Cats are peculiar little creatures. It’s hard not to love their tiny adorable faces and their quirky ways. However, keeping a cat entertained is not an easy task. Cats are clever and tend to get bored with their playthings quickly, often times, taking their boredom out on your new couch or screen windows. Needless to say, being a cat parent can be frustrating, and we’re not always ready to head to the store to buy more toys and gadgets to keep our feline from destroying our home and driving us crazy.
But it may not be the cat’s fault they are uninterested; there are some strong natural instincts at play here. While cats are fairly easy to care for, just like many other pets, they can get bored. So how in the world do you keep your cat entertained?
It can be overwhelming trying to keep up with your cat’s ever-changing interests. But don’t you worry; we are here to help! While buying your cat a new toy whenever they’re tired of their old one is nice in theory, we all aren’t made of money. Instead of heading out to the pet store to find the latest cat gadget, let’s use items and resources already at our disposal.
Keep It Fresh
Have you ever purchased a cat toy your cat loved, played with for days on end, just to be forgotten the following week? We all have. Cats are natural hunters. When a new toy is brought home their predatory instincts take over; they are on the hunt. But eventually, the cat and mouse game must come to an end. Pun intended. A great way around this is to keep a handful of toys in the home but rotate them in and out of use. So instead of having all the toys out at once, keep one or two out at a time, changing them out when your cat gets bored.
Keep It Moving
While keeping in mind that cats are natural hunters, it is important to select toys that should be hunted aka let’s talk movement. When you pull out a new toy or a toy from your stash take a few minutes to play with it. Roll it around on the floor, toss it, and have your feline chase it. This helps your cat know it can play and chase the toy. Alternatively, you can purchase toys that move on their own. There are classics like laser pointers (remember, never shine in your pet’s delicate eyes), rolling jingly balls, and wind up mice. There are also some newer models of toys that are battery operated and can move on their own. The point here is if the toy is moving, the cat will notice it and be motivated to check it out.
Mix It Up
Just like with children (or heck, even adults), variety is the spice of life. You wouldn’t buy a child just one type of toy and expect them to stay entertained forever. The same should be true for your cat. Just having a collection of balls isn’t enough to keep their interest. Try having a few different types of toys on hand: balls, mice, wands, motorized toys, etc. Plus, even within the same class of toy, you can mix it up. Instead of only having hard jingle ball toys, toss in some crinkle balls and some soft mice. You can even get some of varying sizes and colors; the options are endless! What is interesting to your kitty today may not be tomorrow and having options increases your chances of satisfying their play needs.
Cats are creatures of habit. If you purchase a cat tree, bed, or tunnel thinking your cat will instantly love it, you may be surprised when you find your cat still sleeping on your kitchen table. Don’t feel crazy; you are not alone. It is not because the new cat furniture is not interesting, it’s because your cat loves sleeping on the table. It’s as simple as that, and we all know cats do what they want. A great way to get your cat interested in the new furniture, and off your table, is to sprinkle a little catnip on the furniture. Initially, your kitty will flock to the furniture because the smell is so intoxicating, but after a little while, they will choose their new digs over the simple tabletop.
Get Them a Friend
If you have the space, the resources, and the extra love to give, consider getting your cat companion a cat companion of their own. This is especially helpful with kittens, who have the instincts to play wrestle and chase each other around the house. There are always special accommodations when bringing a new cat into the home to ensure that there aren’t territorial disputes. However; if done correctly, your cat will have another cat to nap and play with for life!
Keep Them Company While You’re Away
Pets notice when their owners aren’t home and often get lonely. If you are out of the house for long hours every day, it may be time to consider hiring a sitter. It is a common misconception that cats are too self-sufficient to need pet sitters. The truth is, they need more than just someone popping in and giving them fresh food and water; they need attention. Pet sitters are a great way to make sure your cat is getting the one on one time they crave. With a pet sitter playing with your cat during the day, burning up some famous feline energy, you are less likely to experience annoying cat antics at 3am in the morning. No guarantees, of course!
Entertaining a cat is not a hard science, and no matter what we do, sometimes our efforts will not be rewarded. However, we believe with a little thinking ahead and a spoonful of effort you can ensure that your feline friend has ample options for entertainment.
P.S. Don’t forget about Fido! Check out ways to ensure your dog is entertained and well-exercised here!