Your cat is an amazing animal – but I bet you knew that already! Cats are superbly adapted to live as a glamorous predator. They have lightning quick reflexes, fine-tuned hunting skills, astounding agility and a mind perfectly adapted for attaining prey. If cats are not able to use these skills or exercise their abilities they can become mentally and physically frustrated. A few simple tricks around the house will give feline friends the opportunity to apply themselves and show off their skills. This is great for mental and physical stimulation and is also just good old plain fun for all!
Cats will often have a ‘prey’ preference and this will influence the type of toy they like. A cat with a bird fetish will probable love some feathers and string dangled just out of reach while a cat with a lizard or beetle fixation will be much more motivated by something scuttling along the floor. Experiment with what your cat likes – swooping, air born toys, scuttling, darting toys, larger toys that move suddenly…
Cats enjoy nothing more than scrambling up and surveying their domain – think the Lion King, staring out over the savannah, Master of all that is below. Now this is fine Puss is happy to do this from the back of the couch but can be a bit of a problem if they want to scramble up the curtains and crouch on the curtain rail! Providing you cat with multiple vantage points of varying height will give them the opportunity to lord it over the rest of the house. Cats enjoy vertical and horizontal perches – so platforms and different levels are also a great idea. A simple home technique is to pop Puss’s favourite soft bed up on the desk or window ledge, giving them a new view of the world.
In their natural state cats would have to work quite hard for food. I doubt that they are all that keen to go back to this state of affairs, looking cute and rubbing along your legs for dinner is a lot easier! But we can stimulate these instincts in our pets. Food puzzles and food toys are a great way to extend the pleasure of eating and make your cat work for the food as well. Some simple home ideas include a pyramid of toilet rolls with dry cat food in the tubes. Puss will have to pull the food out one bit at a time with a paw.
Commercial options are also available all shapes and sizes.
One of the most popular models is the Egg-Cersizer ®. This blue egg can be filled with food and the settings adjusted to challenge your cat. Because of the egg shape it tends to roll in a circle and can be very easily punted across the floor by a paw. This makes it the ideal food dispenser and mental challenge for cats. We recommend its use in active cats that need more stimulation and as part of weight loss programs for obese cats. If they can’t be bothered to push the egg across the floor then they are just not hungry!
Have you tried giving your cat different beds to sleep on and in? A change in surface can be very exciting! Some cats will even like to try grass or leaves from the garden in addition to the more traditional soft fluffy blankets. Crinkly surfaces like bubble wrap are sometimes fun to play with but be sure not to frighten you cat with this one. There is even the odd cat out there that loves access to a shallow paddling pool filled with treats or toys.
Cats will often love to explore cubbies and hidey-holes. Old boxes and tunnels and tubes can make a great and easy cat obstacle course. Encourage your cat to explore the different structures by hiding food rewards in various spots. Before you know it, Puss will be leaping around, having a grand old time!
These are just a few simple tricks you can use to open up your cat’s world and encourage them to exercise their mind and body. Come in and have a look at what toys we have got and chat to one of our friendly staff about ways to keep your cat active, happy and healthy. Have fun!