In my work with cats, I find that there are often many different reasons that they are acting out. Many times it is because they are bored or have become unhappy due to household stresses. Sometimes their tummies are upset or we’ve gotten busy and aren’t paying as much attention to them as in the past. I can sometimes relate their urinating on shoes in your closet or pooping in your potted plants to what they are being fed. Like all companion animals, they can be a barometer for our own lives as they reflect our wellness or stress.
A happy cat's tummy equals a happy cat. Feed a holistic food that doesn’t contain wheat or corn and has no fillers, seaweed fillers, food dyes, meat by-products, synthetic vitamins, or preservatives that aren’t natural. I feed my cat the best kibble, non-GMO grains, and human-grade meats. I feed wet that has limited ingredients. Raw diets are great but require special care. A cat that is old or sick may not be able to handle the bacterial load. My cat refused to eat it but she does love some of the dehydrated raw foods.
I have worked with cats all over the country who are very overweight and very cranky. They don’t like to play, and they often are having lots of behavioral issues. When I suggest slowly changing the diet to a minimum ingredient wet food or high-quality kibble, we see great changes.
A better diet will help your cat have better health, especially as they get older. If your cat is on a special diet always ask the veterinarian before making any changes to your cat’s diet. Discuss supplements and herbs with your veterinarian, especially if your cat is already taking medicine.
There are hundreds of articles on the internet that can give you good solid advice on cat nutrition. There are also amazing veterinarians that are now incorporating holistic treatment into their practices and they are a great resource. Our animals are getting cancer more than ever before; we are what we eat, what enters our bodies through our skin, and through the air can affect our longevity and the longevity of our planet.
Indoor air pollution is harmful to everyone. We ingest the chemical cleaners we use to clean our homes through our skin. We breathe unnecessary chemicals into our lungs through scented candles, air fresheners, scented dryer sheets, etc. These products are toxic. The weed killers that we track into our homes on our shoes are poison to all living creatures. Please never use weed killers in your yard. They are deadly to weeds, people, bugs, bees, and animals.
Take a moment to look under your sink. We need to save ourselves, our animals and our planet by using natural products. Animals are what they eat and they also ingest these products through their feet, their noses, and their mouths. Even essential oils can be toxic to animals so be sure to research them before you infuse them. Our fur babies are the canaries in the coal mine. We must take notice.
Inappropriate peeing can be caused by urinary tract infections and must be checked out right away. A urine analysis is very important if your cat has started peeing around and you don’t know why. Especially if he has a history of urinary tract infections, crystals, or weak kidney function. Best to be careful and not be sorry later.
Sometimes the introduction of a new animal into the house can cause your kitty behavioral changes. Or perhaps your family has just had a baby and your cat is no longer the number 1 baby. Maybe your cat has arthritis and is getting cranky because he is in pain. If the behavior changes come on quickly, then a veterinarian visit is warranted. I have had more than one client not realize that their cat had an infection.
There are so many more issues, but these are the ones I have found to be most often the problems.
Cats, although we all know are very different from dogs, still, need to be loved and played with. I often hear, “My cat never plays with toys.” “I have never played with my cat, he is so independent ... he doesn’t need me.” “My cat only eats dry food and loves it.” “My cat stays in the bedroom all the time and only comes out to eat.” “My cat is fat and cranky.” “My cat was feral and is still afraid of everyone and sometimes even me.”
If you and your cat are suffering from any of these scenarios, then you can help to bring order back quickly into both of your lives. It is simple and not an expensive fix. It simply requires a little of your time and energy.
Cats need to attack and kill. They are cats and it is what they do. They love to hunt and kill; it is in their DNA. After the hunt is the feast and then the self-grooming and deep relaxation. Wand toys rule! We can simulate their natural prey drive and help them to release their pent-up energy, which can manifest as bad behavior. If your cat gets overstimulated when you play with a wand toy, get one with a long handle to keep your hands out of harm’s way.
When we get a cat running, hunting a toy on a stick, or running after a ball, they get to do what comes naturally. They get to run, grab and sink their teeth into their prey aka toy. They get to kick off the toy with their hind feet while clamping down with their jaws and front claws.
My sweet cat Matilda, who at one time wasn’t so sweet, goes nuts for a feather duster toy. I go with a long-handle version, because she is rough and I really don’t like playing with her all hunched over. When my body is comfortable I will play longer with her. If I’m getting scratched or my back hurts I don’t enjoy the game. I will stop playing. She needs to play rough or she gets wild with me and my guests and will randomly scratch me or put her teeth on me (very seldom does she clamp down, but no one enjoys it but Mathilda).
The Outward Hound Tail Teaser is one of my favorite wand dog/cat toys. It was originally a dog toy and I have been suggesting it for cats. They now call it a cat/dog toy. It has a long wand and a strong long Lanier cord with a stuffed toy on the end. I have had hours of fun with this toy. Matilda goes “WILD” for this toy. She hides in my plants and will sneak attack it, or she’ll go under a couch, and when it comes close swipe at it with her open claws. Every time she swats it she hears a good cat!
If your cat does sneak attacks on your ankles, this wand toy is a must. The more you get her to attack the wand toy the less she will attack you, she will get her aggression out on the toy and then go into a calmer state. You will bond in new and wonderful ways. Your cat will be having fun and you're shifting the energy from watching out for your ankles to having a great round of fun and games with your cat.
Cats need an interesting environment, especially indoor cats. Sleeping in a chair all day doesn’t burn calories and these cats are often suffering from depression.
When we make their environment more conducive to play, they get happy. I know a cat that loves to play in boxes. Her dad lines them up and she jumps from box to box. Add a wand toy into the equation and its wild and happy cat time.
Cats who are antisocial and can be a little aggressive around strangers can be calmed down by a rough play session before people get to your home. Get them running for the wand toy, and let them grab and attack it; it is a stress buster! If your cat is seriously aggressive, play with him and then put him away when your guests come. He will feel good and curl up in a ball and sleep. When he becomes really familiar with the game, you can slowly integrate him into a more social scene. If your guests are cat lovers that can play with the wand toy it will teach your cat that guests are fun!!!
Cat trees make cats happy, they love the different levels and it is satisfying for them to climb and rest in them. They especially love them if they have dangling balls and cubby holes. I know, who wants a big and ugly cat tree in their homes? News Blast! They make cat trees that look just like trees. Cats love them and they look like art. You can also get cat shelves, plastic window beds to extend your window ledges so that your cat has a safe window perch to watch the outside world go by.
If your budget is tapped, homemade toys are great too. Tin foil balls are great! My cat loves tennis balls. Cat nip mice are cheap and provide lots of playtime. A stick with a ribbon and a feather on the end is great, or a stick with a mouse-sized toy on the end. At the end of the day, I go on a wild cat toy round-up and put them in a basket where she can sort through them and then redistribute them all over the house.
The Happy Cat Therapy is so easy!
Kitty litter boxes must be clean. A cat’s sense of smell is very sensitive. The smell of old urine and feces is revolting to us all. Clay, perfumed, clumping litter is dusty, stinky, and does not decompose. There are so many other better choices on the market now which are nontoxic and compostable.
A water fountain keeps a cat drinking and they love the flow. They drink more so you won’t have as many urinary tract infections. They love sticking their toes in the water. Matilda will drink and play in the fountain. She no longer knocks over water glasses or vases and she doesn’t get constipated anymore.
Play with your cats until they walk away. If you do this 3 times a day, their behavior will shift. You will be their best friend and as a result, they will become much more affectionate.
Make your cat’s environment interesting. It’s amazing how much cats like it when they can climb and hide in a cat tree.
Feel good about your relationship with your cat. Your willingness to take special measures to make your cat's life happy and complete will bring you so much mutual contentment and your friendship will grow. If you feel angry, frustrated, and like you’ve had enough, your cat’s behavior will continue down the slippery slope of destruction. Cats love to be loved.
CinergE for Cats bodywork. I have been laying my hands on cats since I was 9 years old. I would catch wild barn kittens and tame them with the energy in my hands. Cats just like people hold onto physical tension and it feeds right into their moods. All of the touches that I teach are very light touches. The loving touches are on acupressure meridians so you will be helping their organs to heal too. When you keep your cat physically comfortable their minds will soften and their love for you will grow. If your cat gets too over-stimulated when you touch them, play with them first, feed them, and wait for them to go into a period of rest. Start slowly and build your cat up to a full treatment.
Beaming love to you!
– Cindy Brody