Cats are naturally athletic and curious creatures. Although all fur babies need to stay active, kitties may require extra attention when they live indoors. Whether your kitty is the type to play with anything or a little on the cuddlier side, here are a few clever ideas to convince your kitty to get up and stay moving. Many pet parents understand the importance of keeping their feline friends active. Play not only gets your fur ball moving, it provides an essential outlet for mental and physical energy. Cats have a natural instinct to hunt and explore. Many of the most popular trends today show pet owners using creativity to accommodate their kitty’s natural needs. Many of these ideas come highly recommended by the Humane Society and are the most popular trends in keeping cat’s active.
Consider a “Catio” Keeping an indoor cat active can be a challenge, especially if you live in an apartment. A “catio”, or indoor-outdoor cat playpen, is a small enclosure that can be placed on a small patio to give cats a feel of the outdoors without the risks. Many feature shelving and stairs, perfect for climbing, jumping, sunbathing, and naps. Be sure to place the “catio” in an area with some shade and away from any potentially hazardous plants. Animal Planet offers an excellent how-to video for ambitious DIYers.
Leash Training Although it takes time and patience, leash training can be a fun way to exercise and bond with your kitty. Initially, cats may seem resistant to a leash, often playing with it or refusing to participate at all. Start by introducing a comfortable harness, then try it on numerous times while positively reinforcing with treats or a meal. Eventually your kitty will adjust to the feeling of a harness and you can try using the leash. There are numerous ways to help your cat acclimate to a leash, it’s a fun way to safely enjoy a beautiful day. People will want to take pictures!
Cat Trees A cat tree or “kitty condos” is a classic go-to for your indoor kitty’s entertainment. Traditional cat trees often feature carpet covered towers with several areas for jumping or napping. Found in nearly every pet store, cat trees come in all shapes and sizes. Increasingly, cat lovers are taking their cat trees to the next level. If you plan to build or modify your cat tree, popular trends include adding hammocks, dangling toys, even cat wheels.
Cat Wheels Another popular cat trend is a kitty-sized hamster wheel, appropriately named the cat wheel. Either as an addition to a cat tree or as a stand-alone wheel, cats can hop on for a run whenever they like! One Fast Cat is a popular brand of cat wheels, known for comfortable textures and stylish design. Cat wheels have shown to increase activity, decrease stress, and entertain cats and pet parents alike.
Cat Puzzles Food puzzles are a fun and energetic approach to feeding or giving treats. Why not mix up an everyday meal with a guessing game, using a muffin tin and cardboard pieces? Creative pet owners are finding innovative ways to incorporate household items for exciting, safe new ways to play. Popular puzzle projects include:
- Line a shoe box with toilet paper rolls; add random toys or treats in the holes
- Cut numerous paw-shaped holes in a shoebox and fill with toys (check edges and line with tape if sharp)
- Cut holes in the top of an egg carton and fill random areas with food or treats
- You can also line a shoebox with small plastic cups (yogurt, sour cream, etc.) to add an extra fun slippery surface.
Cat Toys Each mini feline is unique in what they play with, like completely ignoring new toys only to bat a bottle cap for hours. Kitties most commonly prefer toys that are light, movable things that are easily picked up, swatted and chased. Cats also love hiding, especially in boxes or bags. According to the Humane Society, there are numerous household items that you can safely use to entertain your pet:
- Plastic curtain rings
- Ping-pong balls or plastic golf balls
- Paper bags (make sure to remove handles and do not use plastic bags)
- Cardboard rolls from paper towels or toilet paper (unwind the end to get them excited!)
- Make your own stuffed mice sewing together felt filled with catnip
- Make a kitty fishing rod by tying together a toy and a sturdy stick
- Keep your pet’s options limited so you can change them out weekly. Cats become can easily become bored or overstimulated.
Cat Hide and Seek Pet parents can continue to keep things fresh by introducing new toys and treats in different ways. Find easy-to-access (and easy-to-remember!) places throughout your home to hide new items for natural discovery. Cats are often curious about your activity anyway. Letting them play hide and seek with toys can be a quick, fun activity. Pet parents can take it a step further by adding home agility items, such as hurdles, jumps, hoops, ladders, and tunnels.
What to Avoid Keeping your cat active often depends less on investing in expensive toys and more on creative willpower. Finding household objects to entertain your kitty seems easy but there are a few dangers that can be easy to overlook. Here are a few items to be cautious of:
- String – String can accidentally be swallowed or tangled around the neck or limbs.
- Bags – Be sure to cut off the handles of paper bags to ensure cats can’t get tangled.
- Paper clips - These have sharp pointed edges and can easily be swallowed.
- Rubber bands – These can get tangled around a paw or swallowed.
- Plastic bags - Kitties can get tangled, trapped, or even suffocate.
- Plastic rings or caps– Often from bottles or cartons, these items can be easily chewed into dangerous little pieces
- Boxes – Some cardboard boxes have sharp edges, avoid cutting plastic containers for projects as edges tend to be more dangerous.
With sites like Pinterest and Instagram, pet parents are constantly finding inspiration to brighten their little one’s lives. Each trend is inspired by a love and dedication to keep our companions happy and healthy. To learn more about what you can do to help keep your cat young, explore our blog for tips on exercise, nutrition, and much more.