When cats were first domesticated they had one central mission – keeping the rat population down. But, these days, cats make great pets for other reasons, although they can still chase rodents. People love their beauty, playfulness and friendship, and it’s important to give back and keep our cats entertained. Cats need mental stimulation also.
A bored kitty is an unhappy kitty! Cats have quick minds eager for stimulation and get bored easily. Keeping them entertained is a challenge, but there are good ideas that can help keep cats busy and happy.
by David Stone
What cats need to stay entertained:
Cat toys of all different types with feather, string, fabric or fur with a ball in the center.
Puzzle feeders – Indoor cats usually need more mental stimulation than those getting outdoor time. (We recommend that all cats be kept indoors or in a secure enclosure.) A good idea is to make your own puzzle feeders by cutting a small hole in a sturdy box with the opening facing towards the outside. Toss kibble, dry or canned food into the box and let them find it! You can also hide scented toys around for cats to find.
Hunting and Chasing – In our house, we get our cats to practice their natural hunting skills. We toss treats for them to chase, and we also hide them around the house in places where they must jump or climb. There are lots of options, but we found Temptations the most stimulating.
Window seats – Cats love to watch the birds. They need a good view of their surroundings from high places. A window seating area allows cats a way to do this without going outside.
A place of their own can keep your cat active…
Cat condo – Cats like having a place they can call their own. They feel more at ease if they have someplace to hide and curl up. Small dark spaces above the floor are great, and some will even wedge themselves into tight places just for the feel of it.
Another good idea is to find a cat scratching post that has someplace cats can sleep on top.
Scratching post – Cats need to scratch things, cats need to keep their claws in good shape and cats like the feel of scratching different surfaces, it helps cats mark their territories too. If you have carpet, cats may lift the pile for you without causing any damage.
Catnip – Cats love catnip! Just give them a little catnip from time to time and they will be entertained for hours. Watching them roll joyously around on the floor may remind you of something.
Balls and things cats can chase – Cats like to play with balls and other things that move, cats will play fetch and follow a string or feather toy all over the place. Cats also like it when humans throw toys for them to catch or cats go chasing after.
The coolest thing for some cats is a laser toy. My wife uses a small battery-operated laser that has them running like crazy after the red dot.
Entertaining your cat – better than the real thing…
Cats love toy mice – Some feel like they are hunting when cats have a mouse in their paws. (Our cats prefer theirs with catnip stuffed inside.) Cats will even carry around the same toy mouse for hours at a time without getting tired of it.
Give cats new toys every week – cats get bored with things really quickly. So, give them new toys once a week. Cats love to play, but they also like to keep things interesting.
Hide and seek – If you go slowly and don’t scare them, cats can play hide and seek with humans as well as other cats. They will jump out of different places and surprise you. Cats like to be the ones hiding.
Cats love cardboard boxes – Our favorite supplier, Chewy, includes a quote – Oh, boy, a box” – printed on the outside. It’s that common. Cats will sit in a cardboard box, curl up in a tight ball and start purring. You may have to wait a while before opening incoming packages.
Cat games online – Search Google for cat games. You’ll find a ton of active games, but you might have to wipe paw prints off your screen. And it’s steadying whatever computer you’re using is necessary.
Cats love cats – Probably the best thing you can do is keep more than one cat around. Who doesn’t like to see their own species every day? And no one has as much energy as another cat. Cats will wrestle with each other from time to time, and sometimes they play really hard. But playing hard is just part of cats’ behavior.
How to know if you’ve been successful entertaining your cat
Purring is a cat’s way of telling you they are happy. They purr when they want attention, when they are content and even while they sleep.
The joys of friendship
Cats like to be where the action is – They sit nearby and watch what humans or other cats are doing if they find it interesting. Some cats enjoy it when you talk to them and will want to listen in on conversations.
Cats love petting – They will rub their paws on your leg when they need attention. They will push up against you and ask you to scratch their ears.
Cats love a good nap after a long day of playing. You may appreciate the break.
Cats are wonderful animals who like to play. Entertaining them is important as well as having a safe, caring home where they are bored too often. Cats also need love and affection, and they will return the favor by being wonderful partners and family members.
More from Assorted Ideas, Large & Small
- When Was the Smallpox Epidemic in America? End of the Trail
- Update: Tram Shutdown Today. Without Warning, RIOC Does It Again
- Unmitigated Gall: RIOC Thanks Itself for the 4th of July
- Walking and Biking to the Office May Be Good for New Yorkers. It’s Not So Great for the MTA.
- Smart Planning Means a Happy, Peaceful 4th of July