“What do cats enjoy?” can seem a hard question to answer since some cats don’t seem to do much at all. But therein lies our first answer. The number one thing cats like to do is sleep!
Most cats sleep 15 or 16 hours a day. Their waking and active hours are often at night because cats are considered to be nocturnal. When a cat is napping, it’s not being lazy — it’s engaging in its preferred lifestyle.
What else do cats like? They like being warm. Cats prefer temperatures about 20 degrees warmer than for us or dogs. For many indoor cats, this translates into basking in the sun next to a window. Some cats will stretch out near a computer or heater – but if they have a choice it will be somewhere up high.
It is the nature of cats to want to stay out of danger and in elevated positions. They often perch high on furniture, in windows, on cabinets and refrigerators, watching what goes on below and around them. A good idea is to have a spot where your cat can observe the world below — or outside — from relative safety.
Cats also like to hunt. They readily chase a toy or a light, but better than that, if given the chance, many will stalk live prey. As many cat owners can testify, their seemingly lazy feline friend may bring their nighttime quarry home and leave it for them to be proud of.
When cats are awake, they also like to play. If you have time, they will play with you. When left alone they will invent their own fun, even with something as simple as a string, a crinkly bag or a cardboard box.
It’s a good idea to provide your cat with someplace to scratch. Cats will scratch things both to mark territory and, it is believed, to sharpen their claws. If you don’t have a designated scratch post, your cat may designate a curtain or a piece of furniture for the purpose.
Many cats are solitary, but most like petting – up to a point. If it starts to growl, that’s a clear sign it’s time to stop the petting. Perhaps contrary to assumptions, I have found that male cats tend to be more outgoing toward their owners.
We had a cat whose favorite hobby was eating. Some cats can be finicky eaters, but not this one. Be careful not to overfeed your cat, since there are too many overweight, inactive cats in the world.
Cats may not like baths, but many do like running water. We had a cat that wanted to sit in the sink and have water drip on her. This may sound like torture to some people, but she loved it.
These are some steps cat owners can take to provide a pleasant environment for their pet. Of course, cats offer their own kind of joy in return.
Dr. Ron Resnick has been in practice for more than 32 years and previously operated two veterinary hospitals. He taught at Harvard University and graduated from Tufts University, considered the best veterinary school in the world. He operates an animal hospital in Simi Valley.