With everyone staying at home during the current world health crisis and social distancing orders, our companion cats are getting more of our attention than usual. You may notice while you are at home more that cats really do sleep quite a bit during the day. You may also be noticing that there are times when your cat races around the room with no logic or reason whatsoever
Why do cat race around like that? Despite your cat’s love of sleep, your indoor cat also needs activities that will alleviate boredom, using up the pent-up energy that outdoor cats deplete while hunting for food. Bored kitties with nothing else to do can often find their own way to keep occupied, and you might not like what mischief they decide to get into. When your cat is running around like this, he may create some unintentional chaos in your home, knocking things over and perhaps breaking things in the process.
Besides his need to release that extra energy, your cat also wants and needs your attention and companionship daily, just as much as his K9 counterparts. Now that you are home, your cat has you as his captive audience, but you might know just how to keep him engaged while giving him the love and attention he craves.
Here are some ideas to help your cat get the emotional and mental stimulation he needs every day, and even create a closer bond with your cat in the process, while keeping your belongings safe from those wild “zoomie” moments.
- Nap and Cuddle Time: What could be better than curling up on the bed or sofa to take a long after siesta, while your cat’s purr gently lulls you to sleep. After all, cats do spend a good 18 hours a day in slumberland.
- Put Up a Cat Tree: Your cat wants to be where you are, where all the action is. Setting up a cat tree in the room where your family spends the most time will allow him to hang out with you, even if he wants to keep his social distance at times.
- Mock Hunts: Before meals, out in nature your cat would be on the hunt to catch that tasty morsel. Do him (and yourself) a favor, and help your cat use up his pent-up energy and sharpen his hunting instincts by staging mock hunts. You can play with a feather or wand type toy and make him chase and catch the toy before you give him his meal. You can also hide treats around the house for him to hunt and catch throughout the day.
- Good Grooming: You know how we never have time to brush out cats? Well, we do now that we’re all staying at home. Choose a gentle, soft brush when you want to give your cat a nice body massage, and a brush with “fingers” to help rid your cat of excess fur. Be sure to give him a good face rub as well, whether it be with your fingers or with that soft brush.
- Talk or Read Aloud: You cat loves the sound of your voice. Read out loud to him, or simply talk to him in a nice soothing voice. Before long, he will be stretch out and purring on your lap or by your side as he listens to your every word.
- Watch Nature Shows and Videos: Cats love to watch action, so play some nature shows on television, or view some YouTube videos that show birds, butterflies, or mice scurrying about. Watch his eyes narrow as he watches; he may even chatter at the birds on the screen. Videos showing kittens at play or even action sports may also spark your cat’s interest, and he may decide to bat at the screen trying to join in the fun.
- Set Up a Bird Feeder: Your cat might love watching the birds eat if you set up a feeder by the window. Add a nice window perch for him to sit on, and he’ll be in kitty nirvana as he watches the many birds come to have a snack.
- Play Kitty Games on the iPad: It’s not just your human kids who enjoy playing video games on the iPad. There are games created specifically for your cat to help keep him entertained. My own cats love the Cat Fishing and Mouse for Cats games. There is even a Paint for Cats game you can download and play together.
- Make Homemade Kitty Treats: Especially with the long delivery times on cat food right now, it might be the perfect time to try making some homemade food or treats for your cats. There are recipes for everything from no bake tuna treats to little tuna snack crackers that you can bake and even eat yourself! Your cat will love to be your taste tester, and you’ll have fun giving him healthy goodies you made yourself with loving care.
Now that you have some ideas to keep your cat happy and occupied, use them to develop a closer bond with your cat. You’ll have fun and learn more about your cat’s personality, and he will feel happier and more secure with you than ever before.