Making life interesting for cats – part 1: Toys, play and exercise
Hello Kitty Lovers!
Today I would like to talk about how you could make your cat’s life more fulfilled so that it’s more healthy, happy and content. ‘How can I do this?’ you may ask. Well, it’s not that difficult really; just make it a bit more interesting.
If cat’s are bored they are more likely to become overweight and this can exacerbate further health problems (cystitis, diabetes, arthritis)Bored cats are more likely to display aggression, obsessive compulsive behaviour and suffer from anxiety. These reasons alone are enough to make sure that your cat is kept occupied and is as stress-free as possible (when it’s not snoozing!) In this part of my blog I will be talking about my favourite subject……TOYS!!!
Toys, play and exercise
We all know that exercise is good for you, both mentally and physically and the same goes for your cat. Cat’s NEED to be able to display hunting skills, it’s in their biological make up. In the wild cats will hunt up to forty times a day (most of these outings are unsuccessful) and this explains why they prefer short bursts of playtime and lots of cat naps.
Toys – There are lots of toys available, some cats like catnip toys, others prefer noisy toys that crackle when played with or very basic toys (my favourite is a pipe cleaner a.k.a. ‘Wormy’).The best toys for cats are ones that you can play with too such as the fishing rod toys or small mouse shaped toys that can be thrown and/or retrieved. These sorts of toys are always good as they enhance the bonding process between cat and owner, which can help reduce stress for both of you. Cats also like to be challenged with toys, so hiding favourite toys in interesting places around the house is beneficial and appeals to a cats more inquisitive nature.
NB: Never use your hands as a toy, this can be fun when you have a kitten, but not so fun once they grow up and can lead to aggression.
Hide and seek – we all know how much cats LOVE boxes. Try keeping a few cardboard boxes and cutting holes in them to make them more interesting. Toys and treats can be hidden inside to make it all the more exciting and stimulating for your cat. Cat tunnels are also a really fun toy for cats too, and they can provide hours of entertainment if you have two playful cats!
Lasers and mechanical – these are fun for cats, but care should be taken not to shine a laser directly in the cat’s eyes. Some cats can get a bit obsessed with laser pens and mechanical toys; they can find them frustrating to play with as they never catch what is being offered. Take care using these toys and try rewarding your cat when they have finished playing by giving a treat or a toy they can actively catch/play with.
Cat Wheels – These are AWSOME! I love my wheel and I go on it every day. It keeps me fit and helps to prevent me getting bored. It is also useful for cats that are rehabilitating if they need to build up muscle mass from injuries and illness (always use under a veterinary surgeons recommendation if your cat has been injured or ill)
Make feeding time more interesting – another way of providing lots of stimulation and fun for your cat is to make their feeding time more interesting. Cats are designed to hunt for food, so imagine how boring it is for them to just have their food dumped in their food bowl twice a day? Where is the fun in that?!
Try putting their food in different areas of the house so that they have to search for it . Puzzle feeders and feeding balls (see photos) are available for cats now too. These are designed to slow cats down when they eat and make them work for their food, which is far more enjoyable and interesting than a regular food bowl.
Owners can make a cost effective version of these by using a plastic water bottle and cutting a couple of holes in them as well as leaving the cap off. Place a few treats in the bottle and voila! Suddenly dinner time is more interesting!
That’s it for now. Look out for part two where we will be discussing the benefits of providing space and cat furniture for your kitty.
Purrs and meows
Mr Monkey Business