Happy Healthy Cat Month was created by the Catalyst Council to improve the lives of cats by focusing on happiness. There’s no question that healthy cats are happier cats, and one of the things this initiative aims to do is highlight the importance of regular veterinary care for cats. However, Happy Cat Month goes beyond physical health and wants to ensure that each cat has a happy, joyful, fulfilling life.
Happy Cat Month focuses on four major categories:
- Health: regular veterinary care
- Cats are viewed as independent and able to take care of themselves
- Cats are assumed to be healthy if they don’t appear to be sick
- Cats living indoors are thought to be safe from illness and injury
The truth is that cats do need your help! They are not too independent for medical care and they especially require preventive care veterinary visits because it’s in their nature to hide symptoms when they become ill. By the time your cat is showing symptoms, whether it’s always indoors or not, they’ve probably been sick for a long time, and a veterinary visit may be way overdue and far more stressful by then. Regular check-ups ensure that a veterinarian can catch early signs of illnesses before symptoms show up and for that reason, veterinarians advise check-ups for adult cats at least once a year.
- Enrichment: providing an environmentthat lets cats be cats and provides stimulation and entertainment
A happy enriched cat is one who feels both comforted and stimulated by its environment, which involves places of safety and comfort, ways to express feline instincts, stimulation to remain active, and engaging toys and interaction.
Though your cat may seem happy lying about the house and receiving endless amounts of affection, it’s important to remember that cats are predators and explorers by nature. Providing opportunities for your cat to act on these feline instincts is a core component of an enriching environment.
- Safety: keep cats safe by keeping them indoors or by providing a safe outdoor experience and make sure they have some form of ID via a collar and/or microchip
Regardless if your cat lives indoors and never goes outside or if it only gets out when the door is open, all cats should carry their purrsonal ID at all times. The most easily recognized are snug-fitting collars with identification tags, which can be made with your pet’s name and information like your cellphone number or the microchip number. Cats get out of collars because many people are afraid to put them on properly. Once fitted, if you can slide more than one or two fingers under the collar, it needs to be tightened. Microchips are invisible and safe implants embedded over your cat’s shoulders and have a unique number encoded in the chip. When a missing cat is found, a scanner detects the number and (assuming you’ve registered the chip and kept your contact information current), you and your cat will be reunited!
- Value: appreciate cats for the amazing companions they are and for the many ways they enrich our lives
Owning a cat reduces stress and has health benefits. Spending time with a cat can boost your mood and reduce stress. Studies also show that the simple act of petting a cat can be beneficial to one’s health – both for the action itself and from the purrs that result.