Because cats can seem relatively low-maintenance when compared to dogs, we can sometimes be guilty of not focusing enough on them, assuming they’ll be content as long as they get a few of the best cat treats, or doing things they don’t like without really thinking about them. Is your cat bored, for example? It might not even occur to us if they are or not, because they don’t express it in the same way as a dog might, for example.
But fortunately, one certified cat behavior expert has outlined three things we should stop doing with our cats in a recent Instagram post. The advice Maria Kozlova, of Cats Explained, offered certainly gave us some food for thought…
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“Don’t force your cat to cuddle,” Kozlova begins, with the first piece of advice. “Cats appreciate affection, but unlike dogs, they prefer it on their terms. Give them the option to leave”. And, cuddling isn’t one of the main ways cats show love and affection. If you want to find out how to know if your cat loves you, watch out for head bumps, playful, gentle, bites, and slow blinks.
Your cat may love to fall asleep on you, or follow you around, but they may not always be in the mood to cuddle.
The second tip from Kozlova is not to overfeed your kitty. “If you have a busy schedule,” she advises, “Consider investing in an automatic feeder”. When you overfeed cats, you risk them becoming overweight and leaving them susceptible to various health conditions. If you’re unsure how much to feed your cat, this vet led advice might help: How much should I feed my cat?.
And finally, how long can you leave your cat alone? Kozlova says not to leave your cat alone for more than 24 hours. While cats generally cope better with being home alone than dogs, being alone for long periods of time can stress them out.
However, if you do have to leave your cat home alone, there are things you can do to keep them safe and happy while you’re gone. It might go without saying, but don’t forget to organize a pet sitter to check in on your cat and maybe give them a fuss. If possible, keep drapes and shades open, too. It might be instinct to close them when you leave the house, but many cats love to watch the world go by – it keeps them occupied.
In many ways, owning a cat isn’t meant to be a chore, and the rewards certainly outweigh your responsibilities. But to make your cat even more happy and healthy, it’s worth keeping Kozlova’s expert tips in mind.
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Adam is a freelance journalist covering lifestyle, health, culture, and pets, and he has five years' experience in journalism. He's also spent the last few years studying towards undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in journalism. While a cat person at heart, he's often visiting his parents' Golden Retriever, and when he's not writing about everything pets he's probably drinking coffee, visiting a cat cafe, or listening to live music.