Those of who have more than one cat know that it can be a challenge to make time for each of our cats. Our own lives are often increasingly busy, or we’re distracted, making this health and care issue more relevant. Before we know it, the day has flown by. I have had days when I’ve (guiltily) realized that I went the entire day without petting a particular cat. As a cat mom, that makes me sad. I’m beginning to think of ways that I can make sure my five cats get enough attention each day.
Of course, my cats get the daily required time commitments. They get fed, their litter boxes get cleaned, etc. But I want to be sure I connect with them each day. I enjoy this and they do, too. I believe it strengthens and deepens our bond.
Here’s what I’ve tried and will continue to try to implement around my house, so that I remember to make time for my cats.
It seems that things get accomplished in my life if I make a daily ritual. For example, I do yoga daily. I don’t make a big deal about it, and sometimes my yoga practice might be 15 minutes (really!). Sometimes it might be an hour. It’s not the length, it’s the repetition. I’ve come to look forward to the routine. Sealing in this routine gives happiness to my days. I also have daily habits of meditation, or exercise, or visualizing. So, I can just as easily make sure I have a daily habit of connecting with my cats. What better and more enjoyable habit?!
Once you’ve established the habit, sometimes it helps if you associate it with something. What will help you remember to connect with your cats? Is this something that could happen easily, say, when you’re watching TV? Is there another time of day or thing you could do that would help you remember to connect?
An example of association is this: For a time, I lit a candle when I started my daily creative writing, and I blew out the candle when I was finished with the writing. I came to associate the candle with the writing, and it made the experience more pleasurable. Is there something that you could associate with connecting with your cats? Certain music might do the trick, or it might be something like remembering, “It’s 7 p.m. — I’m going to spend a little time playing with the cats now and make sure everyone gets some love and attention. Or, “Time to snuggle up with a book. let’s see which cats will join me.”
Play is a great way to make your cats happy, instantly raise the energy in the household, and ensure that you connect with all the cats. Get all the cats involved if you can. Take note of their rhythms. There seem to be times during the day when my cats are more primed to play. Right before feeding time is one — the cats are active and alert. The evening time (a few hours after 5 p.m. feeding) seems to be another good time when my cats want to play.
When you’re connecting with your cats, really be there. Take a moment and breathe. Feel what’s special about that cat. Smile. In my house, it’s Norton’s funny nose and his smooth burnished fur. The way Kieran completely reverberates (almost shakes) when he purrs. The way that Chester talks when he’s happy. (He says, “Murph! Murph!”) The quiet way that Jamie Bluebell sidles up to the side of the computer to snuggle near me, just as Karma once did. All these aspects of your cats are things to appreciate. We all know that life is short (and those of us with animal companions really know it) so take the time to be present in the moment, breathe, notice the funny or special aspect of each cat, and tell them how much you love them!
Sometimes in a multi-cat household, a cat will hang back. Make sure that cat gets time to connect with you, whether that means playing with that cat separately or snuggling in a room alone with that cat. Dynamics can change among cats, so be aware of that. The cat who once hung back may no longer be doing so, or a new cat may be sliding into that role. And, some cats need more attention than others. Taylor your attention-giving accordingly.
Do you have multiple cats in your household? How do you make time for each of them? Share your thoughts in the comments!
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About Catherine Holm: Told that she is funny but doesn’t know it, accused of being an unintentional con artist by her husband, quiet, with frequent unannounced bursts into dancing liveliness, Cat Holm loves writing about, working for, and living with cats. She is the author of the cat-themed memoir Driving with Cats: Ours for a Short Time, the creator of Ann Catanzaro cat fantasy story gift books, and the author of a short story collection about people and place. She loves to dance, be outside whenever possible, read, play with cats, make music, do and teach yoga, and write. Cat lives in the woods, which she loves as much as really dark chocolate, and gets regular inspiration shots along with her double espresso shots from the city.