1-The cat needs life and activity
All living beings need life, ie movements, stimuli (sound, visual, olfactory, sensitives), and actions, in short, something going on and around. Has not the prison been invented to punish “evil” humans? And what is its principle? To deprive individuals of freedom to move around, to be confronted with the surrounding livings, to be able to smell the vegetation, speak freely and meet loved ones.
The cat, which is a predator, needs all those activities! It has be able to be stimulated and able to move freely, bring life to its body, mind, and intellect.
In other words, to have a cat locked in an apartment or a house, you have to compensate for these essential deficiencies (play, outings, stimulations, not too long absence etc.)
2-The cat needs a good start in life
It is the foundation of its life, the foundation of its character, its psychology, its emotions: the kitten must stay at least 3 complete months with his mother and siblings.
On the other hand, he must have received enough stimulation to be able to face in all quietude all that will bring to him life without being afraid of everything.
The stimulations must be tactile (caresses, contacts), auditory (all sounds of life with humans, vacuum cleaners, washing machine, music etc.), visuals (different shapes, colors …), olfactory (smells of everyday life), gustative (if he has the chance to hunt different prey).
Stimulations must be proposed with measure and at a rate that respects the sensitivity of the cat. Not enough stimulations in early childhood results in a cat that is afraid of everything. Too much stimulation turns a cat into a real bulldozer that is hyperactive and too anxious if he remains alone and without activity from the first hour.
The kitten must encounter all species with which it must cohabit later: other cats, dogs, humans, babies, birds, rabbits etc.
Reprimands, punishments, beatings, flicks and other methods to try to “educate” the kitten are all quick and effective ways to make an anxious, aggressive, unmanageable, unclean or cunning cat.
Failure to observe this good start in early age can largely explain the difficulties encountered with cats.
3-The cat needs a pleasant territory
It’s obvious, the bigger the space at the disposal of the cat is, the better it serves his wellbeing. But it is better to have a small area full of life than a large space where nothing happens for hours on.
A territory in 3 dimensions: offer it a maximum of possibilities to climb up the furniture (wardrobes, fridge, shelves …).
A territory that “can be cat-markable”, that is to say a place that can be properly marked by the cat itself and that is not invaded by intruders and disturbing odors (home fragrances, household products, pheromones synthetic, essential oils etc.)
A territory that is not invaded by other cats kittens do not like their company.
4-The cat needs care stuff
A healthy food adapted to its body, activity, age, health. The cat cannot understand how those human notions of diet. For him, he saw a kind of scarcity, and he suffered terribly. And if you were put under forced diet, in what state of mind would you be?
A reassuring and pleasant place of elimination (litter): neither too cleaned (it must retain some cat smell) nor not enough (a complete washing once a week and the cacas are removed once a day). A litter that is not covered and moreover with a door (he likes to be in a discreet place to do his business, certainly, not in a sardine box …). A litter that is positioned in a quiet place and not too enclosed (especially for the most worried).
Heat or cool depending on the season, protection (a house or a shelter), “luxury” (comfortable cushions, for example)
Medical care if needed. BUT we must always weigh the pros and cons if the cat is in panic at the vet. Healing his body at the cost of making him live trauma … is it always the right choice?
The cat needs to respect his personality
Every cat is unique! One can only make a cat happy if one accepts its peculiarities and adapts to it. Among other things:
The cat must receive an affection adapted to its character. Some have an overflowing need for caresses, papules and other close contacts, others simply do not support being caressed for more than a few seconds. All cats do not like to be carried in the arms. A cat can be pot of glue and yet do not appreciate the hugs. Another one can conversely adore the caresses but make his life otherwise in complete independence.
It is necessary to adapt a context of life and relationships adapted to the sensitivity of the cat. The most emotional will love a place of quiet life and not surprising, the more robust will only ask to barouder unattended for example. Other examples: we do not try to punish or educate a timid cat.
It is not necessary to impose a cohabitation with another cat to a kitty who has not been able to develop his sociability. All cats do not like to meet other cats … far from it.
5-The cat needs love and respect:
To love a cat is to respect its needs, even if the price to pay is to separate it so that it is happier elsewhere, even if it is the price of not having a cat, even if it means That he takes the risk of being killed because he lives at liberty, and so on. To love a cat is to love it for him, for us.
To love a cat is also not to have on it the right of life and death. Euthanizing a cat because it is at the end of life should not be an automatism. The cat, too, has the right to die of natural death. No one escapes a certain suffering as they age. The animal, like the human, has the right to die at home, with the people he loves and who love him.
To kill one’s cat because one does not accept that one is suffering is to refuse to face life, and to impose on our animal our flight before death and disease (And therefore our own destiny). It is a choice that is often made for oneself, not really for him (because pain relief treatments can help the cat to live worthily in the last days without too much suffering).