favors. Here are eight ways to spoil your cat that will keep them healthy and happy.

1. Prioritize perches

Cats need an enriching environment to lead healthy, happy lives. And part of that involves maximizing their vertical space. “Upright structures and elevated perches will serve your cat’s climbing and clawing needs,” according to Best Friends Animal Society. “To let your cat experience a bit of the outdoors while indoors, place perches, cat furniture (such as cat trees) or resting areas by the windows in your home.”

To truly “catify” your space, give your cat a path around the room where they never have to touch the ground. “You can use cat shelves, your own furniture, odds-and-ends you might find in your garage (a nice trunk, wine crate, etc.),” according to cat expert Jackson Galaxy’s website. “When they have spaces to leave their scent, this reinforces the feeling of ‘this space is mine,’ which fosters a feeling of confidence, security, and comfort.”

2. Offer various cozy napping spots

two cats napping in a cat treeCredit: w-ings/Getty Images

Cats sleep for 15 hours per day on average. And that means they’re going to need some quality napping spots. “Every animal needs a ‘comfort zone’ where he or she can go to feel safe and relax,” according to Best Friends. “Closets, open crates, high shelves, cat trees, the space under beds and rooms sectioned off with baby gates are great places to put a comfy cat bed or blanket to create a safe place.”

Jackson Galaxy recommends noting your cat’s napping preferences. Do they like to burrow under blankets or hang in hammocks? Provide various options to meet their needs. And don’t bother your cat if they’re in their comfort zone. Let them have their quiet time.

3. Satisfy their desire to hunt

Along with toys they can play with on their own, interactive play is incredibly important to a cat’s mental and physical well-being. “Guardians need to schedule dedicated time for one-on-one play to get their mojo going,” according to Jackson Galaxy. “Toys that mimic the hunt (air prey and ground prey) are essential. If you’re out of the house for long periods of time, try adding remote interactive toys.”

Feather wands, food puzzles, toys that roll and toys you simply throw for your cat all are great options. And a common choice for interactive play that mimics hunting is a laser pointer. “Some cats enjoy playing with laser pointers, chasing the point of light around the house,” according to Best Friends. “Make sure that your cat is eventually able to ‘catch’ something while playing with the laser pointer; point it at a toy that your cat can then play with, so she doesn’t get too frustrated.”

4. Hang an outdoor bird feeder

orange tabby cat looking out windowCredit: Konstantin Aksenov/Getty Images

Some cats like to watch TV. But one of their favorite programs is probably looking out the window. And to really improve the plot of this show, you can try hanging a bird feeder near a window where your cat can see it. “A birdbath or bird feeder placed within sight of the window can increase her enjoyment,” Best Friends says. “(Don’t worry about the birds — they easily become habituated to their ‘admirers.’)”

Just make sure you watch for any other cats roaming in your yard. This can stress your cat and potentially cause territorial issues, such as urine marking.

5. Consider a ‘catio’

People debate the merits of indoor versus outdoor living for cats. But there’s no question that a free-roaming outdoor cat is at a much higher risk of diseases, accidents, animal attacks, becoming the victim of animal cruelty and more. So to give your cat the best (and safest) of both worlds, consider a “catio.”

“You can give your cat some safe time outdoors by building an outdoor enclosure (often called a cattery or catio) for your cat,” Best Friends says. “Once your cattery is built, you can incorporate other sources of enrichment, such as toys and cat trees, into it.” Best Friends offers some resources on different ways to create an outdoor cat enclosure. There are many options, but the bottom line is it’s a way for your cat to safely experience outdoor enrichment.

6. Teach them how to walk on a leash

Another way for your cat to safely be outdoors is by teaching them how to walk on a leash. “If you live in a peaceful neighborhood in which you can walk without encountering loose dogs, consider buying a harness and training your cat to walk on a leash,” the Humane Society of the United States says. Training might take some patience. But the reward is your cat will receive invaluable physical and mental stimulation on their walks.

And leash training isn’t the only trick that can enrich your cat’s life. “Training, including teaching tricks, provides great mental stimulation for pets,” according to Best Friends. “Cats can be taught to respond to any number of cues, from ‘sit’ to ‘down’ to ‘wave.’” Use lots of positive reinforcement (but not too many extra treats), and your cat will see training sessions as fun quality time with you.

7. Keep them clean

Tabby cat lying in owner's lap and enjoying being brushedCredit: vladans/Getty Images

Cats value cleanliness in their lives. And though they do a pretty great job of keeping themselves clean — their saliva actually contains natural cleansing properties — they also need some grooming help from you. Sometimes a bath is necessary, as are nail trims and tooth brushing. But something your cat likely will love much more is you brushing their fur. “The best thing to help your cat with grooming is brushing,” according to PetMD. “It will help remove excess hair, which leads to hairballs for cats. If your particular cat has long hair, then it is essential to keep it tangle free.”

Moreover, your cat will appreciate a regularly cleaned litter box. “Cats are very fastidious creatures,” PetMD says. “They like their litter box to be clean. If it isn’t clean, they might start ‘going’ elsewhere, and you certainly don’t want to deal with that.” Plus, frequent checks of the litter box allow you to quickly catch certain health problems.

8. Schedule regular vet checkups

Speaking of health problems, one of the best ways to spoil your cat is to give them quality medical care. Schedule annual wellness checkups with your veterinarian, even if you don’t think anything is wrong. Plus, don’t wait to get them to the vet if something seems off. Have your cat spayed or neutered to prevent health problems (and pet overpopulation), and keep them up to date on their shots.

Furthermore, it’s a good idea to microchip your cat and outfit them with an ID collar just in case they ever get lost. Some people assume indoor cats don’t need much preventative care, such as their vaccinations, but it’s critical to plan for all scenarios. That way, you know you’re giving your kitty the longest, healthiest and happiest life possible.

Main image credit: NiseriN/Getty Images

66 comments

Michael F
Michael Friedmann15 hours ago

Thank You for Sharing This !!!

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Colin C

Teaching them if possible to walk on a lead would be great

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Barbara S
Barbara Syesterday

Thank you

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Melanie St. Germaine

Thank you for sharing.

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Leo C
Leo Custer2 days ago

Thank you for sharing!

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Carole R
Carole R3 days ago

Good ideas. Love the pix.

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Elaine W
Elaine W3 days ago

Maybe except for the cage thing......

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Elaine W
Elaine W3 days ago

Noted to my Kitty's future delight.

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Ruth S
Ruth S3 days ago

Thanks.

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Ruth S
Ruth S3 days ago

Thanks.

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