Without all the exciting sounds and smells of the outdoors, indoor kitties can get bored easily. Boredom can be detrimental to your cat, potentially leading to health issues like depression and obesity. As your cat’s caretaker, it’s your responsibility to provide an environment that’ll be exciting and stimulating for your cat. Here are 8 great ideas.
Image: Jeffrey : Flickr
#1 – Toys
Toys are a great way to keep your cat active and excited… but only if they are toys that your cat will actually play with. Finding the right toys may take a bit of experimentation, but the trials and errors will be worth it once you find something your cat loves. If your cat is home alone a lot, consider adding some battery operated interactive toys to your home that will wiggle, squeak, and move on their own.
Image: Jon Ross : Flickr
#2 – Playtime
Playtime (with you) is a necessary part of keeping your cat healthy. Set some time aside each day to play with your cat. Use a wand toy or laser pointer to activate her hunting instincts, then let her stalk her “prey”. If you don’t have a schedule that will allow you to play with her every day, battery-operated toys are crucial.
Image: Jennifer C. : Flickr
#3 – Scratching posts
Scratching posts help keep your claws healthy, but they’re also a great way to keep your cat active. A good scratching post will allow your cat to dig, release pent up energy, and get a good stretch.
#4 – Catnip
Not all cats are susceptible to the magic powers of catnip…but the ones who are will go absolutely bonkers for it. Give a little sprinkle to add some new excitement to toys or scratching posts that have lost their charm. You can also buy catnip in a concentrated liquid form to give toys a quick, clean spritz.
Image: Alan Turkus : Flickr
#5 – Window Perches
In the wild, cats are constantly stimulated by their outdoor environments. Their senses (most of which are far stronger than your own) are always perking up to sounds, smells, and moving critters. Making sure your indoor kitty has plenty of places to perch in windows will help her experience the exciting parts of being outdoors (but in a safer way). Your kitty may already be creating her own perch if you find her lounging on window sills, but you can also create them easily by placing a cat tree in front of the window or clearing off a nearby shelf.
Image: Chris Sobczak : Flickr
#6 – Bird feeders
Window perches are great, but depending on where you live you may need to take an additional action to get your cat excited. The easiest way to do this is to add a bird feeder or two outside the window. If the perch is on the first floor you can even simply sprinkle some birdseed onto the ground every once in a while. If you’re not on the ground floor you can add a hanging feeder or one that suctions to your window. If you’re lucky, the birds will even make your cat chatter!
#7 – Cat TV
Did you know there are tons of videos made specifically for cats? It’s true! Most of them are made by pointing a camera at a swarm of birds or squirrels. The movements and noises should get your cat excited pretty quickly. There are also videos that feature laser beams and scurrying cartoon mice! Try a few and see what gets your cat excited.
Image: Catit : Amazon
#8 – Food/treat puzzles
Many cats are food motivated, meaning nothing will get them moving quicker than the promise of dinner or treats. If that sounds like your cat, you can take advantage of that by incorporating food puzzles into your feeding routine. There are many food puzzle options that all function differently, but the concept is that your cat will have to work a bit to figure out how to get to her food or treats. While you may not enjoy the prospect of having to solve a puzzle to get to your own dinner, your cat will actually appreciate having to “hunt” for her meal.