Everyone who loves cats knows how unique they are. To keep them healthy, caretakers need to address their special needs.

cat-woo-in-cat-treeWhen cats are stressed they can become ill and may vomit, house soil, or not eat. The most common cat bladder disease is caused by stress. Cats are stressed when we don’t meet their basic needs.

Although cats are social animals, they are solitary hunters. They get stressed when they have to share resources. This includes food, water, litter pans, scratching posts and places to hide and sleep. This becomes very important when we have more than one cat in a household.

Everyone likes a clean rest room, including your cat! That means having at least one litter pan per cat. Be sure to scoop or clean at least once a day. We recommend doing it in the morning, when you get home from work, and one more time before bed.

Most cats like fine grain clay type clumping litter best. Cats are incredibly sensitive to scents and prefer litter that is unscented. The litter pan won’t smell bad if you keep it clean enough, so there really isn’t a need for deodorized litter.

Since cats are solitary hunters, they do not like to share food and water. Be sure to feed cats separately in a quiet spot.

All cats need a sturdy scratching post. Scratching is a normal cat behavior and lets the cat leave their marking scent, stretch their muscles and groom their nails. Since cats like to scratch when they wake from a nap, having a scratching post near their resting areas is ideal. Put another one near any furniture they chose to scratch as well.

It may take some trial and error to find out what your cat likes best. Most cats like rope, carpet or sisal material scratching posts. Your cat may prefer a vertical or horizontal scratching posts, so start out with both.

Cats also need places to hide and sleep that are private, comfortable and up off the floor. Cat trees are great options. Be sure to have more than one if you have multiple cats at home!

All cats need to play every day if they don’t have opportunities to hunt. Chose a variety of toys and see what your cat likes best.

Here at Earlysville Animal Hospital, we have earned “Cat Friendly Practice” certification and are here to answer your questions about caring for your cat. Feel free to call us at (434) 973-9699 at any time!

Other great resources include The Ohio State University's Indoor Pet Initiative and The American Association of Feline Practitioners' website