We spend a lot of time talking about how to improve our own lives, but how about the lives of our pets? Today we're looking at 10 great ways to improve the life of your cat -- which has its benefits for you, too.
Image: I Can Has Cheezburger
10. Teach Your Cat To Shake Hands
Isn't it cute when animals do human things? According to wikiHow, if you want to teach your cat to shake hands you just need to spend a few hours over the course of a couple of days. Ready some treats, let your kitty smell them, open up your treat-less hand and issue a command (like shake). If your cat paws your hand, provide him/her with a treat. If not, keep trying and lift his/her paw if necessary.
9. Create a Place For Your Cats To Climb and Perch
Here are two DIY projects that'll save you some money and provide your cats with some activity. First, you can turn an old bookcase into a cat tree where they can climb and play. Unsurprisingly, IKEA furniture is a great starting point. If you just need a perch for your kitty, a wine crate will do the trick. Just attach it to the wall and you'll be good to go.
8. Get Your Cat Comfortable With A New Place With The Help of Butter
Humans have a hard time adjusting to new places, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that cats do too. New surroundings are always a little daunting, but it helps if your cat is forced to stay put and survey the area. The trick? Butter up their paws. When they head outside, they'll slip around and have to lick it off. This will give them a chance to get used to their surroundings as they won't be able to go anywhere right away. It also comes with the added bonus of making their coat a little shinier.
7. Turn An Extra Storage Bin Into A Mess-Free Litterbox
If you've run out of files to shove in your storage bins, file away your cat's waste instead. Top-entry litter boxes can be pricey, so you can save a bit of money by simply repurposing your leftover office supply. Just fill it with kitty litter like you normally would. Your can't probably won't know the difference, but your wallet will.
6. Make Pet Travel Easier
travelling with your cat can be as stressful for you as it is for them, especially when on a plane. The best thing you can do is be prepared and know your options ahead of time so there are no unexpected problems along the way. This means knowing whether or not you can take your cat on the plane with you, if your airline allows pet travel at all, if you can check your pets (and how much that costs), getting your cat used to the travel crate before leaving, and providing it with adequate playtime prior to the flight. You also won't be able to feed it six hours prior to the flight. It's not exactly a pleasant process, but it'll be a lot worse if you're not prepared.
5. Save Your Furniture From Your Cat's Claws
Cats love to scratch, which isn't great for our furniture, but there are ways to keep that behaviour at bay. Offering up appropriate scratching surfaces is a good start, but you need to combine that with making the places you don't want them to scratch unpleasant. Give them scratching posts they can use as they please and spraying them with water when they scratch the couch are both good ways to teach them what's OK and what isn't. And, of course, regular claw trimming can be a big help as it's a bit harder to scratch something when you don't have the proper tools.
4. Make A Cat Litter Box Ventilation System
Ah, the wafting smell of cat turds. If you've never taken to the smell, here's a DIY project that'll sit well with you: a litter box ventilation system. DIYer Alan Graham came up with a way to use a bathroom fan to vent the poopy air out of the garage and into the world for everyone to enjoy. He even hooked up his Mac mini to automate the process so the fan wasn't running 24/7. If you're into home automation, this project is for you.
3. Get Your Cat To Take His/Her Pills Without Incurring Bodily Harm
You love your cat about as much as s/he doesn't love taking pills. You can trick dogs with peanut butter, but cats just need a little help from our friend gravity. And your forceful fingers, of course. Just open up your cat's mouth, toss the pill inside, and tip his/her head back to let gravity do the rest. You want to do this quickly or it'll be an unpleasant experience for both of you.
2. Eliminate Cat Hair with Your Hand And Water
Chances are pet hair isn't part of your apartment's desire aesthetic, and it's definitely a problem when you've got company who might be allergic. Cleaning up pet hair is a major pain, but wikiHow has a few handy suggestions -- literally. The first is wetting your palm with some water and scooping up the hair bare-handed. The water will make it stick and easy to move from couch, floor or wherever to the rubbish bin. You can also get the same effect with a lightly-dampened kitchen sponge or regular latex gloves. A more fun approach is using an inflated balloon. Create some static electricity by rubbing it on your hair, then touch the balloon to hairy areas. It'll attract the hair until you can dispose of it. Finally, try a fabric softener sheet. If it doesn't work on its own, mist it with a little water for some extra cling.
1. Make The Smartest Cat Door Ever
For the tech-obsessed cats of the future -- or at least their owners -- comes this DIY automatic cat door with facial recognition technology. Why would you want something like this? You probably don't have strange cats wandering in your house so it's not meant for that as much as it's designed to keep your cat outside if it decides to bring back a dead mouse. Basically, it compares you cat's face with a few cat profile pictures and it won't match if there's something dead in its mouth. It also won't match if it's a raccoon or some other animal, which is an added bonus. It's a pretty crazy project, but definitely very cool.