It is the time of gratitude. It can be difficult given all that 2020 has thrown at us, but sometimes it is healthy to take a step back and be grateful for all we have. As cat parents, we are grateful for kitty’s cuddles, antics, and camaraderie.
But are our cats thankful for us?
“We have the stigma that cats have this chronic, angry, despicable attitude toward people,” said Shadi Ireifej, DVM DACVS, Vettriage’s chief medical officer. “It’s not true. Basically they need us.”
So, while our cats may not be able to verbalize how grateful they are for you over a heaped Thanksgiving dinner with all the ingredients, you know they are. Dr. Ireifej gives a few reasons for this.
We keep you entertained
We domesticated cats, but they’re still hunters at heart. Because we love them, we want to help them be the best indoor versions of themselves.
“We show them that we understand this behavior by finding toys,” says Dr. Ireifej. “It leads to the cat becoming intrigued on a biological and evolutionary level where it can pretend to be chasing something.”
Think fish sticks, crinkle balls, catnip toys, and electric mice. Sometimes, like a toddler, Kitty will be more delighted with the box. Don’t think they’re ungrateful for the toy – know they’re just super grateful for the packaging.
“Cats will use it to hide and observe the environment. They give them the tools to express themselves on a feline scale and get back to their evolutionary roots,” says Dr. Ireifej.
We keep them hydrated
As well as feeding our cats (and sometimes investing in fun foods to use their natural instincts), we also make sure they stay hydrated. It’s an important job. When a cat is hydrated, its kidneys can clear toxins, prevent urinary tract infections, and the rest of its body can function properly.
But some kittens won’t slurp out of an old bowl. Parents of cats with picky drinkers will go to great lengths to find something else that will work. According to Dr. Ireifej’s experience is often a water fountain.
“If you can imagine going back to its biological roots, a large cat like a lion or a tiger will find ways to drink water outdoors while running or in a still body of water,” he says. “By developing unique ways that cats can have an interest in drinking water and promote what they would have done in the wild, we can buy these cat water fountains and keep them hydrated.”
We pull out all the stops to keep them healthy
Cat life expectancy has increased over the years from seven years in the 1980s to about 15 years today.
Part of this is that pet parents are doing more to ensure cats receive regular wellness checkups and vaccinations, and invest in quality care in the event a cat becomes sick.
“We show how much we care about them,” says Dr. Ireifej. “People are looking for more experts in a particular area of veterinary medicine. You are looking for state of the art hospitals. “
If nothing else, we love our cats.
“Humans provide them with food, water, and emotional stimulation,” says Dr. Ireifej. “They can show us that they are grateful when they bump their heads and purr.”
Even if the little lion is a hiding place, they are grateful that their human is there.
“The bond is huge,” says Dr. Ireifej. “Cats recognize that. It’s hard to have a loving household without the human part. “
Featured image: Dean Mitchell / Getty Images
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