"Punishment" is not in your cat's vocabulary. Positive reinforcement of good behavior -- with treats, attention and verbal praise -- solves most kitty behavioral problems.read more
If you’re being completely honest, those reindeer antlers you made Oscar wear during the holidays were probably more for your benefit than his. And while there’s no doubt he looked adorable, it might be time to think of some ways to gain back favor with your favorite feline.
Have no fear; we found seven ways to spoil your cat that he’s sure to love.
1. Keep your cat active by engaging in fun activities every day. Play fetch with small crumpled up pieces of tin foil or paper, or have him chase a toy, a string or a piece of yarn. Remember, even our most docile house pets actually come from a long line of wild cats, and it’s in their DNA to want to hunt, chase and pounce.
2. While it may make us squirm, giving your cat a piece of raw meat (poultry or beef that has been deboned) will improve his teeth and gum health, and he’ll really enjoy it. Just be sure to always check with your vet before you add to or change your cat’s diet.
3. Brushing and petting your cat is good for her coat and helps to cut down on hairballs. Additionally, most cats love it. Try petting your cat behind the ear, under the chin and on her back above her tail. She’ll let you know you’re doing a good job by purring and/or nudging you for more.
4. If you’ve ever found furry friend lounging in your suitcase before a trip, you know that cats love to explore and snuggle in small spaces. Give your kitty hours or play by providing her with an old shoebox, packing box or paper grocery bag.
5. The flowering herb known as catnip is in the mint family, and it provides seventy percent of cats with a blissed-out 10 to 15 minutes of fun. When presented with catnip or a catnip-filled toy, many cats will purr, drool, roll around and/or meow. Some cats get a little sillier after catnip, while others get very mellow. Once the initial reaction is through, the cat won’t have a similar reaction to catnip again for about an hour or so.
6. Allow them a safe spot to perch and look out windows. Cats love to observe, and this is never more true than when they get to watch birds and butterflies outside. If there’s a chair or couch in front of your window that you’re worried will get dirty or full of fur, put down an easy-to-wash blanket where the cat can sit and be occupied for hours.7. Cats love to scratch, so be sure you have a designated scratching post or surface for them to use. Not only does scratching help them maintain their claws, but it’s also a way that they mark their territory. Cats actually have scent glands in their paws, and by scratching they leave behind their odor for other cats to pick up. Also, it feels good! Scratching gives cats a full-body stretch, which you’ll often see them do after they get up from a nap.
Lisa M. Gerry is a freelance writer. Her childhood cat, Rockamundo, was named after a Kentucky Derby horse, but his ample size earned him the nickname "The Cat and Two Thirds” at the vet.