1. Care Credit. Care Credit is a credit card designed specifically for medical uses- accepted at doctors offices, dentists, and the like it is also accepted by many veterinarians. It is easier to get than many credit cards and offers the benefit of six months interest free financing for six months on purchases over $200. If you have an unexpected sick kitty emergency and a tight budget, this is a great way to get your furry little guy the care he needs. It is easy to apply online so that you can be prepared.
2. Cat fountain. Cats originated in the desert and are generally not great drinkers. Not drinking enough is hard on the kidneys for one, but it also frequently contributes to the large amount of kitty bladder problems that we see. Dilution is the solution to pollution, as they say, and if your kitty is making crystals in his urine, keeping him better hydrated can help flush them out. There are a wide variety of kitty fountains out there– running water can be more attractive to cats, it stays fresher, and it’s more fun, thus encouraging cats to drink more. (Adding canned food to their diet is also very beneficial for the same reasons). Drinkwell Fountains are among the most popular and they come in a variety of prices and designs.
3. Cat trees. Cat furniture comes in a huge variety of shapes, sizes, designs, and colors. There are some truly beautiful cat trees out there, and there are more that are designed simply for function. A cat tree allows your cat to make use of the vertical space in your home. Cats like to climb, they like to be up high, and they like to scratch. Cat trees give them an appropriate place to do all of these things. Placing it by a window makes it even more appealing- there’s so much for a cat to see out there!
4. The Furminator. Cats shed. Like crazy. Short-haired, long-haired it makes no difference. Some cats have trouble with hairballs because of all the fur they groom off and swallow, and that’s no fun for anybody. The Furminator comes in designs specific for both long-haired beauties and their short-haired counterparts. They remove an incredible amount of hair, so you must use them as directed and not over-brush any single area. But they can really cut down on the fur left around your house and the little squishy presents your cat coughs up for you from time to time.
5. The laser pointer. Cats love to play with laser pointers, chasing the dot here and there around the house. It plays into all of their hunting and chasing instincts and can be great fun for both the cat and the person in charge of the laser. This can become a frustrating game for cats if they never get to “catch” the dot, so you do want to allow them to win sometimes. And in some cases, cats can become terribly obsessed, so this is a game that should be played in moderation. It’s a great workout for a sedentary housecat though!
6. Feather Wand. Another great toy that nourishes the hunting and chasing instinct within your feline friend. These toys are avaiable in a multitude of designs at most petstores- some of them look like feather dusters on the end of a long thin stick, others have feathers dangling from a string. Whichever your cat finds more fun is the right choice. Tease and encourage your cat to chase this toy, encourage him to sit up on his hind legs and reach up to bat at it. Give him a full-body workout! And again, remember that to keep him interested and prevent frustration, you want to let him win sometimes. Let him grab those feathers and give them a few chomps before you gently detatch him and start the game again.
7. Food-dispensing toys. Obesity is a tremendous problem in housecats in our country, and one way to combat it is to feed limited amounts. And one way to make those limited amounts both more interesting and longer-lasting is to feed portions in toys made to dispense food as they are played with. There is a wide variety out there for dogs, but there seem to be less marketed toward cats, which is a real shame. Shopping for a small-dog sized toy may be the easiest option. Put your kitty’s kibble in the toy and encourage him to figure out how it works. This will play into his hunting instincts as well as his desire to eat. Gone for a long day at work? Leave one or two toys in various places around the house for kitty to discover during the day. It’ll keep him more active and it will keep his mind more engaged, resulting in a more satisfied and less annoying feline housemate.
8. Turbo Scratcher or other scratch pad. Cats need to scratch. It helps them to care for their claws, shed old claw coverings, as well as stretch their shoulders and backs. We often complain about cats scratching inappropriately, but far too often we don’t provide our cats with appropriate places to scratch that they find enjoyable. Cardboard scratching pads are available in a variety of sizes and designs, some laying flat on the floor, others at an angle. The Turbo Scratcher combines a cardboard scratch pad with a fun ball in a track that seems to be especially appealing to young cats. It is always good to get good habits instilled in them early!
9. Catnip mice. This is a classic, but it is still an extremely popular toy with cats and cat owners alike. Available in a wide variety of colors and sizes from realistic to neon, cats love to bat and chase these toys around (and some cats can be trained to retrieve them, which is fun!). The catnip makes them more appealing to many cats, and they seem to be a hit with nearly all cats. Plus they’re inexpensive, and that never hurts!
10. Cardboard boxes. Speaking of inexpensive. Just like young children who find the boxes more fun to play with than their expensive Christmas present, a lot of cats really enjoy cardboard boxes. They hide in them, they sleep in them, they lie in wait and pounce out of them. Some cats really enjoy scratching and biting them. The possibilites are endless and the supplies are cheap. Never underestimate the appeal of an empty cat-sized box.