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Cats and Routines

I love this time of year as the air gets chilly, my kids are happily adjusted to the school routine, the leaves are beginning to fall and I start looking forward to the holidays.

For some cats though, it can be a boring time because kids are in school so there's less attention paid to them and everyone has gotten into the daily routine of rushing around to get ready, coming home and doing homework, after-school sports, etc. Then, it won't be long before the family starts focusing on the upcoming holidays. For a cat, that can be a stressful time.

Maintain a Routine

I'm a mother and I know it can easily get very hectic as you're driving one kid to football and the other to piano lessons. Once at home, it's dinner preparation and making sure the kids do their homework. There are many days when the only time I sit down is when I'm driving my kids around and then when I'm eating dinner with the family. So I truly understand what life is like in the parenting trenches. Even so, your cat depends on routine and after a summer of having the family around more and getting attention, it can be hard to suddenly be odd-man-out (odd-kitty-out?).


If you feed on a schedule, do your best to stick to that normal routine so your cat doesn't become anxious when dinner is two hours late. If your family schedule is now so hectic that you are feeding your cat at inconsistent times, purchase a timed feeder so kitty can get the security of normal mealtime routines. There are feeders available for both wet and dry food. The wet food feeders have cooling capabilities in them.


If your cat enjoyed having all the family members around during the summer and so there were multiple opportunities for playtime and now nobody seems available, it can be a very lonely time. Your cat has incredible senses and is a natural born athlete. Regardless of his age, physical ability or weight, he needs some form of playtime daily (customized, of course, to his specific physical condition). Playtime is beneficial to your cat both physically and mentally. It's a great way to build confidence, help him work off stress, relieve boredom and it's a wonderful way to strengthen the bond you share. Get a fishing pole-type toy and engage your cat in daily play sessions. A couple of sessions that last about 10-15 minutes each will be greatly appreciated by the feline member of your family.

Litter Box Maintenance

It can be easy to forget to clean the litter box when you have a long list of things to do but don't neglect this very important responsibility. The quickest route to a litter box aversion problem is a box that isn't kept clean. It only takes a short amount of time to scoop the box at least twice a day.

Include the Whole Family

If other family members are also responsible for pet duty, make sure it's clearly mapped out who scoops at a specific time or who is in charge of making sure the water bowl is filled. In our home, we have a chore chart on our refrigerator and we check off when a job is done each time such as feeding the dog, the cat, the fish, litter box scooping, along with other daily chores. Everyone has an assigned responsibility. In our home, we even have a place on the chart for playtime with the cat - THAT'S how important those daily play sessions are!

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Watch & Play

About Pam Johnson-Bennett

Pam Johnson-Bennett is a Certified Cat Behavior Consultant and best-selling author of seven books on cat behavior and training. Pam is one of the most well-known experts on cats and a pioneer in the field of behavior consulting. Pam owns Cat Behavior Associates, LLC, a veterinarian-referred behavior practice in Nashville, TN. Her website is

More about Pam

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