There are a lot of myths, misunderstandings, and outright lies around the nature and care of cats. By believing these common myths and blindly accepting ideas that all reasoning tells us are false, we are actually harming the amazing creatures in our care.
In this post we’re going to dive right in and discuss how to do things right. This is a simple, very pared down overview of how to keep cats healthy and happy. We’ll explore each item further in future posts but, for now, this post summarises what’s at the heart of raising healthy and happy cats.
The Raw Cat
It all starts with the raw cat. A raw cat is one who eats and behaves as driven by their raw, natural instincts.
A cat’s instincts drive them to hunt, catch, and kill. Many cats though aren’t allowed to express their hunter instincts. They are left alone in environments that, to them, are very boring. Even worse, they are blamed and even punished when they express their loneliness or boredom in ways we don’t like (e.g. scratching, meowing, biting, etc.).
To have happy and healthy cats we need to understand what are cats actually are (fierce hunters) and what drives them (the need to hunt, catch and kill). Then, as much as possible, we need to allow our cats to be as nature intended.
Cats are healthiest and happiest when there isn’t a conflict between who they are (raw, natural hunters) and where they live (with us). So it all boils down to ensuring that where our cats live (with us) supports their physical, mental, and emotional needs as hunters. Part of the solution is around what we DO and the other part is around how we THINK.
The 5 Simple Things Cats Need
To be healthy and happy, cats need five simple things:
- proper nutrition,
- to be understood and respected,
- to live in a stimulating environment, and
- preventative maintenance and veterinary care.
By satisfying each of of your cat’s essential needs, you allow them to be the amazing raw cats they are at heart. Let’s explore each of these needs a bit further.
1. Cats Need Proper Nutrition
It is shocking how misled we are about the food we feed our beloved pets.
Most commercial cat food is packed with fillers cats can’t digest and is made from extremely low quality ingredients. Commercial cat food companies would like you to believe that their food is nutritionally complete but this is simple not true.
The optimal diet for cats is a raw diet consisting of muscle meat, organ meat, and bones. However, most cats are fed dry food which has very few of these ingredients and is the full of ingredients cats can’t even digest (such as grains, fruits, vegetables, etc.).
This low quality diet results in cats who are overweight in record numbers, have low energy, and who are dehydrated. They also suffer from ailments and diseases that are directly caused by or, at the very least, severely aggravated by the very food they are eating.
It is true that commercial cat food will keep your cats alive, but they will be far from healthy and thriving.
Changing cats to a biologically appropriate raw diet brings about dramatic results. They go from being sluggish, sleepy, disinterested, unmotivated, and feeling slightly sick all the time to being awake, aware, active, curious, interested, bright-eyed, and suffering from far fewer ailments.
Read more about cat food here: What Is The Best Food For Cats: Common Myths Debunked.
2. Cats Need To Be Understood and Respected
Cats are commonly seen as being independent loners who are quite content to hang around all day doing next to nothing. The reality is quite different. Cats are curious, active, and social hunters who need companionship and stimulation to thrive.
We need to accept that our cats are hunters and provide them with the mental and physical stimulation they need to thrive. We need to make more of an effort to communicate with our cats in ways that they understand. Cats are expressive creatures and learning their language will improve our relationships dramatically.
We have to stop expecting our cats to be humans or dogs and understand and respect them as the amazing creatures they are.
3. Cats Need Companionship
Cats are social creatures and can form deep bonds with both humans and other animals. Contrary to popular belief, cats can and do get lonely. Cats suffer when they are punished or rejected and can get depressed. In fact, many of the problems cat guardians encounter stem from their cats being lonely or depressed and acting these feelings out.
Cats need companionship with their guardians and, ideally, with other cats or pets as well. Animals understand other animals in ways that us humans will never understand.
4. Cats Need To Live In A Stimulating Environment
A lot of cat owners buy a cat tree, stick it in a corner, and think they’ve done enough to satisfy the hunter instincts of their cats. Many also have strict rules about rooms the cats are allowed in, what furniture they are allowed on, and restrictive rules on how they need to behave.
To be frank, most homes are incredibly boring and unstimulating places for cats to be. The primary flaw is that the set up is horizontal. Cats are restricted to the floor, their cat tree, and whatever furniture they are allowed on.
The key to stimulating environment for a cat is to embrace the vertical! Give your cats places to run, jump and climb. Give them places to perch away from the bustle of humans and other animals. Give them safe places to go for some alone time. Have a look at the Buyer’s Guide on our website for suggestions on how to create a stimulating environment for your cat.
5. Cats Need Preventative Maintenance and Regular Veterinary Care
Cats are often seen as low or even NO maintenance pets. This is simply not ture. Cats require the same level of care that we give humans and other pets. Although cats are masters at hiding pain, you can usually tell they are in pain as some aspect of the behaviour, toilet, or eating habits will change.
It is essential to keep on top of your cats health and to take prompt action as required.
That’s it! There’s nothing complicated about having healthy and happy cats.
Applying these principles to my own life and raising Pickles, Peanut and Pumpkin as raw cats has been transformative for all of us. I’d like to see more guardians and their cats take these steps to improve their lives and experience how great truly symbiotic relationships with your cats can be.
Cindy, Pickles, Peanut and Pumpkin