If there's one thing people agree on regarding cats, it's that most cats live for naps. Whether basking in the sun or laying on your stomach, cats spend hours of their day sleeping. Even though cats aren't known for being as active as dogs, they can become irritable without stimulation. Staying active is essential for your cat's health, as well. Cat activities help your cat stay healthy, happy, and strong.
Some cats stay active on their own or with other pets, while others need encouragement to maintain an active lifestyle. As a pet parent, you can encourage your cat to stay active throughout the day with indoor cat activities. You can do many things to keep your pet engaged and moving. The following cat enrichment activities and cat exercise tips can help.
Cat Food Puzzle
Make your cat work for their food! A cat food puzzle is a unique feeder that makes your cat forage for what they eat. Cat food puzzles come in many styles, including mats, balls, and bowls that all, in one way or another, make obtaining food a fun challenge for your pet.
Cat food puzzles stimulate your pet's mind and body as they satisfy their instinct to work for their food. These interactive tools are great toys you can give your cat when you want them to be stimulated but don't have time to play with them or want to mix up how to provide treats and meals.
Walk Your Cat
Did you know that you can walk your cat? It's true! Cats enjoy physical activity outside where they can see sights and hear sounds they aren’t exposed to indoors. Walking your cat is different from walking a dog, however. Cat walks tend to be meandering, with the cat setting the direction, so they need a special harness to keep them tethered to you.
If you're interested in walking your cat, get a harness to fit your cat, and be sure to update your cat's shots before spending time outside together. One more thing: consider getting a microchip for your cat if you haven't already. Cats can be slippery, and if your cat should happen to run away, you'll want a method of retrieval.
Cats enjoy hiding and being found by their owners and hunting hidden prey. Whether you're hiding and your cat is seeking, or you're seeking your cat, this game is a chance for pet and owner to bond. Play hide-and-seek whenever you notice your cat is hiding for you, or initiate the game by hiding at a time when you know your cat is looking for you. Hide-and-seek keeps your pet stimulated and also keeps your pet active and engaged.
Food-hunting games are not that different from the food puzzles described above. It's easy to facilitate food hunting in your house without buying a particular puzzle for your cat to explore. Start by choosing a food with a scent that your cat responds to. Next, put the food in a disposable plastic cup, open-end up in the center of a room.
Let your cat "hunt" the food. Once your cat understands the game, you can put the disposable cup in other parts of the house and let your cat find the cup. The more your cat participates in the game, the more hidden the cup can be with every turn. This encourages your cat to roam their territory, which satisfies a natural instinct your cat has.
Play with Paper Bags and Cardboard Boxes
Cats love to play with things that offer an opportunity for exploration and mischief. Offer your cat a box or paper bag whenever it's convenient. Your cat will naturally bat at the paper bag and, if it's large enough, may try to fit inside. To allow your cat to play with the cardboard box, lay the box on its side in a place where your cat can access it. You can put a cat toy inside the box to encourage your cat to get inside, but many cats will get in anyway, toy or no toy.
Cat apps are designed to capture the cats' attention and give them something to swipe at with their paws. Cat apps are available on Android and Apple devices. Have fun, and search for the app your cat responds to most.
Catnip is a non-addictive, not dangerous plant that most cats respond to in some way. Some cats get a boost of energy from catnip, while others simply sit in a euphoric haze when exposed to catnip. If your cat is one of the many pets who get that burst of happy energy from catnip, then you can take advantage of this by giving your cat a catnip-infused cat toy for a few minutes each day. Let the fun ensue!
Teach New Tricks
Cats may not be exactly like dogs, but they can be taught to perform tricks like fetch, come, stand, sit and lay down. Use treats as a motivator in the initial training stages, and once your cat knows what to do, you can stop offering treats every time they perform the trick. Limit your training sessions to just a few minutes a couple of times each day to avoid frustrating your cat.
Keep It Up
Active cats are happy cats. Encouraging your cat to exercise with activities for cats is a way to keep your cat physically and mentally healthy. It's also good for your relationship with your cat to engage in activities together. You may enjoy some favorite activities together, but it's also a good idea to add variety to your activities to keep life interesting for both of you. By engaging in an active lifestyle, you and your cat will strengthen your bond.