Enrich Your Cat’s Life
Published on Thursday, 28 October 2010
Most house cats actually lack a fair bit of activity and enrichment in their lives. If you find that your cat
- is aggressive in play with people, other animals, and even furniture
- often pesters you to play at inappropriate hours of the day and night
- is reclusive and often shies away from people or toys
- becomes distressed when they see outdoor cats
you probably have a very unhappy cat.
1. Introduce new toys periodically to keep boredom at bay. A variety of toys such as throw throws, toys that dangle, and toys that require owner participation can keep your kitty happy. Engage your cat’s natural abilities by providing opportunities to “hunt” for toys that mimic movements of birds or rodents.
2. Cats love to explore so cardboard boxes, paper shopping bags, empty bins and bathtubs make very good avenues for some fun. You may even hide toys and treats in such places for your cat to find. Such activities can be very rewarding for your pet. However, always ensure that you monitor your cat’s movements during playtime as it can get into some sticky situations.
3. Mental stimulation is very important for your cat. Some cats appreciate watching “cat videos” – videos that feature birds and small rodents – and can watch the same video for hours on end, tracking the animals’ movements and reacting to it by growling or swatting at the screen. Other cats enjoy sitting and watching birds or fishes. If possible, you can position bird and squirrel feeders outside windows where your cat can observe animals coming and going during the day. If you live in an apartment, you can attach bird feeders directly to the outside of your windows. Having fishes is a little tricky as you will need to make sure your cat cannot attack the fishes, however some cats will not be fooled by fake fishes!
4. Go for a walk with your cat. Cats are not likely to walk very far, but letting your cat go on outdoor adventures helps to stimulate its mind and destress. Always make sure your cat is leashed when you go out on walks.
5. Give your cat several small meals a day and avoid “free feeding” (keeping its food bowl full all the time). If your schedule doesn’t permit giving mulitple meals, you can purchase a feeder with a built-in timer, designed to open according to a preset schedule.
6. Build an enclosed outdoor area where your cat can spend time when the weather is nice. Cats love spending hours watching leaves blow in the wind, birds flying and squirrels scampering around. If you can’t have an outdoor enclosure, try creating a window perch where your cat can easily sit and look out the window.
7. Training your cat can give her a great mental workout. Just like dogs, cats can learn a number of useful behaviors and fun tricks, like sit, come when called and shake.