Cats have been companions to humans for thousands of years. Their intelligence and charm made the Egyptians worship them and today’s cat-themed memes aren’t too far off from how the Egyptians felt. Of course, having such an intelligent animal as a pet means you need to keep him or her entertained. Consider these ideas for ensuring your cat is mentally and physically healthy and happy.
1. Create a Treasure Hunt
Cats love to hunt. By stashing toys around the house, you can keep him or her entertained. To ensure your cat remains interested, periodically change which toys you hide. The best toys are those that are interactive, such as the Flitter Automatic Teaser Cat Toy, which you can either put in plain sight or "hide" behind a couch or chair. Simpler toys are also good for creating treasure hunts. Try hiding a ping pong ball in the bathtub. Your cat will be able to bat it around for hours without losing it under the refrigerator.
2. Give Him His Own Space
Much like teenagers, cats are moody and private so it is important for yours to have its own space to play. Some people go all out and create an entire room for their cat but even a corner of one room will work. Start with a cat tree or scratching post and add a few of his or her favorite toys. Cats love to watch what is going on outside so consider creating his or her space near a window where it will be easy to sit and watch the neighbors. For even more fun, consider hanging some of the toys so your cat can bat them around.
3. Leave Your Stuff Out
Thousands of cat pictures on the internet prove it. Cats love your empty bags, your empty boxes and even your empty laundry baskets. When you can, leave items such as this out for your cat to explore, play in or sleep in. However, it is important to keep safety in mind. If the bags or boxes have any spaces where your cat's head or neck could become trapped, remove those spots first.
4. Buy a Bird Feeder
If your cat loves to watch birds in the yard, consider giving him or her a front row seat to the next feeding session. Purchase or build a small bird house and set it up in front of a window that your cat can easily reach and see out of. Fill it with birdseed and watch as birds, squirrels and chipmunks pay your yard a visit. Not only do you keep your cat entertained, which makes him or her less likely to jump on counters or otherwise get into things, but you will help to feed the local wildlife. Keep in mind that cats love to hunt so only put a bird feeder in your yard if your cat stays inside or if you put a bell on its collar to warn its prey.
5. Make Him Work for Treats
Cats are intelligent so why not give yours a challenge? Instead of simply giving your cat a treat once in a while, make him or her work for it by using a treat-feeding toy such as the Funkitty Egg-Cersizer Cat Toy. Toys such as this are created to dispense food as your kitty solves puzzles or even simply bats the toy around. He or she will work off those cat treat calories even before eating them.
6. Let Him Climb
If yours is like other cats, he loves to climb. The higher a cat is, the happier he or she is. Luckily, you can make places for your cat to climb even if you don't have a large home. In addition to buying a cat tree such as the Cat is Good Scratch Post and Cat Perch, consider other ways you can allow him or her to change the view. Clearing off a bookshelf, a small table or even the back of your sofa leaves plenty of ways for him to become king of the jungle. Leave the blinds open during the day so he or she can see outside and you'll likely earn extra purrs in the evening. Remember to remove any breakable or dangerous items from the area first to prevent mess or disaster.
7. Let Him Go Outside
If your cat is particularly laid back, consider taking him or her on a walk with the help of a Come With Me Kitty Leash and Harness. Start by keeping your pet in the backyard to see how he takes to being leashed and outside but be sure to check for hazardous plants or other dangerous items first. If your cat does well on the leash, you can take him or her for longer walks around the block or throughout the neighborhood. Even if you don’t feel comfortable walking your cat, you may still be able to let him have some safe time outdoors. Many people are now building screened “porches” for their cats that they can enter and exit through a pet door whenever they like. These screened-in areas allow your kitty to feel like he’s spending time outside without the risk of him running away. If you do build one, be sure to use extra-strong screen material so he or she cannot claw through it if they get excited.
8. Get Another Cat
Many cats simply want a playmate. If your finances and lifestyle allow, consider getting another cat for your pet to play with. It is important to consider your cat's temperament, age and previous living arrangements before introducing another pet, however. If your cat is four years old or older and has never lived with another cat before, he or she may not take well to sharing your attention. Introducing a new pet is best for cats who are younger and have had positive experiences with other cats in the past.
As you choose ways to entertain your cat, remember that much like humans, each one has its own personality. Not all of these ideas will work for every cat but through trial and error, you should be able to find plenty of ways to keep your pet happy, healthy and entertained each day.