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Cat-Friendly New Year Resolutions for 2014

Goals for Personal and Universal Betterment of Cats

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I'm not sure where the idea of writing New Year resolutions came from, although I read that it goes all the way back to 153 B.C. in Rome.  In addition to my personal resolutions, I have two other groups of resolutions related to cats.

  • Resolutions Specific to my Own Cats
  • Resolutions to Help Better the Universal World of Cats

This year, as in the past, in the universal area of cats, I resolve to do everything I can to convince readers to spay and neuter their pet cats, to adopt cats from animal shelters, and to be responsible caregivers to their cats.

1. Accept Cats for Being Cats

Jaspurr and Jenny Sleeping Together in Their New Home
Photo Credit: © Franny Syufy

When we take on the care of a cat, we assume responsibility for his well-being, health, and happiness for the rest of his life. Part of that responsibility includes respect. Cats are not dogs; they are not miniature furred people, and no two cats are ever alike. We need to respect those differences and honor cats for being their own unique selves.

Consider Jaspurr and Jenny. Jaspurr is an extremely dominant alpha cat, while Jenny is a rescued stray, now an indoors-only cat, and a calico, with all the sassy traits of that color pattern. Jaspurr considers Jenny a threat to his personal domain. Jenny, on the other hand is street-smart. Having been terrorized by male cats outside, she is understandably scared of Jaspurr and still will hiss whenever he comes near.

Although their relationship has improved substantially, I need to quell my own fears and allow Jenny free access to all the areas of our home, instead of keeping her with me all the time.

2. Keep our Homes Safe for our Cats

Photo Credit: © Franny Syufy
Cat-proofing a home is not a one-time event, but should become an automatic habit, to be practiced daily. Too often in the past year, I have found a rubber band lying on the floor, or a sharp knife left carelessly on the counter or in the sink, as happens occasionally. I'll practice what I preach and put my Habits to Practice for a Cat-Safe Home to use every day, and insist that the other human members of our home do likewise.

3. Feed Them the Best Cat Food We Can Afford

Photo Credit: Courtesy PriceGrabber
I know that food is an important key to the continued good health of my cats, and I will not stint on it. We are very fortunate to have a household income that allows me to feed my cats the very best foods. I've learned to read cat food labels, and I am ruthless at scorning commercial foods that are less than perfect. If finances should change, I'll practice judicious compromises in my cats' food as a last resort.

4. Set High Priority on Litter Box Maintenance

Photo Credit: © Franny Syufy
Litter box maintenance is a never-ending chore, and I've left the brunt of it for my son to handle, which he usually does quite capably and willingly. I'm going to carry my own share of the job more frequently, so my cats won't be forced to tiptoe in soiled boxes. I'll start today, using my Litter Box Maintenance Tutorial as a guideline.

5. When in Doubt, Call the Vet

Photo of Kittens Gaither and Sage in Tower
photo © Franny Syufy

I haven't yet erred by being cautious, and I will continue my resolve to seek veterinary counsel whenever I have doubts about the health conditions of any of my cats. They depend on me for their health care, and I won't ever let them down.

Unfortunately, although our new kittens had had all their core vaccinations and appeared healthy when we adopted them in October, they both developed infections diseases - Sage had a URI (Upper Respiratory Infection), and Gaither conjunctivitis. As of this writing, Jenny and Billy are the only adult cats who haven't shown signs of developing either of these diseases yet.

My own criteria for When to Call the Vet is a sound one, and I'll continue to follow it.

6. Keep Their Drinking Water Fresh

Cat-It  Drinking Fountain
Photo Credit: © Franny Syufy
My cats have one each of the most popular automated water fountains, but I still catch them sometimes drinking out of the sink. Fortunately, our water comes from a safe source, so I no longer have to use bottled water for their fountains.

We'll be more careful about cleaning them too, and replacing worn motors and filters, when necessary.

7. Take Time Every Day to Play With my Cats

Photo Credit: © Franny Syufy

Cats are habitual creatures and love to have a playtime set aside every day at the same time. I'll rearrange my busy schedule to make sure that I'm included in that play. Play time is bonding time, just as much as lap and cuddle time, and the cats look forward to it. I've found that if I don't schedule playtime with Jenny, she makes her own time, chasing invisible prey across the bed just after I've dozed off at midnight.

It's probably a good time to invest in another Da Bird, too. They particularly like the lifelike flight of that toy, and it's a good way for me to be involved in their play, and help Jenny burn off some of that youthful energy. I'll even buy another one, for kitten interactive play.

8. Give Them Toys to Challenge Their Abilities

Photo of Jaspurr and Kittens Playing with Cat's Meow Toy
photo © Franny Syufy
Our cats are all extremely inquisitive, and our two new kittens, Sage and Gaither even more-so.. Jaspurr, at eleven years and 10 months is no slouch, either. When we bought the Cat's Meow game as an early Christmas present for the kittens, Jaspurr soon muscled in on the act, and had as much fun as the kittens.

9. Learn More About Clicker Training for Cats

Clicker Trained Kitten Doing Sit Up
Photo Credit: © Amy Shojai, CABC from "Complete Kitten Care"
Although I have a pretty good idea how clicker training works, and have read the "bible" on Clicker Training for Cats,my hands-on practice with it has been confined to the first "click-treat" session, which the older cats readily learned and enjoyed. This year, I resolve to set aside time several days a week to practice clicker-training with the kittens.

10. Make Cuddling a Daily Event

Photo Credit: © Franny Syufy
I need a daily cuddling session with each of my cats. My cats need it too, even if a couple of them don't quite "get it" yet. I'll follow Amy Shojai's advice and we'll all make cuddling a daily practice.

I'll get plenty more practice with my little adopted girl, Jenny, who may feel superfluous because of the new kittens.

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