Whether an independent soul or your constant companion, your feline friend needs good care to thrive. Here’s a look at what that means in your home.

  • Nutrition:  Your veterinarian can determine the right type and amount of food your cat needs to stay in a healthy weight range, but the environment you provide for meals is important, too. Putting food in a quiet area or offering it in toys like food balls or puzzles can make mealtimes more enjoyable.
  • Environmental enrichment:  Cats need to be in stimulating and comfortable surroundings, so be sure to provide plenty of toys, hiding spots, scratching posts and elevated resting areas in your home. And don’t forget the importance of one-on-one playtime with you. This will also give you the chance to watch for any changes in behavior.
  • Litter box needs:  Provide at least one litter box per cat—and in a multicat house, throw in one extra box for good measure. In general, cats prefer open litter boxes in a clean, quiet environment and unscented, clumping litter. Cats are also finicky, so it’s best not to switch up the brand and type of litter you use. And be sure to scoop the box at least once a day.
  • Grooming:  Cats are pretty good at keeping their coats in good condition, but they may need help when it comes to claw care. Your veterinarian can show you how to trim your cat’s nails. Even better, provide scratching posts for a DIY option—and an enrichment activity, too.
  • Travel and carrier acceptance:  It’s no secret that most cats dislike carriers, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Condition your cat to feel comfortable in a carrier at a young age, if possible. Leave the carrier out in the house and let your cat wander in and out of it. Also, take your cat on short rides in the car, so it won’t always associate getting in the carrier with a trip to the veterinarian.

(adapted from dvm360.com/felinecare)