5 Tips to Create Your Cat’s Ideal Home Environment

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Create Your Cat's Ideal Home Environment

Unlike humans, cats should be encouraged to play with their food. A great way to do this is to take yogurt containers (the kind with a reusable lid) and cut out small holes. Put pellets of dry food in the covered container and let the cat play with it, rattling and batting it until he's finally able to make the food drop out.

Back in the day, cats foraged for food anywhere from five to six hours a day. A cat might have eaten 10 mice a day, so he worked hard to capture those meals. Hunting kept the cat active and his predatory instincts sharp. Portion sizes stayed small and the cat ate several times a day.

Contrast this with the bowl of food you put out for your cat. If you eliminate hunting, you also eliminate exercise, causing obesity and poor health. After all, if you could eat whenever you wanted with minimal activity, wouldn't you be overweight? That's one reason obesity levels among people are so high!

A cat's need for water is also complex. By nature, it's an either-or situation; either the cat looks for food or for water but not both. After all, if you're trapping a mouse, can you stop for a drink? A full bowl of water next to your cat's food can lead to dehydration because the cat might continually choose food over water.

So, get creative. Instead of overflowing bowls of water and food side by side, set smaller bowls throughout the house, in high and low places to encourage exploration and climbing. A good rule of thumb? For each cat, place one food bowl and one water bowl in separate areas, plus a few extras to encourage exploration and roaming. Make food contraptions using boxes, small containers or paper bags so the cat has to work or play to get the food. These simple steps encourage exercise, agility and hunting, challenges that a cat loves and needs.

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