Contrary to what those tired old stereotypes say (cats are aloof; cats want to be left alone; cats don’t bond with people, etc.), many felines are total love bugs. Many cats crave affection from humans and will return the love. However, because every cat is an individual, some will naturally be more affectionate than others. It depends on several factors. Some things simply can’t be changed, such as inborn personality traits and the way they were treated in the past by other humans before you. Luckily, a third factor – the things you do with and for your cat – can absolutely change the level of affection you get from them. It may take time, patience, understanding and determination, but improvements can be made. Here are some things you can do to develop a stronger bond with your cat and encourage them to be more affectionate.
Meet Their Basic Needs
This has to be the very first thing, because when you meet your cat’s needs they are happy. And a happy cat will naturally feel more affectionate toward the humans who are meeting her needs. See how it’s all one big circle? So make sure the litterbox is scooped daily and provide several types of scratching posts, an assortment of cat toys, access to fresh clean water, and a high quality food in the flavors your cat finds palatable.
During this time of year, it’s so hot where I live that if I’m not working in my home office, chances are good that I’m tucked into a nook somewhere with a fan blowing in my face and a book glued to my hands. My summer reading list has revealed some memorable protagonists, and not all of them are of the two-legged variety. In fact, some of my favorite characters, not surprisingly, happen to be four-legged.
That’s right, in some books dogs play an essential role in the plot progression. Sometimes the entire story centers on the canine, while in other stories he is merely doing what he does best, being a faithful companion and loyal sidekick to his human. Here are a few of my favorite dogs found in literature.
With a list like this, you almost have to start with Buck from Jack London’s The Call of the Wild. This canine was a principal character in this classic 1903 book. Buck was living a leisurely life as a domesticated dog during the Klondike Gold Rush period when, being a St. Bernard-Scotch Collie mix, he was stolen and forced to work as a sled dog. This heroic one-time-pet begins to transform into a more primal, animalistic creature in order to survive at the hands of cruel humans and conditions.
Finally, Buck is rescued by John Thornton and the two forge an incredibly close relationship. Buck gets the chance to repay the debt by rescuing Thornton from a frozen river. But in the end, Buck’s beloved human is killed and he returns to his primal nature by answering the call of the wild. I fell in love with Buck the first time I read his name, and have loved him ever since. As you can probably tell, this book had a profound effect on me as a child.
Are you more apt to notice a dog or cat walking along the street, but totally miss seeing a human standing on the sidewalk? Do you get all misty eyed as a brave firefighter scrambles down a tree clutching a frightened kitty close to his chest, or do you even see the firefighter because your focus is on the meowing cat? Does finding a human hair in your food gross you out, but you have no problem finding a dog or cat hair?
If you answered yes to any of those questions, then you’re a bona fide animal lover! Read on for more humorous examples of “You know you’re an animal lover if…”
*Your pet’s Facebook page has way more “friends” than your own page.
*You have so many pictures of your pet on your phone that photos of your human family members are relegated to a miscellaneous file. More embarrassing is discovering you don’t have a single photo of your human family on your phone.
*You wear animal themed jewelry, slippers or T-Shirts, and canine or feline paintings and knick-knacks are proudly displayed around the house. Your favorite coffee cup is an animal themed “treasure” you picked up while on vacation – with matching teapot.
*Vacations are planned around pet-friendly hotels, campsites or parks.
Your dog can’t tell you if their ears are hurting or bothering them, so it’s important to learn how to spot the symptoms and signs of any possible ear irritation or infection. Visual changes in the ears and/or your dog’s behavior will tell you that there may be a problem you need to treat.
A dog’s ear is different in formation than a human ear. We have tubes that are situated and drain out horizontally. A dog has an ear canal that is more vertical than ours. Things get trapped in their ears. Ear infections can be caused by bacteria or a yeast problem. Extra ear hair, excess wax, pests such as ear mites, foreign matter such as dirt that gets imbedded in their ear and even allergies are some things that can irritate a dog’s ears.
It’s a good idea to check your dog’s ears periodically when grooming or bathing them, or after a play session outdoors. Also, if you have small children who play with the dog, kids are curious and sometimes stick things where they don’t belong, which might include your dog’s ears.
Dog parks are secure areas where your pet can race around with his friends and play off leash. It’s a great way for your dog to interact with other canines in a social environment. However, dog parks also come with some risks that could affect your pet’s health and behavior.
When a dog is having fun at the dog park, he may not stop when he gets overheated. Hot, humid days can zap the energy from humans and animals in the same way. Add in a heat index that makes it feel even hotter, and a warm dog can have a hard time trying to cool down. Make sure your dog has access to plenty of fresh drinking water and shade, and watch for signs of heatstroke.
Depending on age, health and whether he’s wet or dry, a dog can suffer from hypothermia on colder days even when the temperature is above freezing. Hypothermia can set in at temperatures as high as 50 degrees. There’s a risk for humans and animals whenever the body loses more heat than it generates. If your dog’s core body temperature falls below 90 degrees, he’s at risk of developing mild to severe hypothermia. Dogs don’t worry about how hot or cold it is when they are playing and having fun. As a responsible pet owner, it’s important to know the symptoms of hypothermia.
It’s been 10 years, but I still remember the look a friend gave me after I expressed dismay that her “poor cats” were never allowed to go outside. At the time, all of my cats, past and present, had the freedom to go out as much as they wanted. I actually thought it was a bit unkind that my friend was depriving her cats of the outdoors, and when I said her cats could never be happy living indoors, that’s when I got “the look.” She vehemently disagreed, and it was clear we’d never see eye to eye.
A lot has changed since then. For starters, I now know that I was dead wrong about indoor-only cats not being happy. Secondly, I’ve changed my practice of allowing my cats unlimited access to the outdoors. It’s a personal decision we all have to make for our own cats. I just came to the conclusion that for me, the risks of allowing them outdoors outweighed the benefits. It’s been proven that indoor cats live longer and healthier lives, and I wanted my feline friends to be with me for as long as possible. However, I worried about their emotional state because I still struggled with the idea that indoor cats could be happy.
What I have found, after years of research and personal experience, is that some indoor cats will be just as happy as they could by having access to the outdoors, and some will not. There is no one size fits all answer; it really depends on several factors.
The personal opinions and/or use of trade, firm, corporation or brand names, in this blog is for the information and convenience of the reader. Such use does not constitute an official endorsement or approval by CANIDAE® Natural Pet Food Company of any product or service to the exclusion of others that may be suitable. All opinions in this blog are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® Natural Pet Food Company.