8 Tips For a Happier, Healthier Cat

Have you ever wondered what cats really need to be happy and healthy?

That’s Cat For, a partnership between Royal Canin and Cat Healthy, brings great cat owners great cat advice from Canada’s board-certificated, feline specialist veterinarians. You can submit a question about your cat, read other questions and answers, or explore articles to help you learn more about our furry companions.

We asked That’s Cat For to help us put together a list of the cat accessories that will keep your feline friend purring.*

Engage their wild instincts

Cats were born to hunt, and every meal caught in the wild is an exercise in problem-solving. And like cats in the wild, who would eat small meals throughout the day (because catching prey takes time!), cats should eat small, frequent, wet and dry meals throughout the day and night. Puzzle feeders meet their need to hunt, solve problems, and be rewarded for their effort with a tasty meal.

Help them stay hydrated

Have you ever noticed that your cat’s favourite spot to drink is your water glass? Rather than one water source, cats prefer multiple water stations around the house, away from their food and litter box. Place multiple, wide bowls around the house, and make sure to clean and refill them every day with fresh water. No one likes a dirty glass filled with stale water. If your cat waits beside the sink to get a drink from the tap, they might also enjoy a pet water fountain.

Keep their restroom clean

A cat’s bathroom should be clean. Scoop litter at least once a day. You should try to have at least one more box than you have cats, even if you only have one. Extra boxes decrease the chance of box avoidance by providing alternative options if one box is not satisfactory.

So which box to pick? Most cats do not like feeling trapped in a litterbox, so very big, open litter trays are recommended. And when it’s time to fill it, most cats like litters that most closely resemble soil or sand.

Indulge their need to scratch

Scratching is important to cats. It allows them to stretch, keep their nails trimmed, and to purrsonalize their home with their own special scent, known as pheromones. Scratching surfaces should be solid and stable, so your cat can really dig their claws in.

Provide a perch

Cats are great hunters, but they are also prey animals to larger species in the wild. Having shelves or a tower or tree to climb allows cats to observe their kingdom from on high for possible threats (“I’m not so sure about the vacuum cleaner, I think I’ll hide up here for a while!”), and prey (“Look at the birds and squirrels outside the window!”). Towers, shelves, and trees are also a great way for your cat to get some exercise.


Enhance playtime with toys

Similar to letting them hunt for their dinner, cats enjoy hunting their toys as well. Some cats prefer dangling toys that mimic bird movement, while others prefer small furry toys they can chase and throw, like mice. Look for toys that don’t have parts that can be swallowed or hooks that could get caught on your feline friend. Don’t be alarmed if your cat only plays with their brand new toy for a few minutes. Cats play with things for small periods of time before moving on to their next activity (say, a nap?) You can also rotate the toys that are available to reduce toy fatigue.

Catnip, valerian root, silver vine and Tatarian honeysuckle can all make your cat’s life more enjoyable. While producing the most pronounced response, not all cats respond to catnip. Look for toys filled with these aromatic plants, or buy packages of powdered or dried leaves to sprinkle on a rough mat for your cat to enjoy a good roll, use to fill baby socks (tied with a tight knot), or to refresh older toys. Honeysuckle can also be found in the form of wood slices and twigs, which some cats particularly enjoy.

When they’re done with playtime, reward their efforts with a treat or two. Just be sure not to overdo it: no more than 10% of your cat’s daily calories should come from treats!

Set up a dreamy bed

The best bed for your cat will depend on what they like, and no matter what that is, they will want to be able to observe and feel safe when they’re ready to sleep. Look for hints about your cat’s preferences by taking note of where they usually like to nap. Making a cat carrier into a secure, pleasant place for rest and observation can help take the fear out of trips to the vet or on vacation. Look for a sturdy carrier with a top that can be completely removed by being unclipped or unzipped.


Make sure they make it back home

Even indoor cats will benefit from having their ID ready in case of an emergency. Their name and your phone number on a tag attached to a breakaway collar can help ensure your cat comes back from all of their adventures (accidental or otherwise!)

No matter which products you choose, keeping cats healthy means meeting physical and emotional needs. In addition to making your home a kitty paradise, forming a strong relationship with your vet will help you ensure your cat enjoys a happier, healthier life. For more advice that is just for cats, visit That’s Cat For/Ce Chat Vous Dit.

*Specific product recommendations contained within have been selected by Chico Pet Stores and are not endorsed by That’s Cat For, Royal Canin or Cat Healthy.