A bored cat is not a happy cat. Making sure your furry friend is mentally stimulated and engaged through cat play will make them happier and likely to bring you more peace too, especially if they are acting out through destructive behaviors like shredding your curtains or digging up your potted plants. Here are some simple ideas to help you exercise your cat’s mind, whether you’re home or not:
- Hire a Cat Sitter : Cat Sitters are not just for times when you are away, but they are also for times when you are busy or under the weather and your pet requires its daily routine to be taken care of. Cat sitters can engage the cat with various indoor activities to keep them busy, occupied and tire them out. Due to the nature of their work, they are used to handling multiple breeds across various ages and know exactly how they can tire out the cat by being indoors.
- Scavenger Hunt & Food Puzzles : Rather than just filling up your cat’s bowl during meal times, buy them a “puzzle feeder” that requires them to figure out how to get the food out of a maze or series of obstacles in order to eat it. You can buy any number of puzzle feeders, or make your own by simply cutting holes large enough for kibble to get through in an empty (and clean) plastic bottle, cardboard tube or another kind of container. Another cat brain game that’s easy to do is to hide food throughout the house. A scavenger hunt for cats is easy to set up and a great way to keep your cat entertained while you’re away while also encouraging physical activity. Try hiding small amounts of food throughout the house by using the cups of a cut-up egg carton. If you are a new cat parent, pet sitters from Pawland can guide you on these DIYs
- Being themselves : Natural instinct of cats is to hunt on small prey, encourage them to do so. Motorized toys, or a simple string that you pull across the floor can help keep your cat stimulated and mentally engaged by encouraging their natural instinct to hunt. Along with mental stimulation, this kind of cat play is a good way for you and your family to spend time and bond with your cat as well as encourage them to exercise.
- Cat Trees : Cat trees allow your cat to climb and scratch as their cat origin relatives did. They can come in all shapes and sizes, so there are plenty of opportunities to find ones that they’ll love, but also won’t clash with your home décor. You’ll also enjoy watching them climb and play peekaboo with their new play toy. It can also reduce destructive behaviors, as they will understand that they may scratch and climb on their tree, but not your other furniture.
- Change toys on a regular basis : Just like us, cats need variety, so rotating the toys they play with is important to keep them interested. While specifically designed cat toys like feather wands, toy mice and balls that make sounds are great for cats, so are balls of yarn and crumpled pieces of paper. A good idea is to rotate their toys around, and always put them away after playtime finishes. If your cat has constant access to all of their toys, they will become bored with them.
- Play with them : For all our cat boarding orders, our pet sitters engage with cats throughout the day and keep them active. Here are few games and activities that our sitters engage cats with :
- Fetch : You may be surprised to discover that many cats love to play fetch, or chase after the ball you throw. This stimulates the part of their brain they would use to catch prey. First, get the attention of your fur baby by calling their name and showing them a ball or toy you know they love. Toss the chosen object and you should see your cat leaping around trying to retrieve it. Call them back and always make sure you have a treat to reward their behaviour. They may eventually learn to return the ball back to you after some practice.
- Catnip : Catnip can be used to encourage your cat to behave in a positive manner and sometimes reduce their anxiety levels. If your cat needs a bit more exercise, add a little catnip to their favourite toys to make playing even more interesting. Most cats react to catnip by rolling, flipping and rubbing. Use this every so often to make playtime more exciting, but don’t go overboard
- Hide and seek : A game like hide-and-seek is a useful way to build a bond with your cat. You can hide behind a couch, desk, or bed and it is a fantastic game to play indoors.The goal here is for your cat to playfully stalk you, as if you were their prey! Some cats even enjoy the hiding part and tuck themselves away somewhere while you look for them.This is a good way to connect games with excitement and mental stimulation
- Tablet Games : There are so many free games to keep your cat amused on your phone or tablet. Your cat will be entertained as they attempt to catch their digital prey with a variety of moving fish, mice, and other tempting graphics like lasers. Watch as your furry friend tries to paw their way through the screen.
- Ping Pong : You and your cat can have a lot of fun with a basic ping pong ball. Simply toss the ball against the wall or the floor and see if your cat can catch it.Their contortions and twists will make them look like a feline acrobat as they try to swipe at the ball.
- Fishing Rod Toy : These toys are good for active cats and will certainly give them a fun play time. First, dangle the fishing rod toy in front of them until you get their attention. Your furry friend should rush after it, into corners and behind furniture, and even jump to grab it in the air, while you quickly move it about, just out of your fur baby’s reach.Cats love a variety of games and toys so keeping them rotated will ensure they never get bored.
Always supervise your cat while it plays to make sure that it doesn’t swallow anything or get caught on something. It is also a good idea to inspect all toys regularly for damage.