Think quickly: when was the last time you enjoyed a night out? The pandemic has forced local restaurants to close or switch takeaway for almost a year, and we have to crouch for – checks notes -. It made it difficult to go anywhere, let alone indulge in a night out.
It also gives us a new appreciation for our cats, who have at least endured being at home all the time and at the same time give us someone to cuddle with.
As Valentine’s Day approaches, we should consider redefining the date night.
“We can reward ourselves and our little friends who have been there for us during this difficult time,” said Samantha Bell, cat expert and celebrity and entertainment coordinator for Best Friends Animal Society.
When planning a date with our significant other, we try to find ways to surprise and make them happy. Do the same with your cat. Remember cats are wild animals on their own mind. For each activity, Samantha suggests asking herself, “What would a wildcat want if it lived its best life?
“Let’s give them the opportunity to learn what to do,” says Samantha.
You can do this by planning a day that will appeal to all of your cat’s five senses. Samantha offers tips on how to take your feline friend for a walk on the wild side this Valentine’s Day.
Wild cats hunt for food and fun. They love to spot prey like fish, mice, birds and small beetles. “Of course we don’t want to bring these things into our homes,” says Samantha. “There are a lot of amazing things online.” She suggests Googling “Videos for Cats”. You can find hours of videos of birds in baths and aquariums with fish rapidly shooting back and forth. “If you put a video on the screen during dinner to improve the ambience, the cat will be happy and excited,” says Samantha. “Maybe watch some animal documentary after dinner.” Samantha’s cat loves Blue Planet.
A cat’s sense of smell is at least 14 times better than ours. “Scent is her strongest sense,” says Samantha. “If they recognize each other … or are interested in something, it’s the smell.” Samantha believes that “scented buffets” can be fun for cats. Catnip and valerian root (which is common in cat toys and available on Amazon) are must-have items, but be sure to introduce something new to Kitty. “Novel fragrances are great additions to cats,” says Samantha. If a friend or neighbor has a gerbil or hamster, ask about chips from their cage.
Do Kitty a favor too, and skip the perfume you would wear if you went on a date with your significant other. “It gives them a headache,” says Samantha.
Treat your cat to something new. Instead of nibbles or typical wet foods, which are usually chicken, turkey, or beef flavored, go for venison, salmon, or duck. Some brands make these types of canned foods. Or give Kitty something very special. “You can cook fish for yourself and leave a little bit for your cat that you don’t season,” says Samantha. For your information, garlic and onions are poisonous to cats, so make sure Kitty’s treat doesn’t contain any of them.
Create a soundtrack for your date night that’s music to Kitty’s ears. For dinner, opt for something calming like classical music or something for cats. Musician David Teie has created playlists with a frequency that cats enjoy. After dinner, play sounds of their prey like birds, mice, and gerbils. “When they hear these noises, they get very excited and want to play,” says Samantha.
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While Kitty excitedly hears prey sounds, she feels like she is actually hunting. Try a wand toy. “Really in,” says Samantha. “Don’t just swing it back and forth. Put it on the floor, turning a corner so the cat really feels like it is chasing it. You’ll grab and bite it and be proud of yourself. “And your cat will fall in love with you again. “You will really bond with your cat if you give them the opportunity to do what they really wanted to do,” says Samantha.
Do you need a date?
When you have space in your home and heart, Samantha believes cats are the perfect furry dates forever. “Animal companionship has been shown to reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and reduce depression and anxiety. This helps people feel calmer and more secure when the news from the outside world is depressing,” she says. This adoption checklist can help you figure out if you’re ready to take the plunge into cat parenting.
Featured image: Getty Images
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