Even though cats are big sleepers, we mustn’t neglect their need to exercise on a daily basis. Sleeping all day isn’t necessarily normal for a cat. An adult cat sleeps an average of 13 hours a day, so there are 11 hours left during which to observe, hunt, walk and eat. But what if your cat doesn’t have access to the outside? How to meet their needs?
Here are 7 easy ways to keep your cat busy on a daily basis.
1) Install educational bowls and smart games
Cats are hunters at heart. To allow them to hunt without bringing back (real) mice, opt for educational bowls as well as smart games. Goodbye to the open bowl accessible at will: your cat must use their paws, snout and head to access the food. This hunt for crunch provides essential stimulation in their daily life. However, to avoid disturbing your pet, this new feeding method must be implemented gradually, initially leaving a small amount of crunch in their usual bowl. You can, over time, make the traditional bowl disappear in favour of educational bowls and games.
In addition, remember that your cat is a very intelligent being and that they may quickly understand how this accessory works. It is therefore strongly recommended to have several bowls or educational toys and to alternate them regularly.
2) Playing with your cat
Contrary to popular belief, cats do not play alone. So there is no need to leave your pet a mountain of toys before leaving home, as it is unlikely that they will play with any while waiting for your return. Natural hunters, cats like objects with unpredictable movements. For example, you can wave a fishing rod to mimic the movements of a bird, or slide it along the ground like a rodent passing by. Everyone has their preferences!
No doubt, by playing 10 to 15 minutes a day with your cat, you will help them stay in both mental and physical good health.
3) Hide their crunch
There is a simple and easy solution to sharpen your cat’s instincts: hide their crunch around the house. Before you go to work, have fun hiding cat crunch or treats in different places. Deposit these edible rewards on items that your cat likes: a couch corner, a bed, a cardboard, a scratching post, etc. If your cat enjoys their food, they will quickly understand the interest of this game that should occupy them for a while. Once they get used to it, you can increase the difficulty level and hide some treats in harder-to-reach places.
4) Install observation areas
Observation is one of a cat’s basic needs. A cat climbing tree near the window or even a simple chair are essential elements to occupy your favourite feline’s days. The important thing for cats is to be able to be high enough to monitor goings-on at home as well as outside. So, do not hesitate to set up multiple observation areas. Be aware, moreover, that the more fearful a cat is, the more they will need to “take cover” as well as monitor their environment.
In addition, for your cat to be interested in these new objects, it is important to place the climbing trees (or other perches) in the rooms you frequent most often and not at the end of an unused room. Otherwise, failure is guaranteed!
5) Spend time with them
Even though cats are independent animals, that doesn’t mean they enjoy spending days alone. Because although cats have a reputation for being big sleepers, an excess of sleep is also a sign of boredom, even depression. But rest assured, your mere presence represents real entertainment for your pet – even if the proudest among them will not let on! So, for the sake of your cat’s well-being, try not to leave them alone for too long.
6) Try catnip
Catnip, valerian and matatabi are all plants with stimulating and soothing virtues for cats. After a few sniffs, the magic happens: the animal rolls on its back, squirming in all directions and rubbing everywhere for several minutes. Why is that? Because of the nepetalactone present in catnip. This molecule with its complex name puts some cats in a state of intense happiness – a mixture of ecstasy and relaxation. Unfortunately, not all cats are sensitive to it. Only 60% of them react to catnip.
So, to try it out you can find boxes of pure catnip to sprinkle on the ground, or opt for impregnated toys, or matatabi sticks. If your cat enjoys these herbs, you can offer them two to three times a week, but beyond this frequency, they may lose interest.
7) Be inventive!
Boxes, bathrobe belts, aluminium balls, corks: many everyday objects are likely to amuse your pet. Do not hesitate to regularly offer them new toys, because cats get tired of things quickly. It is best to have several sets of toys and alternate them every two weeks. Don’t worry, no need to invest. The most fancy toys are designed primarily for humans. Cats, meanwhile, are easily satisfied: a toy made by you using a tutorial will do the trick!
You may also be interested in this article: Why don’t cats do not drink water while eating food?