Dec 13, 2012

Jazz up your indoor cat’s life

It’s NOT normal for a cat to eat, sleep, and hide most of the day – and get FAT. Enriching cats’ environments helps them burn calories, alleviate boredom, prevent behaviour problems and bladder troubles, and slow down the aging process. 

Here are five tips to make your home cat friendly:

1. Cats need elevated spots to hang out in. Buy cat shelves to hang at different heights or simply clear a window ledge. They also love scratching posts and plenty of cosy hiding places like boxes and tunnels.

2. Stop ignoring your cat. One of the reasons cats have become so popular is because people think you don’t need to do anything with them. Of course, this is far from true and is one of the reasons there are so many overweight cats. Play with your cats once or twice a day for at least five minutes—during TV commercials is ideal!

3. Activate the cat’s hunting drive. See if your cat likes feeding from enrichment toys hidden around the house.  The kibble will only fall out of the toys a few pieces at a time stimulating the hunting instinct and preventing the cat from eating too quickly. You can buy these food-dispensing toys or make your own from a toilet paper roll, with both ends sealed off. Fill the tube with kibble and poke holes in it.

4. Redefine and rotate toys.  Move cat toys around the house. The feather toy in the living room is a whole new toy in the bedroom. Cut holes in an empty box and move it around the house. Exercise your cat’s hunting instinct with mouse-sized toys jerked around the floor.

5. Take your cat new places. Fenced-in outdoor pet patios or cat runs break up the indoor cat’s day and provide live entertainment.

The more time you spend enriching your cats’ environment, the smarter and healthier they will be. A cat’s mind is a terrible thing to waste!

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