210 Pinebush Rd., at the corner of Pinebush & Franklin.

Ideas to keep your indoor cat amused. Bored cats are unhappy cats.

August 8th, 2017 Posted in Uncategorized

Keeping cats indoors helps them live longer, but they can get bored. Here are some ways to keep them entertained:

Hunting: Play and Predation

The purpose is to provide an outlet for the cat to give the cat an outlet for natural predatory/hunting behavior.

Give the cat a large stuffed toy to attack. The toy should be at least half the size of the cat to provide a large surface for the cat to grab with all four feet and its mouth. Placing catnip on the toy may increase the cat’s interest. (Note that not all cats respond to catnip.) Example: Yeowww! Banana is one type of catnip-filled toy.

Make or purchase a peekaboo box with holes in it, and place toys inside for cat to dig out. Try fluffy toys, mouse toys, and sisal rope toys. Example: Peek-A-Prize Cat Box.

Cats can be trained to use an exercise wheel such as the One Fast Cat Exercise Wheel.

Save a soda bottle top to use as a batting toy. Alternatively, a string can be attached to it using a hot glue gun to turn it into an interactive string toy or a toy that can be hung off the ground to sway in the air currents from a window or the air conditioner.

Divide the cat’s food into several small portions and place them in various locations throughout the house, so the cat has to search for the food source.

Purchase and release feeder crickets from the pet store into the bathtub or a large plastic storage container and let the cat hunt (and eat) them.

Purchase a string toy, feather toy or similar that is attached to a stick. Different types of sting toys can mimic different prey categories (e.g., birds or ground prey such as mice or lizards). Teach owners how to use the toy to mimic actual pretty behavior as this can be more effective in triggering response from reluctant cats. Example: Cat Dancer or Neko Fly Toys. The Da Bird toy is a particularly stimulating string toy for cats and mimics the sound of bird wings.

Train the cat to wear a harness and leash so the owner can walk the cat outside. Refer to the book Here Kitty Kitty by Catherine Crawmer, for cat training information.

Eating: Foraging Enrichment

Feed the cat from a food cube or ball. Example: Eggsercizer, Fish Bowl, Buster Cube, or Roll-A-Treat ball.

Scatter food across the floor in the house to make the cat search for each piece. Tossing a single piece of food along a tile or hardwood floor is a great activity to stimulate a full predatory sequence (chase, pounce, kill, eat).

Stuff Kong toys full of various food items (or the cat’s meal).

Divide portions of the cat’s meal into small containers with holes cut in them and hide them around the house for the cat to find. When the cat plays with the container, food will fall out of the holes.

Divide the cat’s food into several small portions and place them in various locations throughout the house, so the cat has to search for the food source.

Move the cat’s food bowl to a different location in the house every 1–2 days so the cat must search for it.

Place cat food or treats inside a cardboard box or old towel/rag and allow the cat to tear the item apart to get to the food inside. The smellier the food, the better. Food can also be placed inside toilet paper rolls with the ends folded over for a similar experience.

If you cat likes them, hang vegetables or fruits (e.g., melons, apples, lettuce, squash, watermelon, carrots, celery, etc.) from string in the house.

Freeze yogurt or bullion (or other broths) into a Popsicle in a variety of sizes of Tupperware. Provide variety by adding various pieces of food items to these: cereal, fruits, vegetables, cat food, cheese, meat, etc.

Give the cat old water bottles or milk jugs made of either cardboard or plastic. You can increase the cat’s interest by putting food items inside.

Exploration and Sensory Stimulation

Place sheds from reptiles or insects (or other animal skins) out for the cat to find and investigate. These can be found at pet stores to from friends that have such pets. Animal skins also are often available at some or hobby stores.

Place novel scents in the environment using small amounts of spices, herbs, extracts, essential oils, or synthetic animal scents (e.g., rabbit, quail, squirrel, etc. available from a sporting goods store). Dabbing small amounts periodically onto the cat’s toy, bed or cat tower aids in providing a changing olfactory environment.

Provide the cat with tall kitty condos or towers or a series of shelving pathways in the house to provide climbing opportunities. You can apply scents to these or hide food in or on them. These should be placed near windows if possible. Elevated perches also provide safety for timid cats or cats living with children or other animals.

Provide the cat with several scratching surfaces, both vertical and horizontal (example: The Cat Scratch Lounge or Classy Kitty Sisal Cat Post). Cardboard scratchers are particularly appealing to cats. Scratchers should be large and sturdy enough to provide the cat with a full body stretch during the scratching experience.

Obtain ornamental cat shelves that can be mounted on walls in decorative patterns. Example: Catastrophic Creations.

Make single cat sized perches on windowsills (these can be purchased commercially), in bookcases, on appliances, etc. Rotate the location of these perches periodically. Cats often enjoy resting in the sun and will move to find such spots throughout the day; window sill hammocks are highly appealing to many cats.

Give the cat access to paper bags or cardboard boxes. For added fun, set them up in a maze and create tunnels. Rotate boxes so the cat does not lose interest. Boxes of different sizes and shapes provide different tactile stimulation to the cat. New boxes also provide new odors for the cat to investigate.

Cats frequently like large mobile-like toys that move and jerk when they swat at them. These toys are particularly useful to keep cat entertained when the owner is gone.

Offer clean natural wood branches for the cat to chew.

Certain bird toys may be acceptable for cats and more appealing than dog or cat toys.

Offer kitty grass or other sprouted grasses such as oats, millet or milo.

Provide both play toys (e.g., squeakies, rope toys, stuffed animals, rubber toys, balls, etc.) and chewing items (small rawhide chews, sweet potato chews, cat grass, etc.). These two types of toys serve different purposes.

DVDs are available for cats that include sights and sounds of birds, squirrels, water, etc. Example: Cat Sitter DVD.

Provide a water fountain which mimics the sound of a waterfall or water stream. Providing different water sources (e.g., static versus waterfall) gives cats choice about drinking options.

Purchase a pet stroller to take the cat out on walks if leash walking is unavailable. This option is good for city dwellers that must worry about dogs in close proximity. While this does not allow the cat to hunt, it does allow the cat to see, hear and smell new stimuli in a safe manner.

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