Friday, March 14, 2014

5 ways to help your cats prepare for spring

Beorn and Jasper the cats resting in their bed

Spring has finally come to Oregon, and with it comes kitty spring fever. This is the time when my cats seem to go absolutely bonkers, running around the house or the yard at high speed and mewling at each and every bug they happen to see flying by. They love the warm weather, and since many of my cats are (to put it plainly) pretty old, I love to see them getting frisky. These are 5 things I do each year to help them enjoy spring just a little bit more.

1. Wash out the cat beds. 

My indoor cats must share their beds with two dogs who often have muddy paws, and the outdoor crew often doesn't clean up well, either. As a result, the beds I have scattered around are often pretty filthy in the springtime, and while I know we have rains yet to come, it's nice to herald spring with bedding that's fresh and clean. A good washing with hot water and bleach does the trick for the beds I have.

Eamon the cat in the sunshine

2. Brush, brush, brush your cats. 

Warmer weather means a reduced need for a thick fur coat. Long-haired cats like Lucy need a thorough combing in the spring, so the hairs they shed won't get tangled up in healthier fur and cause mats, but all cats benefit from a quick brush during the summer months. I use a standard grooming comb, as it's easy to clean and my cats seem to enjoy it, but any sort of slicker brush could do the trick just as well.

Lucy the cat eating her dinner

3. Assess weight (and meal size).

I like to keep my pets at the proper weight (and I've written about that in reference to my dogs), but the cats can also pack on the pounds in the winter. There's just less to do when the weather is cold, and my cats seem reluctant to leave their warm beds when they know they'll be exposed to chilly air. As a result, it's not uncommon for my cats to emerge from the winter months with a few extra inches of flab, and that blubber will make them suffer in the heat of the summer. I feel for ribs and look down on my cats from above, just to ensure they're the right size, and if they're too big, we cut meals back just a touch.

Eamon and Maggie the cats in an open window

4. Open up the windows. 

Indoor cats obviously love to have open windows, as they can see out and smell the flowers. But, outdoor cats also enjoy having the windows held wide open, as it allows them to hear the sounds from inside the house and smell the meals we're cooking. As soon as the weather climbs above 50 degrees, I've got the windows and doors cranked to let everyone enjoy.

Eamon the cat on the couch

5. Make time for snuggles. 

I'm not sure why, but my cats seem to seek out affection more often when the weather is a little warmer. They may simply enjoy the added attention, or they may be more compelled to move around when the air isn't quite so frigid. I try to set aside time to pet each and every one of them thoroughly, and I add in a few toys for those who like to play. They enjoy it, and so do I!

Enjoy the spring!

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