Ever find yourself feeling bored? Chances are your feline companion might be feeling the same way! Cats are natural born hunters and enjoy stalking, pouncing, climbing and being active. And just like humans, they benefit from a challenge! Here at PAWS, we create an interesting and stimulating environment for the animals by giving them plenty of opportunities to "hunt" through interactive playtime with our volunteers and staff.
Taking time to play with your cat can help build their confidence, improve behavior problems, and strengthen the bond between you and your pet. Playtime encourages your cat to stay active, and helps them maintain a healthy weight. Here are a couple of things we do at PAWS that you can do at home with your own furry friend.
Make interactive playtime part of your daily routine. While it’s great to have toys available for your cat while you’re gone during the day, it’s also important to take time on a daily basis to play with them. Cats are often most active in the morning and evening, so the beginning and end of the day are great times for play sessions. Feather fishing pole toys are a favorite with PAWS cats, and are a great way to simulate hunting. However, it’s important that these toys are never left unattended as they can be choking hazards.
Rotate your cat's toys. In the same way that people often enjoy new things, cats enjoy the novelty of new toys. Try rotating your cat’s toys to make play time more enticing. You can add variety by including different shapes, textures and sounds, such as stuffed mice, balls with bells, fabric balls that crinkle, etc. You can also include catnip toys to make play time even more appealing.
Introduce Puzzle Feeders. Puzzle feeders are toys with strategically placed holes that release food when moved. These are great toys for kitties because they encourage cats to play by offering food as a reward. You can fill the feeder with a couple of treats or pieces of food to provide your cat with a challenging and rewarding activity while you’re away. As long as you’re able to ensure that your cat gets proper nutrition, you can even use puzzle feeders to deliver their daily serving of dry food. Many felines enjoy the challenge of working for their food, and it can also help prevent pet obesity.
For more information about companion animal enrichment, visit our Resources page. Or, if you would like to donate to the animals at PAWS, check out our Wish List!