Ohio State University conducted a study that proves what we’ve been saying for years: routine helps cats be happier and healthier. This study was conducted on a group of both healthy and unhealthy kitties. Of the unhealthy cats, the majority struggled with FIC. Feline Idiopathic Cystitis, as we know, is a stress induced urinary problem.
“During the first part of the study, researchers created a consistent environment for the cats, including their cages, litter boxes, food, music, toys, time spent with the other cats and time spent with human caretakers“, says Ingrid King of Conscious Cat. They also made sure to keep their own stress levels low, so as to not affect the cats.
To test how routine affected their subjects, the researchers swapped up their routine. “When the cats experienced what were called “unusual external events,” such as a change in feeding schedule or caretaker, the healthy cats were just as likely to exhibit sickness behaviors as were the chronically ill cats. The two groups had the same number of sickness behaviors in response to unusual events, and both groups were at more than three times the risk of acting sick when their routines were disrupted.“
The Power Of Routine For Cats
We’ve preached the power of routine in cats for years, but sometimes it takes a study like this for cat parents to understand. While I personally understand the importance of routine for my mental health, I also have to consider how it affects my kitties. Routine helps cats in 3 main categories:
- Feeding schedules. Our kitties want to know when they are going to eat. Feeding your cats at the same times each day will not only reduce their stress, but it will also give them something to look forward to. If you have to go out of town, try and have your sitter keep the same routine feeding times.
- Litter scooping. Cats are clean beings and prefer a clean litter box when they need to go. Scooping the litter at the same times each day will help their internal clocks work appropriately and keep their stress levels low.
- Routine playtime. Now this one is difficult in our home, but we’re getting better. We’ve noticed an increase in our cat’s energy and overall activity levels since we’ve been routinely playing with them. They get excited when they know it’s time to play! Remember that a bored cat is a stressed cat. So if your kitty is sleeping all the time, it’s time to start this routine playtime. A body in motion stays in motion, while a body at rest stays at rest. The same goes for our feline friends. Not only does exercise help your cats’ physical health, it also helps their mental health.
So start putting your kitties on a routine that works with your schedule today! It will make everyone in the household happier and healthier!