Ok, so your cat thinks every day is National Cat Day, but since it really is, here are some things you can do to help celebrate in a healthy way. Today’s cats live in a world of expanding waistlines, so make a play date with your cat. Many people own cats instead of dogs because they have a busy lifestyle, and cats don’t need to be walked outside on a leash. The misconception is that all you need is a litter box, food, and water. Just like us, cats need exercise and mental stimulation. Here are some ideas to have fun with our furry couch potatoes:
- Cats need toys and, while they have favorites, it’s a good idea to hide some and rotate them to avoid boredom. Freshen up the toy with a little catnip once in a while, and it’s like a new toy again.
- Get involved with playtime by throwing or dangling a toy (watch your fingers!).
- Toys don’t have to be expensive. Put a paper bag on the floor and tap the bottom. Most cats will dive in. There are many youtube videos online of this – add yours!
- If you have a large egg carton, put a ball in it, and show your cat how it can be pushed from one hole to another or out completely to chase.
- The empty toilet tissue roll can provide hours of fun. It’s best not to show your cat where it came from, however. He might learn that shredding toilet tissue gets to a great toy inside!
- Cats love to jump vertically, so tall scratching posts with little cubby holes to hide in, are ideal. Scratching posts serve the instincts to shed old cuticle, sharpen claws, stretch muscles, and leave the cat’s scent. Even cats that are declawed need an outlet for scratching as they retain the scratching instinct. If you train a cat to jump on the post and scratch it early in life, this entertainment may deter them from the counters and furniture as well.
- Teach him to “Bend it like Beckham!” Cats are great soccer players. Start the game with one of those packs of 5 foam balls sold in pet stores. They roll and are light enough to pick up with claws and teeth. Throw it from one end of a room to the other, and your cat will eventually join in. They do get lost, and you will get tired, so the pack of 5 comes in handy.
- Play “Attack of the Cover Monsters” on your bed. You have probably discovered this game by accident when you moved your feet in the middle of the night. Cats love to “hunt” whatever moves back and forth under the blankets. Make sure you protect yourself with thick blankets so you don’t get scratched. Don’t play this game unless you are prepared for your cat to initiate the game while you are sleeping. He won’t understand why it is ok sometimes and not others.
- Once you have engaged your cat in play, you can hide some of his toys to discover and to exercise while you are not home.
- If your cat eats dry food, you can also inspire his hunting instinct by hiding it around the house or in toys specifically made for this. One of the reasons our cats may be tubby is that they no longer need to hunt for food. Some cats will follow their instincts and will eat their “free choice” meal throughout the day, while others will eat everything in front of them. If you hide some in various places around your home, they will be forced to get off the couch and “hunt the wild dry food.”
We hope you have a wonderful National Cat Day with your cat. Don’t work too hard; it should be fun, and you both will benefit. If you’d like to send us a video of your cat playing his favorite game, send it to email@example.com or post it to our Facebook Page.