Boredom Busters for Cats
As cats have such specific needs it isn’t enough just to provide some food, shelter and love. While these elements are as important as ever to your cat, catering for their mental and physical stimulation is just as essential.
Not all activities will suit your cat’s disposition, so trial a few to see which ones suit best.
- Access to enclosures where they can observe the outside world, get fresh air and a little sunlight (whilst being careful of the level and length of UV exposure, especially for cats with white fur)
- Scratching poles and multiple level resting places
- Free standing cupboards and wardrobes provide large areas where a cat can rest or hide in a high place. It may be necessary to place furniture nearby to give the cat a halfway platform for ease of access.
- Cubby houses – even ones made from cardboard boxes
- Food dispensing toys simulate the cat having to work at their prey to get their food
- Hide and seek and treasure hunting games with food to stimulate your cat’s natural hunting skills
- A small garden or potted garden of feline-friendly herbs (catnip, cat grass and cat mint)
- A variety of toys such as ping pong balls, fluffy mice, catnip filled toys. Remember to change them over every few days to keep your cat interested. Many toys can be made from recycled material.
- Safe walking equipment such as harnesses and leads (cats may be trained to walk on a harness)
- Time – it is important to spend one-on-one time with your cat - groom them, pat them and just be in the same place with them. They are companion animals and they generally love to spend quality time with their people
- The slightly more cluttered home is a haven of possibilities for a cat, offering high places to sit and plenty of places to disappear from view.
- Provide a high perch near a small window to allow them to check out the neighbourhood from a position of safety.
- The majority of owners provide water in the same location as the food bowl. The presence of water near the food can actually deter some cats from drinking sufficient fluid, particularly if they are on a dry diet. Finding water elsewhere can be extremely rewarding. Use a large enough bowl so your cat can drink without touching its whiskers against the sides. Cats like the bowl to be full to the brim so that they can lap without putting their heads down.
- Make sure food and water are provided far away from the litter tray.
- Cats love secret hideaways. These can be created by making space available under the bed, inside cupboards or wardrobes or behind the sofa, for example. Your cat should never be disturbed while using a private area unless you have any reason to believe that your pet may be unwell.
- Cats spend the majority of their time asleep so providing a warm bed to sleep in, with the familiar scent of their owners, gives a sense of safety and security. Make sure any cat bedding provided is washable but don’t clean it too frequently, unless heavily soiled, as cats gravitate towards surfaces with a familiar scent.
- Fresh air: Do not underestimate the value of fresh air. Grills over your windows, either home-made or purchased specifically for the purpose, will allow fresh air to enter your house. Your cat will love the challenging and interesting smells from outside.