March 28th is National Respect Your Cat Day! Can you imagine – shouldn’t that be every day?
The History of Housecats
Two years ago mom came across a great article in the New York Times written by Abigail Tucker who thoroughly dissected this feline holiday from supposed inception to current times. According to her research, it is claimed that the holiday dates back to 1384 and Richard II of England who forbid the consumption of cats! YIKES! Thank goodness someone spoke up!
Through the centuries, we figured out that staying close to humans benefited us in the long run with food and warmth, starting out as ratters and farm cats and, slowly, through time, moving into the house.
We adapted our “wild sides” to become housecats…they call it self-domestication! And humans just went along with it and grew to love us for all of our mesmerizing feline ways. As we say, you humans fell under our kitty spell!
Fast-forwarding to present times, most house cats are living the indoor life as per most of the people mom talks to. More and more of you are getting on board with the idea that we do not have to go outside, considering all the dangers that we can encounter outside leading to injury, disease and even death. But an indoor life with no exercise or entertainment can contribute to obesity and a depressed cat.
Bring The Outside Inside
So if we aren’t going outside, how can we still experience all those things that we like to do that provide the stimulation we need…like stalking and pouncing, hunting and chasing prey, and climbing to high places so we can survey our kingdom?
Since you say you love us and marvel at our mysterious ways, then show your respect, and create some areas and activities that can replicate our ancestral ways of playing and being on the hunt.
Start with hiding some treats in the many available “cat feeding toys” that are on the market – mom puts treats in a plastic ball with openings for the treats to fall out as we bat it around the floor…we still get our normal fresh, raw food for breakfast and dinner, but playing with these toys spark our hunting and pouncing instincts midday.
Find a designated wall near a window and let us claim it as our climbing wall…leave some space on an open bookcase, or add some steps to the wall for us to get to greater heights! Invest in a vertical cat condo with different levels for us to sit on. We call windows our version of television with endless changing channels of wildlife, birds and people passing by.
However, be sure to have a couple of quiet zones for us to retreat to when the noise and commotion in the house get to be too much - a cozy bed or blanket tucked into a quiet corner is all we need. Beau and I slink into mom’s closet when we want to retreat from the scene!
Feed us separately if possible. Cats do not like to eat in groups and prefer solitary dining. Beau eats in the kitchen and I eat in the bathroom.
And have at least 1 litter box per cat – and one extra if you have the room. Beau and I have 3 boxes in our 3-story house.
And for the ultimate respect that will provide some exercise and entertainment – if you are going to adopt a cat – adopt TWO – we are not solitary animals necessarily and can get bored and lonely when left alone for long stretches of time while you are out working, etc. Having a playmate will help keep us active and alert. Beau and I run the length of the house chasing each other every morning!
Be sure to check with your vet as to whether you should adopt a male or female cat depending upon the personality and sex of your current kitty. Mom says most times the cats will adapt to each other and become best buddies!
So, you see, it is very easy to respect us kitties when you create the lifestyle and ambiance we crave and need by nature!
And if you want to read more about how we claimed our destiny, read the book “Lion in the Living Room: How House Cats Tamed Us and Took Over the World” by Abigail Tucker.
Just remember dogs have masters…and cats have staff!