Eleven Magic Methods to Amuse Your Manic Moggie
You all know about curiosity and the cat. While many a cat is a lazy Couch Slouch, others are active, curious party animals. When they are out and about, the Party Animal Puss Cats are looking for a good time. These rascals are set for a night on the tiles, travelling like roaming Romeos looking for mischief in all the wrong places and sticking their noses into other peoples' business.
Even within the home, some cats are devils on four furred feet. Owners regularly report that, as they walk through the house, their cat will ambush them and will spring like a caged leopard to attack their legs. These cats then run off to hide, their black eyes shining with evil intent.
If your cat fits into the 'party animal' category, giving it things to do apart from ripping living human flesh from passing legs will be of immense benefit.
The Feline Frolics techniques described below will allow you to play with your cat without being attacked. It will also give your cat lots of other things to do in a day to enrich its lifestyle and to blast away boredom. Even for normal, friendly cats, playing games with them and providing a variety of toys and stimuli will give additional richness to their lifestyle. And, if you have decided to confine your Party Animal Puss Cat to the house and/or a garden cattery, the techniques below will compensate for the fact that your feline fiend can't get 'out and about'.
Without further ado, here is the Feline Frolics list!
1. Fan Fare
If you have an overhead fan in your house, then providing fun for your cat is easy. Attach a length of elastic with a piece of folded paper, or a cork with feathers glued to it, to the hub of your fan. Turn it on to a slow speed and let your cat chase the 'clattering paper mouse' as it flies around the room. Remove any delicate china first! As the cat learns the game, move the elastic further out along the blade of the fan so that it moves faster. Just be sure to monitor the game for safety.
2. Patty Pan Party
Hide tidbits of tasty food in and around the house so that the cat has to hunt for them. This appeals to their hunting instinct, stimulates exploration and fortifies the notion that the house is a fun area to be in.
Do this by securing half a dozen paper cake patty pans in various high and low locations around your house. Place a blob of Blu-Tack under each patty pan so that they don't move.
Now place a small quantity of your cat's normal dry food in each and a 'cherry' on the cake by also including a flavoured dry food treat such as a Feline Greenie or similar. There are lots of tasty varieties.
As the cat mooches around for the food, he or she will find a different reward for their exploratory exploits each time it unearths a new patty pan.
3. Magic Milk Carton
A milk carton can mimic a Kong toy. Cut the bottom off a plastic 2 litre milk carton. Open the cap and smear liverwurst or Anchovette paste inside the lid. Replace the lid and watch the cat attempt to lick and find the food treat by jumping head first into the milk carton. You can also cut a paw-sized hole or two in the side of a milk carton and place food treats inside. The cat will roll the carton around trying to work out how to get the food out.
Try putting a rubber band from the base of the carton through to the cap. Place a paddle pop stick or a feather or two in the rubber band. The paddle pop stick should be long enough to just catch the edge of the milk carton. Wind it up in the rubber band and when Puss puts his or her paw in the hole to get the food the paddle pop stick will move a few times. Puss will be fascinated.
4. Frozen Cows
Next time they are on special, buy several lactose-free milk packs from the pet section of your supermarket. Throw them in your freezer. As you leave for work, cut a large slash in the carton and leave it in the cat's food dish. Or pour the pet milk into ice-cube trays and pop out one or two portions at a time. The milk will slowly melt into the dish and provide a delayed release reward for the cat.
5. The Food Sprinkler
From your local vet or pet shop, purchase an automatic pet feeder. These contain a food tray which is sealed with a flap. The flap is controlled by a timer that will open the flap and give access to the food at the time you set. That's interesting for a bored Puss Cat. However there is a deluxe version. Use velcro to fasten the unit upside down under a table or on a beam inside your house. Now place a rubber door mat (the type with big holes in it) under the unit. Why??? Because when the flap opens some hours after you leave, the food will drop to the mat and sink into the holes. Puss will be delighted with the challenge that you have presented!
6. Carton Maze
Make a maze from some old shoe boxes or other cardboard boxes. Have some 'poke and peep' holes in each box. Poke pencils through the holes or pull a piece of string with a paper mouse on the end through the maze. Your cat is likely to chase the mice, attack pencils placed through the holes and generally have fun exploring. Put some food tidbits in the maze to stimulate exploration.
7. Paper Bag Park
Scatter a selection of paper bags around the house. Have holes in them for 'peeping and poking'. A Snooza Krinkly Cat Sack works on this principle - it is a calico bag with a crinkly lining for your cat to hide and play in.
8. Laser Light Leaping
If you have access to a laser pointer, flash this around the walls to get your cat to chase it. Commercial versions of this are now available for cats. Just be sure not to shine the laser into the cat's eyes.
9. Paper Mouse Mauling
This is the old, but effective, standard cat game. Attach a paper 'mouse' to a piece of string and drag it through the house. Some creative folk attach these to a radio-controlled car and drive the mouse around the house. Feathers on corks are also much loved.
10. Wobbly Delights
Look for battery-operated balls or other toys that roll and wobble around the floor, driving your cat crazy with excitement. For 'batting' fun, weighted balls with feather teasers are available that bobble back and forth when the cat investigates and plays with it.
11. Play Parks
Many confined cats are much happier if they are given a semi-outside play gym that they can access via a cat door. You can make your own enclosure by simply confining a veranda or construct a purpose-built play gym in your garden. There are also commercial cat enclosures available.
Contributors: Provet Resident Vet
By Dr Cam Day BVSc - Last updated