How You Can Enrich Your Cat’s Life: Part 1
Indoor cats have received an undeserved reputation of being lazy and sleeping all the time, like Garfield, going from food dish to bed and back again. That's one of many reasons that playing with your cat is extremely important. Cats are social animals; the time you spend together will solidify your bond and enrich your cat’s life, as well yours! In addition, playtime keeps your cat’s mind active and instincts fresh.
Studies have shown that cats play best and more often with toys that also include human interaction. Here's where you come in! Getting various wand toys, like the Da Bird, can provide activity for both you and your cat together. Really, any wand toy that has safe attachments can be used for this type of play, but remember to hide any toys with strings when not in use. Try out a few to see if your kitty prefers feathers, fur, or squeaky mice on her toy. Similarly, laser toys can be very fun for you and your cat. Laser play engages most cats and you may be surprised at the lengths your kitty will go to catch the laser “prey”! Try not to wear your cat out too much and keep in mind that a small meaty treat at the end of this kind of play really puts to rest the urge to hunt, at least for a little while!
Many behaviorists recommend that playing with your cat involves mostly toys, not hands or feet. Certainly when petting or grooming your kitty you need to use your hands, but you shouldn’t teach your cat (especially young kittens) to run after, swat at, or bite hands and feet. That can be a pretty hard habit to break later in life!
Another thing you can do as a cat parent is to make subtle changes in the environment to keep it interesting for your kitty. Don’t move all the furniture around in one day or anything, but maybe rotate her cat tree for a different view of the room. Or add an additional soft spot to sleep that wasn’t there before. And, of course, always keep her toys fresh and new!
But what if you’re not home to play with your kitty? Read How You Can Enrich Your Cat’s Life: Part 2 where we discuss what you can do for your cat to keep her occupied while her humans are away.
Published on December 10, 2010.