Is Your Cat a Couch Potato? 5 Ways to Give Her Mental and Physical Stimulation
Cats do nap a lot. But extended napping could be sheer boredom. Contrary to the assertion that they are aloof and independent, cats do like to engage with their favorite people. Here are some quick fixes to offer your kitty both mental and physical stimulation and, at the same time, boost your quality time together.
1. Tricks and Treats
Believe it or not, felines will work for praise and tasty rewards. Consequently, clicker training works well with cats.
Let’s Start with “Sit”
Hold a treat low above her head, just far back enough so that in order to reach it, she has to sit. Say “sit” as you are performing this action and offer lots of praise when she does. And, of course, give the treat!
Teaching her to sit on command is a plus to get her to wait patiently for her food bowl instead of winding around your legs and getting underfoot. That way, you are actually spending quality time together at mealtimes. Cats are fast learners and repetition will soon have her sitting on command without the treat.
Kitty High Five
Once she’s sitting on command, you can move on to this simple trick that will certainly impress.
To teach the high five “slap,” wiggle your fingers and move your hand in front of her paw on the ground. When she pats your fingers with her paw, click and treat.
When she’s consistently patting your moving fingers, slowly raise your hand off the ground until its up in the air aligned with her shoulder height. When the cat raises its paw, put your hand in the path of the movement and click the instant the paw touches your hand.
Next move your hand slightly so the cat has to aim for your hand with its paw to get clicked and treated. Finally, add a cue such as “high five” or “paw up” when you hold out your hand. Click and treat.
Choosing her favorite treat will of course be an added incentive. Stock up on her favorite Wellness Kittles. They are all natural, grain-free, crunchy and only contain 2 calories per treat so they are perfect for training. Flavors include chicken, duck, tuna, salmon, turkey and whitefish, all with healthy cranberries.
Clicker training can be used to teach cats all kinds of fun tricks including playing Three Blind Mice on a piano. It’s a great way to spend quality time together.
2. Let the Indoor Hunt Begin
Cats in the wild are used to hunting and working for food. So, set up a treasure hunt in your home by hiding treats and some favorite catnip-filled and kicker-styled toys in different locations. Include toys that roll and wriggle too so that your cat has lots to discover in her own time. This is a great way to prevent boredom and keep felines engaged and ‘on the hunt’ especially when they are home alone.
There is also a great selection of specially designed cat puzzle toys and treat balls which are ideal for hiding scrumptious morsels and offer excellent stimulation as felines work out how to retrieve them.
3. Wind It Up with Wands
Wand games are a great way to engage your feline and spend quality time with her too. Actively engage her with a wand toy making sure you always swing sideways like a pendulum so that she doesn’t pounce forward and inadvertently scratch you. A wand should be light weight so it’s easy for you to play with too. Cats are attracted to those with realistic bugs or furry, feathery critters on the end. Games don’t have to be only airborne. Many cats enjoy watching the toy being trailed along the ground so they can pounce on it. When she has the critter firmly under her paw, wriggle the string gently so that it moves. When she releases it, then swing it in the air to start the games again. Often cats will pick up the wand (from the toy end) and carry it over to engage you in more games. If you throw it a short distance, you can encourage her to run after it and retrieve it and bring it back for more.
4. A Room with A View
There is nothing like a nice tall cat condo, strategically placed at a window to keep your cats in engaged in observing outdoor activities whether its birds flying by, people walking and even cars coming and going. Apart from the outdoor view, cats really enjoy vertical space as it offers them a personal space to watch the activity in the room too as well as a place to escape to from other household pets for a snooze.
5. Leash walks Versus a Cat Stroller
Training a cat to walk on a leash is a great way to enrich her lifestyle by safely allowing her to enjoy the sights and sounds of the great outdoors. It’s also an excellent way of revving up her exercise routine.
However, a cat’s personality will play an important role in deciding if she is game for a fresh air challenge. An adventurous cat will probably embrace this opportunity to sniff around outside and even stop and lie down to survey her surroundings. While skittish scaredy cats may resist, preferring the view from the kitty condo instead. It also depends on your neighborhood. If there are lots of dogs out and about on the route, or you live in a neighborhood where coyotes roam even in the day time, consider a cat stroller as an outdoor alternative.
They are an excellent option for a change of scenery. You can even stop and sit on a bench and let her watch the world go by. Cats, if they are allowed outside on their own will often go and hang out under a bush and watch insects, butterflies and birds from this vantage point. And they can do exactly the same thing from the comfort and safety of a stroller.
It’s also a great way to get you to spend time with her and out and about too!