Bubba, pictured here, took many trips to the vet during his life, especially during the last two years of his life. They were either routine followup appointments for his hyperthyroidism, or wild emergency trips, but each of them was necessary.
My own criteria for When to Call the Vet is a sound one, and I'll continue to follow it.
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 I did just yesterday. 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.
In addition to making our home safe from harmful *things*, I'll take steps to assure that each cat has a "safe place" for refuge and quiet, where he or she can retreat when necessary.
Cats are at their very best when they are just being cats. They are each unique individuals and I will accept the fact that Billy is a "man's cat;" and Joey is shy and needs lots of encouragement. Jenny, now that she is my indoor kitty, is having a rough time at being accepted; and Jaspurr, alpha cat that he is, and Jenny's nemesis, has an entirely different personality than any of his housemates. That's the way it should be, and they accept me as the one who provides their sustenance and as many purrs as she can elicit.
That's not to say that I won't continue to carefully integrate Jenny into the family, in the hopes that she and Jaspurr will eventually coexist peacefully.
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. Since Jenny has moved in permanently, I have been mostly responsible for cleaning her personal litter box, kept in the master bathroom. In recent weeks, I've been lax about scooping daily, which is unforgivable. Jenny deserves better than that. I'm going to make it a point to scoop her poop daily, and check the pad in her Breeze Litter System tray at least every other day, so Jenny won't be forced to tiptoe in a soiled box. I'll also start helping Lance more frequently with the boy's boxes, using my Litter Box Maintenance Tutorial as a guideline.
We'll be more careful about cleaning them too, and replacing worn motors when necessary.
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.
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.
8. Give Them Toys to Challenge Their Abilities
Our cats are all extremely inquisitive. Billy, especially, seems to have superior intellect. He sits quietly in a corner and watches and observes everything that goes on around him, earning him the title of "little watcher cat." Billy was especially quick to figure out the maze presented by the Peek-a-Prize Toy Box. I'll be on the lookout this year for similar toys that will challenge his intellect and abilities.
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 try the Scoop and Snuggle technique, described by Colleen Patrick, and we'll all make cuddling a daily practice.
Jenny is a good candidate, because she loves to snuggle close, but only on her own terms. That's okay. I'll settle for what I can get. Billy still is a holdout though.