My Cat-Related Resolutions

Cats might not need resolutions – they'e perfect just as they are – but maybe we can resolve to be better pet parents.

Normally, I don’t make New Year’s resolutions at all. If I see something about myself that needs improving, I try to work on it, no matter the time of year. But this time around, I see a number of ways in which I could do better by my cats. So this is what I intend to change for 2014:

1. Brush Sparkle more. Sparkle actually does not need a lot of grooming… but she loves being brushed. Brushing her is quality time we spend together. I should be doing this daily, just for the bonding aspect of it.

Get grooming info for your cat type >>

2. Brush Boodie on a regular basis.  Boodie, on the other hand, has a lot of fur and needs to be brushed more often. The problem is that brushing her is a big production. I need to take her into the enclosed patio, where loose fur is easy to clean up. Then, since she is indifferent to brushing (unlike Sparkle), I have to follow her around with the brush until I get enough strokes in. The result is always a huge pile of fur, plus fur covered clothing – and Boodie’s fur is light colored, while I mainly wear black. Since Boodie’s fur rarely mats, I’ve been getting away with avoiding this chore as often as I should. But still, Boodie really needs to be brushed at least a couple times a week, not just a couple of times a season. And maybe as a result, everything in the house will have less of her fur all over it … although I kind of doubt it.

Watch a video on cat grooming >>

3. Give Binga regular training sessions. Cats like Binga that are exceptionally intelligent often get bored – and into trouble. One of the best things you can do is train them to do something. It’s a way of bonding, and it engages them so that they are less likely to cause mayhem. Binga is a quick learner, and in the past, I have taught her to jump through hoops. She also has fun playing the shell game, where I put a treat under one of three plastic bottle caps and she has to guess which one. The only problem is I am woefully inconsistent with her training. If I set a schedule for us to work together, not only might she be less likely to act out, I might even come up with a viral YouTube or Vine video.

Learn about clicker training for cats >>

4. Play with all of the cats every day. I am also really inconsistent about playing with all three cats, which is sad, considering how much they enjoy it. Cats love interacting with their humans, and people who don’t play with their feline friends are missing out on some of the best parts of their relationship. Regular play is another way to keep cats from getting into too much trouble. Like children, they are loaded with energy (at least during the 8-10 hours they are awake) and it has to be released somehow. Better to do it in a positive manner. I need to dip into the toy box daily with this crew.

Play with your cat to curb hyperactivity >>

5. Meditate every day. This does not sound like it has anything to do with cats, but it does. I am an emotional, temperamental person and I’m quick to anger (and usually just as quick to get over it). The thing is, the cats don’t understand that, and when they see me flying off the handle, it stresses them out, especially Sparkle, who is very sensitive to my moods. If I can find ways to even out my thoughts and feelings every day, I’ll be less likely to blow up at minor things and upset my cats in the process.

Meet Sparkle the Designer Cat >>

These items may sound like a lot of work, but the truth is that none of them takes more than a few minutes every day. And every one of them is time well spent.

Cats, of course, do not need resolutions at all – they are perfect just as they are.

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