I love the CATalyst Council. Really, I do. It is a nonprofit group that is working hard to give us kitties better lives. It aims to raise the level of care and welfare we cats receive, and promote a positive image of felines in society and the media. These are wonderful goals, and I am glad to have these experts working in our favor. But every September they announce it is Happy Cat Month with a list of ways to keep us happy — and it is sorely lacking! It’s a list written by humans, for humans. You can see my response to this list from a couple of years ago — it hasn’t changed much since then. In fact, this year, when I saw the CATalyst Council trot out virtually the same “happy cat” list once again, I decided that maybe I should make my own list of things that make cats really happy. Do these for your kitty during the rest of September if you want a happy cat! In fact, please do them all year round. I think every month should be Happy Cat Month.
1. Two Words: Drunken Toys. Many cats love catnip toys, but there is a problem — eventually the potency wears thin. Smart humans will have a large container full of the strongest dried nip they can find, and let old cat toys marinate in there. After a couple of weeks, voilà — they’re like new again! Toys should be cycled anyway so they don’t wear out their welcome with us kitties, and while they’re on break, what better place for them to be than in a container of nip?
2. Make sure we have lots of sun puddles! There are few things more frustrating to a cat than a dark house when we know the sun is out. Open those blinds, pull back those curtains, and let the sun fall where we kitties can bask in it. Sunbeams are a kitty’s happy place.
3. Give us treats based on what we love, not on whether they are healthy. I do understand that you humans want our joints pain-free and our attitudes calm, but face it: there is a big difference between treats and meds. It is great that companies are making these supplements palatable and feline-friendly, but they aren’t really treats. It would be like a human eating one of those gummy vitamins instead of a piece of dark chocolate. Would any of you people seriously consider doing that? Speaking of dark chocolate, I hear it actually has health benefits for humans — and if you give us cats half a chance, you might discover that our preferred treats aren’t those that are loaded with additives and junk, but rather healthier choices like freeze-dried turkey or a freshly cooked chicken liver. So yeah, the supplements are okay, but give us real treats too.
4. Do stuff we like — and don’t do stuff we don’t like! You would think this was a no-brainer, but so many humans fail at this, I am beginning to think they have no brains. Around here, I have a saying, “Skritches, not kisses,” but do you think my human pays attention? Of course not! I get kissed daily, in spite of my body language — ears back, frowny face, etc. — showing my utter disdain for the practice. And I don’t get skritched anywhere near enough. Does your cat like to play with Da Bird? Does he enjoy getting brushed? Butt pats? Do those! If your cat hates getting kissed or regularly attacks your hand when you try to touch his belly, then why are you still doing it? Have some common sense! Do things your cat likes and it will make him happy.
5. Stop telling us kitties to get off the counter. Being on the counter makes us happy. Don’t deny this to us… at least not during Happy Cat Month.