Cats are very unique animals and are known to be excellent companions to humans. They are our friends, playmates, and, sometimes, our dictators. Because cats have such strong personalities it is important that we support them in their environment. Cats have an innate aversion to new things. This is ultimately an instinctual personality trait for self-preservation. That said, cats also have an instinctual desire for play. Some scientists believe that this stems from the theory of survival of the fittest, for which a cat practices “hunting” and prey-driven behavior in a playful manner with its housemates. Other scientists believe it could just be for the reason we as humans play: for fun!
Our cats need stimulation for play in order to give them fulfillment throughout their day. It is very important as pet owners to encourage this playfulness in our cats. Interactive toys such as laser pointers, moving toys, balls that make noise, or toys on strings are great options for your cat. Treat puzzles can also be a source of entertainment. They offer mental stimulation and a reward system for the cat’s effort.
Access to windows is also important for cats so as to allow them to see birds, squirrels, cars, and people, which again keeps them mentally occupied. Positioning a cat tree or other perch next to a window is a wonderful way to offer not only the window-watching space but also a climbing, perching, and scratching post since physical activity and climbing is satisfying for cats as well.
Another option to offer superior feline enrichment is a “catio”. A catio is a wire enclosed space that offers cats an outdoor experience without the risk of being completely outdoors or exposed to any threats. Catios can have cat trees, perches, and other settings and toys to keep our feline friends well entertained and occupied. If a catio is not an option, taking cats for a walk in a safe environment with a leash and halter can be a wonderful option to get them the exercise and exposure that they need. Try introducing the halter and leash concept to the cat at home first as some cats may not do well with this option.
Ultimately, the best entertainment for your indoor cat is human interaction. The better we play with our feline family members, the more they recognize us as a source of entertainment and thus will desire to spend more time with us. Most importantly, variety is key. Ensure their environment stays clean, rotate in and out new and old toys and reposition cat trees and perches to offer new sights. Spending one-on-one time with our cats in play can be a wonderful release for them and a much needed reminder of fun for ourselves.
Written by: Harriet Burquist
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