I know where my human keeps all my favorite toys — the ones that she claims require “human supervision.” Of course, I know better, so sometimes if she’s not at her desk (where these toys are stored), I will just go and help myself. Does this make me a bad kitty? No! It makes me a bored kitty. My human knows this, but a lot of others apparently don’t, because they think cats who make their own fun are misbehaving. It’s really the humans who are out of line, because they are neglecting us cats.
Anyone who thinks cats prefer to be left alone is wrong. Unless a cat is feral, she wants human attention and enjoys interacting with people. She also needs to be mentally engaged. A cat that causes trouble is one who needs some excitement in her life. I know how humans hate to think too hard, so I’ve put together 10 tips for you to use with your cat, preferably before she has to figure out how to make her own fun.
- Schedule playtime daily. Cats, especially active younger ones like me, need regular playtime — the kind of play that leaves us panting blissfully from exhaustion. And we should have playtime every day. It’s as important for us cats as going for a walk is for a dog (you didn’t think you were just taking the dog out to go to the bathroom, did you?). And we cats want you to play with us, so use interactive toys. You will learn which ones are your cat’s favorites in very little time.
- Make sure we have good views. We cats all enjoy window watching, so make sure we have a perch from which to check out what is going on outside. The only time you need caution here is when you have feline trespassers that your cat doesn’t like. In that, case, you really should figure out a way to keep them away from your windows so your cat can enjoy Bird or Squirrel or even People TV when they want.
- If you have a good window view but no critters, invite the birds to come by with a bird feeder or two. You can’t have Bird TV without the actors, and they expect to get paid!
- Two words: training sessions. I have learned several tricks, and I may be a little better at learning them than most, but nearly all cats can learn at least one or two. Even Boodie knows how to sit up (the trick my human teaches nearly every cat that passes through her door). Having a training session every day is a fun way to build a human-cat bond, and if a cat is getting into everything, it’s a way to help contain some of his excess energy. Plus, treats! The treat rewards are my favorite part of the training, and they are always healthy treats, so my human feels good about giving them to me.
- Create routines. We cats are creatures of habit (and we may be a little bit OCD), so if you build routines just for us, we really appreciate it. Like having a special chair that your cat sits on while you are preparing her dinner, or a counter space set aside while you are in the bathroom getting ready for the day. Once your cat figures out that this is the way things are supposed to go, she will look forward to the routine you’ve created together.
- Leash train your cat. It takes some work, but if you have a really active cat, the best thing you can do is get him used to being in a harness and leash so he can explore the outdoors. It’s a lot of fun, and it’s the safest way for a cat to be outside. If I am getting into too much stuff (according to my human), she will slip my harness on me and take me outside for a while. Usually, it tires me out, even though I don’t really do that much while I’m outside.
- Set up kitty play areas. This is a great way to fight feline boredom. Figure out the areas in the house your cat enjoys spending time in, and install a cat tree, a condo or some shelving or wall platforms. We cats really like vertical space, so create some for us. You can also toss around a couple of paper bags (with the handles cut off), or a box or two for your cat to play with.
- Make or buy puzzle toys. There are treat puzzles of course, but you can also cut holes in a small box and add toys for your cat to try to grab with her paws. This will help stimulate your cat mentally. While these aren’t a replacement for human-cat games, they are good for when you are away from the house.
- Make sure you rotate toys too! The same old toys can get dull after a while. Always keep a few packed away (preferably in container with catnip), and trade them out now and again with the ones that have been sitting around and not getting much attention.
- Just spend time with your cat. Your cat may not be glued to your side every minute of the day, but he likes being around you and feeling like the family member he is. Include your cat when you are kicking back at home. Take time out a few times a day just to pet him in his favorite ways. It’s good for both of you.
Did you like my tips? Do you have more to add?