What do cats like? Playing, scratches, catnip and much more. A look at the top things you can do for your cat to make him happy and content.
Playing isn't just for kittens, most cats love to play well into adulthood. Playing enables your cat to tune into his hunting instinct, get some exercise and have a little fun. Different cats have different playing preferences. Some love to chase a laser, others enjoy the wand type toys, others enjoy a game of fetch. Try a range of toys and games and see what your cat likes best.
Bags and boxes
This could have gone in the same category as playing, but I felt it needed its own separate section. Cats seem to have an absolute love of jumping in and playing in paper bags and cardboard boxes. It's such an entertaining (and cheap) way for your cat to spend an afternoon. So, next time you go shopping, don't throw out that paper bag, put it in the floor and watch your cat have a little fun.
Love and attention
Most cats enjoy human attention and companionship. Some are more independent than others but most will not turn down a conversation or a stroke and scratch if they're given the opportunity. Not only is this good for your cat, but it is shown to lower blood pressure in humans too.
So make sure you find some time every day to have a chat and a stroke with your cat. He will love you all the more for it.
Image Jon Ross, Flickr
I have found that almost all cats enjoy not only gentle strokes but scratches too. Most of us know that cats love to be scratched under the chin, that is guaranteed to get a positive reaction. I have also discovered that cats love to be scratched on the spine, just in front of the base of the tail. All the cats I have ever shared my home with have enjoyed both chin and back scratches. Other cats (but not all) enjoy having their belly rubbed and scratched.
Catnip is a herb belonging to the mint family. Up to 50% of cats enjoy the high that catnip induces in them. It is perfectly safe for your cat to enjoy this "legal high". It is easy to grow either in a pot, in a garden bed of if you are a brown thumb, you can buy dried catnip from most pet shops.
Catnip is also contained within a number of cat toys such as mice etc. So they can enjoy a game of cat and mouse and a little bit of a high at the same time.
Also known as stropping, cats like scratching. It helps them to stretch out their muscles and removes the outer layers of the claw. If not provided with an adequate scratching post, your cat may find alternative sources such as the sofa or stairs (that was a favoured location of my childhood cat).
When selecting a scratching post, make note of how your cat scratches as they have different preferences. Say he's scratching the sofa, is he scratching vertically (ie the front of the sofa) or horizontally (ie the arm of the sofa)? Finding out which way your cat likes to scratch is a good idea so that you can choose the perfect scratching post for him.
Image netzanette, Flickr
A lot of cats love to chew on grass. The reason still isn't entirely understood but it is believed that they either are trying to get certain vitamins or minerals in the grass or that the roughness of it acts as a mild irritant to the stomach, helping them to pass a hairball.
Unfortunately, cats don't always know the difference between good plants and bad plants, so it is up to us to ensure that all toxic plants stay out of the house. If your cat is indoors and/or has access to a cat enclosure, why not plant some catnip AND some grass for your cat to nibble on. He will thank you for it.
The two main species of cat grass referred to are Dactylitis Glomerata (also known as Orchard Grass or Cock's Foot) and Avena sativa (common oat, cat oat). Other common "types" of grass are often referred to as "cat grass" include barley and wheatgrass.
I find it quite amazing that on a hot sunny day my cat likes nothing more than lying on the floor in front of the huge glass doors in full sun. I on the other hand (with much less insulating fur than he has) am retreating into the shadier parts of the house. I don't know why it is, but cats seem to love lazing around in the sun.
High up places
Cats love to be up high, some breeds more than others. Our cat Levi loves to sit on top of the kitchen cupboards. I don't even know how he gets up there. If you have a cat with a love of heights, there are a number of great cat trees on the market to meet kitty's needs. One Facebooker, Sara describes her cats love of heights...
They're never happier than when they're up so high that you can't reach them without a struggle. They squat there, smugly squinting at you, groom their paws, turn their back to you, flick their tail in your direction....they love being superior.
Most cats love companionship too, especially if you are away from the home for hours on a time. So if you work long hours, consider getting two cats. Some cats (not all) can and do get lonely and bored on their own.
Most cats and dogs also get along together if they are introduced from an early age. Our cat loves to snuggle with our Labrador, but he didn't get along with other cats.
Treats should be kept to a minimum or you risk developing a fussy or obese cat. Cat food is for cats, and that should make up 99% of your cat's diet. However, the occasional treat won't do your cat any harm. This is one way to encourage a sick kitty to eat. So, what foods do cats like?
Cheese, yoghurt, tuna, steak, scrambled eggs. A recent question on our Facebook page on what strange foods your cat likes included broccoli and cucumber.
Watching the wildlife
Well I'm sure most of them would like to be outside hunting the wildlife too, but that's not good for the animals in question or for your cat. A great number of cats are inside cats now but they do seem to still enjoy sitting by the window watching the birds flying around the garden. Our cat has just been watching a magpie swoop down and has been chattering away at it.
Cats sleep between 12-18 hours a day, what's not to like about that?