Toys, Games, and Puzzles! How to Entertain Your Indoor Cat
Playing with your cat is a great way to strengthen your bond. Additionally, kittens, like any other young animal, have an essential need for play as part of their development to maturity. Cats that never go outside will need plenty of stimulation and play, particularly when young, to prevent them from becoming bored. It’s important to understand that your cat’s mental needs, as well as its physical ones, are just as vital to their overall wellbeing.
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Enriched Home Environment
An enriched, feline-friendly home environment is crucial to having a happy cat. We’ll focus on the range of different ways cats play, and how we can stimulate them to do so.
For more ideas, check out our other cat-friendly articles!
What types of toys do cats like?
Every cat will have specific likes and dislikes regarding toys. These preferences might include the texture, shape, size, scent, noise, movement, and even things like the location and presence of other cats. Start playing with a range of toys to see which they prefer.
Toys made specifically for kittens are safest and there’s a large selection to choose from at pet stores. There are also home-made alternatives; these include scrunched up foil balls, ping-pong balls, cardboard boxes with holes in them (so they can climb in and out), and feathers dangling from a string - fishing rod style. Take time to see what your cat or kitten prefers, and when/where they prefer to play.
To encourage your cat to play with anything, try catnip on or sewn-into a toy. A plant that we call catnip has an extraordinary effect on around 80% of cats. An encounter with either the plant itself or with a catnip-stuffed toy can make cats excited. Your cat may sniff and roll around on the ground or over the catnip. The active chemical in the plant is called nepetalactone and has been likened to LSD. However, its effect is short-lived and harmless to cats.
More sophisticated toys include laser pointers, battery-operated toys that move and change direction, and full-on cat activity centers that often include food rewards.
In the wild, cats are predators that hunt for their food. At home, they get it served from the same dish in the same place every day. How about introducing some puzzle feeders to make their feeding more fun and challenging? A variety of feeders exist but you can start by making one at home. Check out this linkfor ideas!
Hopefully, you’ll find many ways to stimulate, challenge, and play with your cat. This should also provide you and your family with a lot of joy too!
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