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Hopefully, your New Year’s resolutions are in full-swing by now. But what about your cat? Ever consider including him in your goal-setting? He’s part of the family, so why not establish some new habits this year to help him live his best life?

Improving your cat’s health and happiness can be as simple as checking a book out of the library or doing a little retail therapy. Make 2020 the year you give some extra love to your feline companion by embracing a cat-friendly New Year’s resolution. Here are some ideas to get you started.

1. Work hard, play harder

Did you know that when cats play, they’re actually mimicking their natural instinct to hunt? Not only does playtime allow your cat to express his natural role of fearless predator, but it’s also a great way to keep his weight in check. Plus, interactive playtime relieves stress, challenges your cat’s mind, and strengthens the bond between the two of you.

OK, we’re sold. After all, setting aside time to play with our fluffy kitties is hardly an imposition. To reap the full benefits of playtime, cat behavior expert Pam Johnson-Bennett of the Cat Behavior Associates recommends committing to one or two 15-minute play sessions per day.

Stock up on a variety of cat toys to engage your cat in different styles of play. And don’t forget to pick up one of the most classic and entertaining cat toys of all time: the trusty laser pointer.

2. Get in shape

Piggybacking on the previous resolution to play more, we bring you goal #2: lose that paunch! Cats are creatures who appreciate a good nap (right on!) but their love of snoozing also makes them prone to packing on a few extra pounds.

The goal to “lose weight” usually heads up most people’s list of resolutions, and it’s an equally smart goal for your cat. Maintaining a healthy weight can extend your cat’s lifespan and reduce his risk for certain diseases. So break out the laser pointers and get your kitty moving! It’s also a good idea to talk to your vet about proper nutrition and your cat’s ideal goal weight.

3. Enrich your cat’s environment

Since a bored cat can become a destructive cat, make it a priority to enrich your cat’s space this year. This is especially important for indoor cats, and there are a number of ways to go about it. The easiest way to ward off feline restlessness is by providing opportunities for your cat to carry out his natural instincts. Give him appropriate places to climb, scratch, hide, rest, and play.

Today’s designers are creating more aesthetically pleasing cat furniture that can act as a fun conversation piece while keeping your furry feline content and at ease. We also love these cat-approved scratching posts that keep your kitty’s nails in top condition while preserving your own furniture (and skin!)

4. Master new recipes together

Break out your rolling pins, and get ready to whip up some healthy and scrumptious homemade snacks for your cat.

Baking wholesome cat treats from scratch is the perfect winter activity. Plus, you’ll be able to bypass the usual cheap fillers and artificial flavors that are found in heavily processed store-bought treats. We’re loving this recipe for Catnip Croutons by The Cookie Rookie, and we have a sneaking suspicion your cat will too.

Not a baker? No problem. Treat your favorite feline to one of our top cat treats when he deserves a special reward.

5. Brush those pearly whites

C’mon, be honest: when was the last time you actually brushed your cat’s teeth? Proper dental hygiene is so important to your cat’s overall health, and yet it’s the one grooming task most frequently shirked by cat owners.

Sound familiar? Let this be the year you make an earnest effort to brush your cat’s teeth on a regular basis—aim for a minimum of twice a week, with daily brushing as your ultimate goal.

6. Commit to cleaning the litter box…Every. Single. Day.

No one likes a dirty bathroom, least of all your fastidious feline. Get into the routine of scooping waste daily to keep things tidy and prevent offensive odors.

For those of you who don’t relish being on poop scooping duty every day, may we suggest an automatic litter box? These magical contraptions come in a range of styles and prices to suit any judicious cat owner.

7. Teach your cat a new trick

Dogs aren’t the only ones who can learn to play fetch. Contrary to popular belief, cats can be trained to perform a number of impressive tricks like high fiving or coming on command. (Although certain breeds are more likely than others to embrace such lessons.)

Here’s something you may not have known: cats can even be trained to walk on a leash. It’s true! It’ll take dedication and tons of patience, but it can be done. Just have realistic expectations: some cats will enjoy leash-walking, while others may never warm to the idea.

8. Get your cat microchipped

It’s a fact: us cat owners will do everything in our power to keep our beloved felines safe, and one of the easiest ways to do this is to have them microchipped. It’s also smart to get your cat a collar outfitted with a proper ID tag if he doesn’t already have one. This is such a simple and effective way to protect your cat while ensuring he’ll always find his way back to you.

9. Brush up on your cat knowledge

Does your cat’s behavior frequently leave you scratching your head in bemused wonder? Yeah, us too. Cats are creatures of mystery—it’s what we love about them…and sometimes it’s what we don’t love about them. (“Again with the knocked over water glass?! C’mon!”)

While we can’t possibly understand all the “why” of our cat’s puzzling behaviors, there’s a lot we can learn about the way they operate. A new year is the perfect opportunity to read up on your kitty’s quirks to better understand her. Check out your local library for cat behavior resources, read studies published online, or peruse the Rover blog—we have tons of articles that will help you decode your cat’s peculiar habits.

While any of these cat-related resolutions are laudable, our number one goal for this year is to love on our cats as much as possible. Now that’s a New Year’s resolution we can get behind.

More cat ideas

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