It’s that time of the year again when winter feels never ending but we have 10 Ways to Beat the Feline Winter Blues. Many cats like humans can experience the winter blues and blahs. Some feel cabin fever while others have SAD ( seasonal affective disorder). Indoor only cats can’t nip out to the movies or dinner for change of scene. A drive to the vet isn’t exactly a walk in the park or a hike in the woods. Boredom in cats can set in with repercussions from depression to unwanted behavior. A sunny window may be drafty and with weaker light in the winter.
I’ve been writing about this topic for a few years for personal reasons. I have SAD and crave the light and warmth. It appears that my cats mirror me and are prone to SAD as well. It’s why they insist on getting outdoors and Odin especially get grumpy and needy. Thankfully I have a SAD light box which work great for humans or cats.
While researching for this post I found something that made me a different kind of sad. Jackson Galaxy had shared my post on feline cabin fever tips on Facebook two years ago but he ended up getting all the credit. Talk about the blues! The comments in the Facebook share were all directed to him. Google searches on the topic make appear like he wrote it, and then his company soon after creates a flower essence formula called Winter Blues. He never shared another post of ours again. Sigh, oh well. Glad to have inspired him many times. The pet industry like the entertainment industry is dog eat dog and history is written by those who claw their way to the top. Often the wiser, more experienced person is left behind, invisible or worse, ripped off. Our culture equates fame and social media likes with knowledge. It’s a bizarre twist of karma and it’s a lesson I’m glad I’ve learned. This year, we’re focused on getting the winter blues message out in images.
My cats are indoor/outdoor but they still get the squirrelly winter blues. Just before the first frost, I brought in a planter of their favorite tender grass and herbs.The don’t like alfalfa, the kind sold in pet supplies shops and I’m careful not to have any greenery with sharp edges.
Winter is a great time to get creative. Knit, crochet or sew catnip toys. Design your own natural fishing pole from a thin switch or twig tried with jute cord and attach bottle corks, feathers or catnip mice. Non DIY types can always get creative with their credit card. Most homes have bird TV but there are less birds in northern climes until the spring migration. I really noticed how quiet it was until some crows cawed yesterday. To stimulate aural interest, play some animal, bird or other music. AND play, play, play with your cats. Throw balls, toss mice in the air, wave wands and make up new games. Interactive play means two are playing. You and the cat(s). Winter weight gain is a reality for humans and pets. Playing, moving, chasing, bending down, retrieving toys or rolling on the floor is all great exercise for both of you.
Even your cat has favorite bed, add another one or three in different locations. You can but don’t have to buy one. An old sweater in a card board box is fine. Clear a spot in your linen closet, put pillows on top of a radiator cover or bookcase. Try open and covered places. Low on the ground, medium and higher heights. Experiment and your cats may discover a favorite and new happy place.
Try new treats and types of catnip, valerian or silvervine. Read to your cat out loud or have them start their own blog.
Variety may be the spice of life but with cats there must be consistency. Being inherently contradictory, cats want the best of both worlds. They want excitement, stimulation, fun and pleasure but on a regular and dependable timetable suitable to them.
There is nothing like adopting or fostering another cat to perk things up but that is a serious decision and everyone in the household must be considered.
Our home is a somewhat cluttered 1860 farmhouse filled with books, art and antiques. There have always been lots of places for the cats to hang out but this winter called for something new. The only cat who loves climbing and heights is Odin. He’s a superbly, skillful and athletic tree climber. Indoors he has some high perches but after Nou Nou, our foster kitty arrived, I sensed Odin needed something special. A lofty getaway just for him that didn’t require much effort and didn’t look like a cat lady lair. I’m a big believer in using what you have and repurposing. In fact, this catificaton didn’t cost a dime. I found some old shelves and brackets in the garage and hubby fired up the drill.
Odin can climb up a series of shelves and easily hop from one bookcase to another, across shelves, over a doorway to the adjacent wall. Antique children’s chairs on the wall create a stepping stone the large armoire (not seen and holds a TV) for a total of about 30 linear feet. He loves to snooze up there, watch TV and otherwise survey his domain from the ivory tower. It makes both of us very happy. That and the fact the days are getting longer. Spring is only a month away!