Cats are naturally inquisitive, agile, and playful. As kittens and juveniles, they tend to have boundless energy and move around the house. They will play at every opportunity. However, as they get older, some owners think that they have lost these qualities. They seem to lazily frolic around the house and take naps in the sun. Quite the contrary, older cats still retain their natural inquisitiveness. They still need stimulating activities to have their natural instincts satisfied. They also need exercise to keep themselves physically fit. Every cat has distinctive characteristics and specific needs.
Some feline qualities make them more or less the same. You can apply simple tricks that can keep them physically and mentally occupied.
Let your cats be explorers
Cats have a natural trait for exploring and discovering new things and places. Stimulate this trait by providing them new objects to explore. Cardboard boxes and paper shopping bags are simple everyday objects you can have available for them to check out and discover. Make sure to snip off the handles of the paper shopping to avoid tangling and suffocation. Keep their minds active, and their appetites stimulated with food puzzles. You can purchase puzzles you think your cat will love to solve. You can make personalized puzzles yourself. One typical food puzzle available in the market is a cat food-laden sphere that will only release the food once your cats figure out the correct method or combination, which stimulates both their minds and bodies.
One simple puzzle you can make at home is a cardboard hide-and-food-seek puzzle. One design you can make is to create 4-5 vertical rolled cardboards placed inside a cardboard box with outlines of different shapes. Put tiny holes at the side of the box for your cat to push around the cardboard rolls. When they align the cardboard rolls with the circular hole, the cat can access their delicious treat. This activity not only stimulates the cat’s sense of smell, it also stimulates hand-eye coordination and enhances their spatial and figure orientation. They can learn basic figure identification and matching objects of the same shape through this activity.
Let your cats be hunters
Another natural instinct your cats have is hunting. They are genetically designed to be efficient hunters. This trait has toned down over thousands of years of domestication. That shouldn’t stop you from letting them rediscover their hunting skills while at home. Letting them graze on their food all day can make them lazy and make them overeat. Instead, give them toys that they can pounce on, chase, and catch. Speaking with your veterinarian and pet-loving friends, you can get ideas on what are the best toys for your furry friend. As a recommendation, choose a toy that is interactive and stimulates their hunting instincts.
The Go Cat Teaser Cat Catcher Wand Cat Toy is one that can bring out the hunter in your cat. It comes with a realistic, mouse-like object that mimics the real thing in appearance and movement. It evokes the instinctive drive to go after it like a real mouse on the run. It’s an interactive toy for both the cat owner and the furry feline to enjoy. As you hold the wand and make the mouse move around, your cat will love to give chase and catch it. Both of you can get to bond over the activity while enjoying and having fun.
Give them their private jungle
Cats love to move around. It’s another one of their instincts. Wild cats are naturally territorial and highly protective of their own hunting spaces. We can still see remnants of this instinct in their scratching. Provide them with scratching furniture, such as a scratching post, a scratching bench, or a cat tree. Make them connected with their wild side by having your cat tree include a scratching post, jungle gym, perch, and many other features. The good thing about cat trees is you can change the configurations, which will keep your cat happy and entertained for hours.
Having their private jungle or cat tree helps keep your furniture safe. With a bit of training, your cat will learn to establish its kitty territory on their tree. They can scratch and make their markings on their furniture, rather than on your couches and chairs.
Expand their moving space
If you have a backyard or a lawn, you may want to limit the movement of your cat within the confines of your house. Leaving them to roam outside most of the time can make them dirty, messy, and susceptible to hostile animals such as dogs and raccoons. Give them access to your house extensions, like your porch, veranda, patio, and garage. Also, let them out once in a while under your supervision and monitoring.
As much as possible, do not let them out of your sight if you let them wander around your yard. If you will be away from home, make sure they stay secured within the house and provide them with toys and activity areas. If you are at home with your cats, let them wander around the house to make them feel less restricted. Be sure to call out to them and search for them if they stay out of sight for too long.
Designate a play area for them where they can keep visiting when they are bored. To make your cat’s play area more appealing, change the cat toys as frequently as once a week to keep them engaged in their own play space.
Designate cat TV and bonding times with your cat
As we grow older, we find comfort in watching our favorite shows on TV for entertainment. Cats also do the same. As they grow older, they like to stay more in one place. Don’t let them remain bored and grumpy. Give them access to the TV as well. There are plenty of sources for cat entertainment – YouTube, DVDs, and Nature TV Shows. You need to find the right fit for your cat. Most cats prefer programs showing the great outdoors. Others prefer shows that feature birds, mice and rodents or fish. Observe the relaxation and settle-down time of your cat. At certain parts of the day, they may sit and curl up on one of your couches. If they habitually do so, you can schedule these hours as their cat TV time to keep them back on their feet and entertained.
Again, boredom and monotony are something you should avoid. Aside from changing the programs, allot bonding times with your cat. You can set bonding time with your cat and their TV time in alternating days to keep them alert and anticipating the activities in store for them. Your bonding time can include playing, joint TV, watching, or walking around the neighborhood with your cat (leased if they will tolerate it). Alternatively, you can bring them aboard your bike’s front basket. There can be many fun things to do with your cat, as long as you find time for them.
Keeping your pet cat busy can be beneficial not just for them but also for you. Aside from keeping your furry friend mentally and physically healthy, you are also making an emotional connection with them by bonding and interacting with them. You are even sparing your furniture and property safe from damage by giving them their own private spaces and activity times. Cats can be intelligent and comforting companions. Keeping them busy will provide you and your cat many rewards.