Respect Your Cat Day

Happy Respect Your Cat Day!

How, you may ask, do we respect our cats?  Here are some ways to do just that.

First, respect that they are cats.  That means they want to catnap, they want to hunt, they want to play, they want to climb, they want to scratch, they want to sunbathe, they want to groom, etc.  Don’t discourage these things.  Instead, encourage them to do them in the proper place.

For instance, if they like to climb, make sure they have a cat tree and/or cat highways along the walls.  If you can’t afford those, at least make sure they have places they can jump up on like side tables, bookcases, refrigerators (if they’re allowed in the kitchen), fireplace mantles, window sills, and so on.  Our cats have one cat tree (I wish we could afford more), but they also have the window sill, the bookcase, the hutch, the backs of our couches, and several side tables they’re allowed to jump on to view the world from a vantage point where they feel safe.  It also allows them to get away from the dogs if they want.  Our dogs are great with our cats, but that doesn’t means the cats don’t want to get away from them sometimes.

Merlin On His New Cat Tree

Purchase or make scratching posts, scratch pads, scratch mats, and other materials they can scratch on without getting into trouble.  I would recommend having at least one in every room of the house, that way they have a place wherever they are to scratch as much as they want.

Scratching post

Buy them toys to play with and mimic hunting.  We have mouse toys with catnip in them that allows them to act like they’re hunting and catching prey.  We also have one fuzzy pink toy on a long rod that allows us to play with them where they can chase after it and jump around and pounce just as they would do with a bird, squirrel, or mouse if they were outdoor cats.  Remember, just because they’ve been raised indoors doesn’t mean they don’t still have those instincts to hunt.

Morgana and her mouse

Allow them the space to nap and sunbathe and groom without interruption.  These activities release endorphins in their brains, which makes them happy.  So if we allow them these activities without interrupting them, we’re letting them feel happy and content in their home.  A cat that grooms and naps and sunbathes is a very happy cat.  It means they feel safe.  It means they love their home and want to be happy there.

Merlin bliss face

Let them just be cats.

Second, if they don’t want to interact, don’t force it.  If they want space, give them space.  Let them decide if they want to come to you for petting and loves.  If they hiss or make unhappy sounds or flatten their ears, respect that they don’t want to interact right then and leave them be.  If they like being petted but not cuddled (like Morgana), pet them.  Don’t force them to cuddle.  If they like soft pets but not heavier ones, pet them softly.  If they like to play but only with certain types of toys, make sure those toys are available for them.  In short, respect what they like and not what you want them to like.

You can read all about forcing interaction in one of my earlier posts, here:

So let’s all respect our cats and not just on Respect Your Cat Day, let’s do it every day.  Happy Respect Your Cat Day!

How do you respect you cats?  Tell us about it in the comments below!

Have suggestions?  Leave a comment!

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