Every now and then my mother, a true non-pet person if ever there was one, says something along the lines of “Your cats sure are spoiled.” I smile and say “thank you.” I know she doesn’t mean that as a compliment, but to me it definitely is. If I am spoiling my cats, it means I am doing everything I can to make sure they are happy and healthy, and feel loved and appreciated.
Unlike spoiled children who run the risk of becoming brats who feel and act entitled, spoiled pets are just contented creatures who have a wonderful life. Are they thankful for it? I’m sure there are those like my mother who believe animals don’t have the capacity to feel thankful, or happy or sad either, for that matter. But we know better, don’t we?
Who among us can say that we haven’t seen looks of sheer joy on the faces of our pets? The greatest thing about making a pet happy is that it’s actually quite easy. They don’t ask for much other than to be well fed and well loved – now, how hard is that?
I do, however, like to go above and beyond the basics of food, shelter and affection to keep my cats happy at all times. What that means is that I look for the little things that they like, and whenever possible I provide those things.
Once you know your pet as an individual, it’s really easy to see what floats their boat. My cat Rocky is a foodie. So of course he gets premium quality CANIDAE cat food that not only provides what he needs for optimum health but tastes amazing (well, I’ve not tried it myself, but I’ve seen the way Rocky inhales it, so I can only assume).
Aside from that, though, are those little things I mentioned. If I’m eating corn on the cob, I will toss Rocky a few kernels. He gets the last lick of my yogurt, and a tiny bite of turkey from my sandwich. As long as I know my food is safe for cats, I’m happy to share those small morsels with him from time to time, because I can plainly see how happy it makes him. They add very minimal calories to his diet, but go a long way toward filling up his “happy meter.”
For Annabelle, being brushed and hugged is what keeps her happy meter full. No matter how busy I might be on any given day, I always make time for that. My philosophy is, Why have a pet if you aren’t willing to make time for the things they love?
For my wild-at-heart cat Mickey, happiness is a warm sun puddle. Although I would rather he stay indoors 24/7, I allow him a little leeway there, because I know how much he loves being able to lie out on the deck on a sunny day. He’s 15 now and still in excellent health, and I really believe that being happy contributes to his longevity.
Recently, I entered a contest that asked pet owners to describe how they kept their pets happy. Here’s what I wrote, on the fly: “I keep my cat happy by giving her everything her furry little heart wants. Petting and brushing? Check. Lots of kisses and hugs? Check. A warm and cozy cat bed? Absolutely! A cat tree with a window view? Why, yes! My chair or my lap, whenever she wants? Of course! Pets are easy to please, and it pleases me to provide the things my cat wants. She is one happy, lucky kitty!”
I didn’t win anything, but that’s OK. I’m already a winner because I have three happy cats. If someone thinks I’m spoiling my cats by providing the things that make them happy, so be it. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
What about you? How do you keep your pet happy?
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